Saturday, December 5, 2009


In a landmark “Statement of Conscience by African Americans,” 60 prominent black American scholars, artists and professionals have condemned the Cuban regime’s stepped-up harassment and apparent crackdown on the country’s budding civil rights movement. This statement is the first public condemnation of racial conditions in Cuba made by black Americans.




Monday, November 30, 2009

We, the undersigned, join the growing international outcry against the unjust imprisonment by Cuban authorities of Dr. DARSI FERRER, an internationally known Afro-Cuban civil rights leader and courageous man who for 17 days has endured a hunger strike and placed his life at risk to draw attention to the conditions of racism and racial discrimination in Cuba that has hitherto been ignored.

We support the position of the Honorable Professor ABDIAS NASCIMENTO, historical leader of the Black Movement of Brazil, and others from around the world, who are demanding Dr. Ferrer’s immediate release from imprisonment.

Moreover, we also support the demand that Cuba recognizes Dr. Ferrer as a political prisoner, rather than a “common criminal”, as is now the case. (See Professor Nascimento’s Open Letter - attached). Dr. NASCIMENTO’s joint letter to the Heads of State of Cuba and Brazil, respectively General RAÚL CASTRO RUZ and President LUIZ INÁCIO LULA DA SILVA, is unequivocal. He requests of Cuba’s President that he intervene to stop the unwarranted and brutal harassment of black citizens in Cuba who are defending their civil rights.

Similarly, he requests that Brazil’s President immediately prevail on the Cuban government to safeguard the rights of Cuba’s most oppressed citizens who, in this case, happen to be more than 62% of the total population.

Professor NASCIMENTO has been a long standing supporter of the Cuban Revolution and government, but he, like we, cannot be silent in the face of increased violations of civil and human rights for those black activists in Cuba who dare raise their voices against the island’s racial system. As of late, these isolated, courageous civil rights advocates have been subject to unprovoked violence, State intimidation and imprisonment.

As African Americans, we know firsthand the experiences and consequences of denying civil freedoms on the basis of race, and we certainly understand what racial discrimination is and does to people. We have not tolerated it for ourselves, and will certainly not acquiesce in its perpetration against any other people. For that reason, we are even more obligated to voice our opinion on what is happening to our Cuban brethren a few miles away.

We support Cuba’s right to enjoy national sovereignty, and unhesitatingly repudiate any attempt at curtailing such a right. However, at this historic juncture, we also do believe that we cannot sit idly by and allow for decent, peaceful and dedicated civil rights activists in Cuba, and the black population as a whole, to be treated with callous disregard for their rights as citizens and as the most marginalized people on the island.

Racism in Cuba, and anywhere else in the world, is unacceptable and must be confronted!

We call on the authorities and Government of Cuba to immediately and unconditionally free our brother, Dr. Darsi Ferrer.


Richard Adams, Jr.

Co-Convenor Western Pennsylvania Black Political Assembly (WPBPA)

J.B. Afoh-Manin, Esq.

Roslyn Alic-Batson


Marva Allen

Manager, HUE-MAN Bookstore & Cafe (New York)

Dr. Molefi Kete Asante

Historian, Author

Peter Bailey

Bethune-Davis Institute

Dr. Gloria Batiste-Roberts

President, National Association of Black Social Workers

Lili Bernard

Fine Artist

Marie Brown

Literary Agent

Khepra Burns


Dr. Iva E. Carruthers

Professor Emeritus, Northeastern Illinois University

Dr. Kathleen Neal Cleaver, Esq.

Professor, Emory University

Clarence Cooper

Manager, Sylvia’s Restaurant (NY)

Dr. David Covin

Professor Emeritus, University of California at Sacramento

Past President, National Conference of Black Political Scientists

Evelyn Crawford

Audiovisual artist

Dr. Earl Davis

Former Director, Institute of African Studies,

New York University

Ruby Dee Davis

Actress. 2007 Academy Award Nominee

Bill Day

Artist Photographer

Rev. Dr. Yvonne V. Delk (Ret)

United Church of Christ

Leonard G. Dunston

President Emeritus, National Association of Black Social Workers

Honorable Commissioner Betty T. Ferguson (Ret)

Former Miami-Dade County Commissioner

The Honorable Ambassador Ulric Haynes (Ret)

Former Executive Dean, Hofstra University (New York),

member of the US Council on Foreign Relations

Nzinga Heru

President, Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations

Marlon Hill, Esq.

Past President of the Caribbean Bar Association

Eugene Jackson,

Chairman and CEO of the World African Network

Dr. Winston James

Professor, University of California at Irvine

Guy Johnson


Leroi C. Johnson, Esq.

Dr. Ollie Johnson

Professor, Wayne State University

Dr. Joyce E. King

President Academy for Diaspora Literacy, Inc.

Dr. Arthur Lewin

Professor, Bernard M. Baruch College of the

City University of New York

Dr. Shelby Lewis (Ret)

Former Project Manager, Special Programs,

United Negro College Fund

Dr. Ruth Love


Dr. Acklyn Lynch

Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland,

Baltimore County

Dr. Julianne Malveaux

President, Bennett College for Women

Honorable Congresswoman Carrie Meek (Ret)

House of Representatives of the Unites States of America

Dr. Claudia Mitchell-Kernan

Dean and Vice Chancellor for Graduate Studies

University of California at Los Angeles

Dr. Michael Mitchell

Professor of Political Science, Arizona State University

Editor of the National Political Science Review

Dr. K. C. Morrisson

Professor, Mississippi State University

Past President, National Conference of Black Political Scientists

Melvin Van Peebles

Film director, playwright, and author

Lori Robinson

Editor, Vida

Dr. Mark Sawyer

Professor University of California at Los Angeles

Bernestine Singley, Esq.


Dr. Ann Smith

President, The Gamaliel Foundation

Dr. Donald H. Smith.

Past President, the National Alliance of Black School Educators

Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith Sr.

Pastor Emeritus, Allen Temple Baptist Church

Edward S. Spriggs

Former Executive Director of Hammonds House

Galleries and Resource Center

Susan Taylor

President, National CARES Mentoring Movement,

Editor Emerita of ESSENCE magazine

Dr. James E. Turner

Professor, Africana Studies and Research Center,

Cornell University

Makani Themba-Nixon

The Praxis Project

Patricia Valdés

Marketing Specialist

Dr Marta Moreno Vega

President, The Caribbean Cultural Center

African Diaspora Institute

Dr. Ron Walters

Professor Emeritus of Government and Politics

University of Maryland College Park

Dr. Cornel West

Professor, Princeton University

Randy Weston


Al Whack

Executive, National Cable Communications (NCC)

Rita Coburn Whack

Broadcasting Producer

Antonia Williams-Gary

Miami Consultant

Dr. Conrad Worrill

President, National Black United Front

Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.

Pastor Emeritus, Trinity United Church of Christ

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