Voices around the world demand the U.S. drop the charges against the Uhuru 3

Attorney Life Malcolm speaking at the Uhuru House on May 27 was among many worldwide protests.

WORLDWIDE — Throughout the African Liberation Day weekend, May 27-28, events were held worldwide to demand the right to free speech and that U.S. federal charges against the Uhuru 3 be dropped.

On April 18, three leaders in the Uhuru Movement — African People’s Socialist Party (APSP): Chairman Omali Yeshitela, 81, along with Penny Hess, 77, and Jesse Nevel, 33, were indicted on federal charges for being “unregistered foreign agents” allegedly under the “malign influence” of the Russian government.

Los Angeles protesters demanded charges dropped against the Uhuru 3 on May 27.

Nine months earlier, the FBI had conducted a militarized multi-city raid of seven homes and offices of Uhuru Movement leaders, using flash-bang devices, drones, armored vehicles, automatic weapons and scores of flak-jacketed soldiers to seize computers, hard drives, phones and files.

Chairman Yeshitela was active in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and has since traveled the world organizing for African unity and liberation. Hess and Nevel have spent decades organizing in the white community for solidarity and reparations to the Black community. 

‘Attack on one is an attack on all

Mwezi Odom, chair of the “Hands off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa!” campaign, said, “These charges are completely false and a blatant attack on the First Amendment right to freedom of speech for the black community and all who express disagreement with U.S. government policies. These indictments recall the FBI’s COINTELPRO program, which unleashed assassinations, false arrests, provocateurs and slander against the Black activists and leaders in the 1960s and 70s.”

Protesters in Liberia, West Africa, demand charges dropped against the Uhuru 3 on May 27.

Voices from across the political spectrum are expressing outrage and alarm at this apparent attempt to increase the use of federal law to quash dissent in America. Prominent scholars, journalists, peace activists, community organizers, anarchists, socialists, Libertarians, Republicans, and Democrats have opposed the indictment, calling it a dangerous precedent threatening everyone’s rights to free speech, assembly, and association.

On May 27-28, supporters took to the streets, the classroom and the internet to inform the public about this attack on the Black liberation struggle and the right of all peoples to freedom of speech.

Taking a stand ‘down South’

Supporters came out in Asheville, N.C., and St. Petersburg, where demonstration at City Hall heard solidarity statements from Progressive People’s Action, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Hernando County Green Party and the USF Tampa 5, students and staff from the University of South Florida that were arrested by campus police while protesting Florida Gov. DeSantis’ ban on Black books and Black history in the classroom.

Taking to the streets in the Northeast U.S.

In Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, supporters occupied busy intersections, waving banners and handing out flyers. 

Brooklyn, New York’s Operation P.O.W.E.R! (People Organizing and Working for Empowerment and Respect) held an afternoon online forum initiated by the group’s founding members, New York City Councilmen Charles Barron and Inez Barron, former New York State Assembly member.

Protestors in Newark, N.J., demand charges are dropped against the Uhuru 3 on May 27.

Also in Brooklyn, activists set up in Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza to publicize the demand to “Drop the Charges,” while supporters in Boston took to the Boston Commons.

In New Jersey, the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations demonstrated in front of the Federal Building in Newark.

Building support in the Midwest U.S.

In St. Louis, the Universal African’s People’s Organization (UAPO) held a “Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa!” Teach-In at the Beloved Community United Methodist Church.

In Minneapolis, supporters set up a recruitment and fundraising table at the Northeast Farmer’s Market.

In Minneapolis, supporters set up a recruitment and fundraising table at the Northeast Farmer’s Market. At the same time, Chicago saw a street rally at 87th Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway and Battle Creek, Mich., hosted a teach-in.

The U.S. west coast demands ‘drop the charges!’

In San Diego, members of the APSP were joined by the Party for Socialism & Liberation, Socialist Unity Party, San Diego We Are One and Anakbayan SD in a lively march through the working-class African, Indigenous and Asian community demanding “Hands Off Uhuru!,” “Drop the Charges, Defend Free Speech” and “Colonialism Must Go!”

At the Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles, Unión del Barrio, the Association of Raza Educators and Antiracist Action-LA held a rally, with support from the Socialist Unity Party, Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice, Association of Raza Educators, Hands Off Cuba Committee, Black Alliance for Peace, Anti-Racist Action, the Martin Luther King Coalition of LA and Roots for Peace.

In northern California, supporters rallied in Oakland in front of the Grand Lake Theater and in Santa Rosa at the Old Courthouse Square.  

In the Pacific Northwest, supporters spread the word to shoppers at Farmer’s Markets in Tacoma, Wash., and Eugene, Ore. 

International support heard

In the Kokosi township, Fochville-West of Johannesburg, South Africa, residents held a rally at the Molatlhegi Community Center. It was followed the next day with a conference at the Molatlhegi Community Center, where solidarity and educational speeches were given.

Protestors at the U.S. Embassy in London demand Hands Off Uhuru!

Community members also gathered in Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa to show their support for the Uhuru Movement.

A protest demonstration was held outside the U.S. Embassy in London, followed by an organizing conference.

At the Amy Jacques Garvey Community Center in Kingston, Jamaica, a teach-in was held, with political education as well as academic tutoring and homework assistance.

‘We will not retreat; we are building’

Since the July 29, 2022, FBI raids, Chairman Yeshitela has stayed in the public eye on a nonstop schedule of media interviews and public speaking engagements. At age 81 and facing charges that could send him to prison for 15 years, he faces what would essentially be a death sentence. Yet he remains unbowed, declaring, “We will not retreat; we are building.”

San Diego protestors demand charges dropped against the Uhuru 3.

He has joined the honorable company of so many other Africans — Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcolm X, W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Billie Holiday and more — targeted by the U.S. FBI for speaking out against injustice and on behalf of the black community’s rights.

More information on the “Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa!” campaign can be found at handsoffuhuru.org or by calling 813-906-9274.

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