(NNPA) During the past 100 years, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the African National Congress (ANC) have directly shared in contributing to the attainment of some of the most important milestones in the history of African people, as well as making indelible contributions to the progressive uplift and transformation of all humanity throughout the world. In other words, just to be clear, whenever Black people in Africa or in America, or anywhere in world, have stood up and have fought for freedom, justice and equality, it has inured irrepressible benefits to all people who have also cried out and struggle for freedom and equal justice.
This year marks the 100 anniversary of the African National Congress. We celebrate and take due notice of the historic accomplishments of the ANC in overcoming the racist apartheid regime in South Africa and for leading the way to the continued transformation of South African society into a non racial democracy and economy. We salute the ANC for outstanding achievements in the long struggle of humanity to overcome and overthrow the painful brutality and miseries of slavery, oppression and economic imperialism.
Similarly three years ago in 2009, we observed and celebrated the 100 anniversary of the NAACP. It is so important that we remind ourselves, and in particular our youth, that freedom and equality has required great sacrifice and struggle for decades and centuries. The NAACP is the world’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. We should never take for granted the progress that has been secured as a result of the work, struggle, sacrifice and leadership of the NAACP and the ANC.
We still have much work to do in 2012 and into the future both in America and in South Africa, and throughout the world where Black people and others are still valiantly yearning for freedom and standing up against the so-called post-modern institutionalized systems of racial and socioeconomic oppression and exploitation. This is no time to engage in any historical myths about a “post-civil rights” or a “post-freedom-fighting” era of life. I believe we have not only today a “right” to struggle, but also a “responsibility” to struggle and continue to fight for equality and empowerment.
Today across the United States, various states are attempting to undermine the Voting Rights Act, in particular in those states where Blacks and Latinos have a large percent of the potential statewide vote. 2012 is one of most important election years in our lifetime. Yet it is most unfortunate that some of us have forgotten about the sacrifice of NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers and many others in the NAACP that gave their lives so that we can have the fundamental right to vote. For Black Americans and others the right to vote is blood-soaked with a moral and historical responsibility that should never be taken for granted.
Millions of South Africans and millions of others throughout the world celebrated the first century of the ANC, Africa’s oldest liberation movement and the current ruling party in South Africa. The ANC is the party of John Dube, Oliver R. Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Albert John Lutuli, Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, and President Jacob Zuma and millions of freedom fighters who were victorious against apartheid in South Africa. We salute the ANC for all that it has done and continues to do to cause and sustain the liberation and development of Africa. President Zuma stated, “”Our freedom was definitely not free. It was achieved through the blood, sweat and tears of many selfless leaders and cadres of the movement……… As we mark the ANC centenary, this is the right moment to pause and ponder the future of South Africa and of the ANC over the next 100 years.”
ANC spokesperson, Jackson Mthembu, affirmed, ““We have been able to reach 100 years because of the leadership quality that we have had in the ANC………..Members of the ANC, despite the serious onslaught against them and their families — being in prison, in exile, maimed and killed — remained loyal to this organization after over years of struggle.” The future of South African has many promising opportunities under the continued leadership of the ANC.
During the tenure of WEB Dubois and James Weldon Johnson at the NAACP, there was an ongoing mutual and supportive dialogue that transpired between the ANC and the NAACP. We need that same type of dialogue and joint planning today for the future mission for the continued advancement, progress and liberation of African people all over the world. We are all beneficiaries of the successful struggles of the past. The question now before us is how can we build a stronger alliance with our sisters and brothers of the ANC? The struggle for freedom, justice and equality is a global struggle and thus our civil rights organizations need to expand and to build on an international plane in order to meet the global challenges. Long live the spirit of the ANC and the NAACP!
Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. is the National Director of Occupy the Dream and President of Education Online Services Corporation and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network.