Saturday, February 27, 2010

Another Step Towards the Pan-African Summit

On 13 February, planning for the Pan-African Summit moved one step ahead, with another breakfast meeting, at the Center for Families. As in the past, Edmund Ocansey chaired the meeting.
We started with a conversation about plans for the Pan-African Summit, affirming the need to keep working towards this event. We even set a date for it, October 9, 2010. That is an important commitment, and we are excited about the prospect of bringing Africans and African-Americans together, as we did two years ago, to explore their differences and other matters of mutual interest.
After discussing the Pan-African summit, we went to the major item on the agenda, a talk by me on "Africans, African-Americans, and Education."
I had decided to address this topic following the presentation by Eugene Dix on suspensions in the school system. As an educator, I wanted to share my views on the meaning of education in the experience of Africans and African-Americans.
I quickly went through the following issues: definition(s) of education, traditional African practices before European intervention, European/colonial practices in Africa, neo-colonial practices, the African-American experience from slavery to the present, education for critical consciousness and liberation. I based my remarks on the ideas of Frantz Fanon, Paulo Freire, Malcolm X, Julius Nyerere, and Walter Rodney. I stressed the need to ask whether going to school means being educated. We need to think about Mark Twain's famous saying, "I have never allowed my schooling to interfere with my education."
A spirited and informative discussion followed my talk, with questions and comments. We explored the benefits and limitations of school education.
As parents, we talked about what we need to do to ensure that our children get a real education, despite what they might be learning in schools. We agreed that we need to complement what they learn in school with knowledge of life as we know it.

These monthly breakfast meetings are designed to sustain the spirit manifested during the first Pan African Summit, and to build the momentum for the forthcoming Summit. For more information, contact Edmund Ocansey:

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