Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Council on Black Minnesotans Summit Ended Today

The Power of Unity Summit, organized by the Council on Black Minnesotans concluded today with a picnic. From around noon, people came, at their own time, and stayed as long as they wished. This was a great opportunity to meet informally and network. continue the kind of conversations inaugurated during the summit, and network.

I arrived at around 1:30. There were many people there, and there was plenty of food. There was storytelling by Nothando Zulu, drumming, and music by the Les Exodus band featured in the photo above.

In the course of a little over two hours, I had wonderful conversations with a number of people. One of these was Edward McDonald, Executive Director of the Council on Black Minnesotans. We talked about the artist panel that he moderated yesterday, and I said I enjoyed the panel very much and wanted to make a contribution to the discussion from the perspective of folklore. The traditions of folklore remind of where artists came from and how they functioned in non-literate, non-capitalist societies.

I also spoke with Tene Wells, a key Summit organizer, whom I have gotten to know in the course of the last few weeks after she sought me out and asked me to participate in the Summit. I also talked with Jamela Pettiford, the sister who played the role of Harriet Tubman in yesterday's dramatic rendition of the Underground Railroad.

I also spoke with author Amoke Kubat whose book, Missing Mama, I bought yesterday. I told her I had started reading the book and like it. I was humbled to hear her say that she bought three of my books, in order to explore more the perspective I articulated on Friday during my panel discussion with Professor Mahmoud el Kati.

As I was on my way out of the building, Atum Azzahir called me. She was with her husband, Ahmad Azzahir, and we had a great conversation around issues such as traditional African philosophy. Upon learning that I am Tanzanian, Ahmed told me he is a faithful disciple of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. I told them that I had known about them and their work for many years, and that I acquired Ahmed's book, Time Dimensions and Community Development, many years ago.

 I look forward to continuing the conversations with all these remarkable people, who do great things for the community.

Once again, I think the Council on Black Minnesotans deserves a lot of praise for planning and executing the Power of Unity Summit, which has been a very successful event. exxxxrummung

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