Earlier today, Oct. 12, I had the pleasure of going to the 8th annual African MAAFA (The Scattering) Remembrance Day conference, which was held at Laramie County Community College.
Several people gave speeches and presentations, which primarily centered around the MAAFA, or scattering, of people from Africa due to the slave trade. Subjects ranged from the detrimental effect this had on those taken and the incentive felt among African tribes to keep capturing more people to sell to the Europeans, to the historical miseducation among not only whites, but among blacks as well.
Another presenter also covered the need for civic engagement and the lack of proper civic education in our school system. Dr. Mohammed Salih gave another presentation about the stained history of immigration and the problems we currently face, while tying in footnotes of other problems, such as the killing and cultural genocide of Native Americans (which was also mentioned by other speakers).
There were also exhibitions of musical talent, including a choral performance, drummers, a flute player, etc. It was a lot of different things to cover, and went well over its time, but I think it was a very good event, and I hope to see many people next year.
What we need to keep doing as a nation is not only keep having conferences like these, where one side brings many voices to bring a problem to light, and not only the town hall meetings where average people get to take turns speaking their mind, but also those uncomfortable conversations around dinner tables and in the kitchen.
We need to actually start talking to each other more about things like the effects of slavery and other historical problems, white privilege, immigration, climate change and voting with your voice, the ballot box and your wallet for the world you want to live in.
As was stated in the movie "V for Vendetta," "... words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there?"