I carry that burden every day. I worry that I won't hold the torch properly. Marcus and Amy Garvey did. Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Ture, Malcolm X, Imbalia Camara, Assata Shakur, Teodora Gomes, Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Ture. They all carried the torch properly. So, what does it say about me if I can't carry the message as strong as they did? After spending the last couple of weeks talking to and learning from Baba Seku Neblitt in Ghana, I'm reminded of my responsibility to carry that torch as he has since the early 60s when he was a Freedom singer for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Then, he was a field marshall for the Black Panther Party and that was very significant because anyone who knows anything about the Panther's structure knows that the field marshalls controlled the weapons in the party. Then, he came to Conakry and met with Kwame Nkrumah. Saw Sekou Ture. Met Amilcar Cabral. He traveled everywhere with Kwame Ture and he is still today, as dedicated to the mission and objectives of the A-APRP as he was almost 50 years ago. I'm haunted by how much I owe his legacy and those before him. I'm pressured daily, hourly, by the minute, by the need to deliver. How can I tell people about him and his contributions and sacrifices? How can I explain to people in tangible terms the outstanding work of the cadre of the A-APRP in Ghana? How can I make that palatable to the people here in the U.S. since most of them here have absolutely no concept or understanding about anything in Africa? How can I communicate to them how African they are? How they look like the people in Africa. How they talk like them. Stand like them. Dance like them. How the women in the beauty salons and the guys in the barber shops are in those places the exact same way we inhabit those places here? And as hard as it will be to paint that picture for them, those points will be the easy ones my anxious personality reminds me. The more difficult objective will be challenging people to accept realities they don't want to accept. For example, many Africans in America trumpet the concept that the solution to our suffering is owning something under this capitalist system e.g. owning our share of the pie for ourselves. I'm 100% opposed to capitalism. I believe that the U.S. capitalist system is based on exploiting Africa, but how can I convince people here of that? I feel the anxiety piranhas eating away at my stomach lining over that one. How can I demonstrate to people that I just saw several African owned businesses in Ghana. They were everywhere. Some of them were national companies. Soft drink companies. Construction companies. Consulting firms. Food manufacturers. Yet, the masses of people in Ghana live in serious poverty. How do I get African people here to grapple critically with that reality? To dig deeper beyond just the superficial and unsophisticated assumption that creating Africans with money equals progress for the masses of our people? How do I get us to see that electing people who look like us, or who speak to us in our language, means nothing if we do not have the organization and power to hold them accountable to our interests? There are African elected officials everywhere in Africa on all levels, yet what do we have to show for it?
I had a great moment of anxiety in Africa when one of my party comrade cadre told me he had purchased and read my novel "The Courage Equation." I thought I had come to the point where I could handle any feedback, but here was a cadre on the ground in Ghana. This was significant because my story is based on a fictional A-APRP chapter in Ghana. So, his opinion matters! Would he take offense to my characters, especially those who are not African? To some extent he did, but I think he was still impressed overall with the book and my conversation with him and my resulting capacity to process his feedback in a healthy way may be one of the keys to my understanding how to grapple with my anxiety. You see, those anxiety piranhas have caused me so much grief over the years, but they have also pushed me to develop some of my most creative and effective forms of work. They have also driven me to be disciplined and to never accept no for an answer. Thinking of this gives me much hope. I don't have all the answers to all these questions I've raised here right now, but I have complete confidence that I'll come up with them. I have confidence that I'll think of ways to engage my local comrades so that we can build effective organization for the A-APRP here in Oregon. I believe I'll find ways to spread the ideals contained in my books and all of the work I'm struggling to produce. I have to believe that I can do it.
I guess what it all comes down to is I love Africa because Africa is me. I saw me everywhere I went and in everything I saw. I saw you too. And seeing all of that reiterated to me why our enemies are so intent on separating us from Africa because they know what I know. The minute we make the connection that we are African, their days are numbered. So, I realize I have the secret and like anyone who holds the riches, until those riches get delivered, you are going to have anxiety. So, I'm not going to complain about the anxiety. I am going to try and get better at managing it. I am also going to try and remember to see it as a tool that can be used to help me. I am going to keep the vision of the pride and dignity I observed in Africa inside me. We need that here, more than we need money, or anything else. I'm going to keep doing my work and I just hope the people I'm working with can understand that I'm not the person they may want to think that I am. In truth, I can talk to thousands of people in one place about the struggle for justice, but I'm very socially awkward when the focus is on me. I struggle like everyone else. The only difference is I have always refused to give up and I'll never give up. I hope they can see them and have patience with me. I hope they realize I'm sincere and I always place the struggle and them above myself. I hope they see they can always count on me. I can rest well with knowing all of that, even if no one else ever does because its all true. I can also rest well exposing all of these personal weaknesses because I know that making myself vulnerable is my strongest weapon. The strongest person in the room is always the one who has nothing to hide. So, get ready capitalism because my imperfect and anxiety stricken self is coming to out organize you and I've got the spirit of Africa inside me. You may have all the technology and propaganda on your side, but from where I sit, my wounded soul and the millions of others like me, cannot possibly lose.