NEWARK (FinalCall.com) – Black Cops Against Police Brutality’s (B-CAP) 12th annual Pre-Kwanzaa Festival was held Dec. 11 at the Women In Support of the Million Man March (WISOMMM) African American Education and Cultural Resource Center, located on James Street.
“The festival helps us to connect to the Black community, and it helps Black police officers build on their credibility in the community,” Sgt. DeLacy Davis, founder of B-CAP told The Final Call. “I call it spiritual candy.”
The program for the evening featured A-La Davis, 13, who sang an opera solo in Italian; a poem read by Jarisa Brannen; The Steppers; Kudos and Xenos; the East Orange P.A.L. Steppers; Zawadi African Dance School; a magic show by Phil Jennings; Sparkle the Clown who delighted the children; a lecture by Jerome Benton on the value of “Pre-Paid Legal”; a presentation by the African Network on the Principles of Kwanzaa; discussions led by Tyrone Powers, a former FBI agent and Dr. Joy Leary of Portland State University on “post-traumatic slave syndrome.” The hostesses for the evening were 13-year-old Kianna Little John and 14-year-old Sukari Mtume-Cuttino. After the program concluded, participants convened in the main auditorium to hear the keynote address delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Sgt. Davis spoke on the importance of previous keynote speakers who had a broad impact on the consciousness of the community, such notables as Dick Gregory, Winnie Mandela and Min. Benjamin Muhammad.
“We knew that Minister Farrakhan, just like our previous keynoters, would bring a level of consciousness and truth to our people that would be on time,” Sgt. Davis stressed after the Muslim leader’s address. “And we were not disappointed.”
“Min. Farrakhan spoke to the community tonight. He talked about the need for economic development, a plan for raising us as a nation as opposed to individuals. The minister globalized his discussion to African people and talked about interdependency, and the need for African people to work together to raise a nation,” he continued.
The Muslim leader told the overflow crowd of more than 2,000, “The reason we are here tonight is because of women. Women, who like the women that helped us get through slavery, like Harriet Tubman and Fannie Lou Hamer, like the great women who helped to make us men.” He noted that the center was a symbol of the struggle of women to back and encourage their men to stand up to become builders again. He exhorted women to protect their children and advised those in the audience to reconstruct the Black family.
“It was brilliant!” exclaimed Dr. Leonard Jeffries, noted activist and teacher of Black Studies at City College in New York City. “No one has ever done a family analysis like he has done, so it was brilliant, talking about the responsibility of parents, especially the mother, to protect the children.”
Min. Farrakhan also warned that there was not another 100 years to wait on White people to help. “My dear family, we have work to do,” he implored. He also explained the call to return to Washington, D.C. on October 16, 2005, the 10th anniversary of the 1995 Million Man March. He stressed that Black people were ready for new guidance. “We are calling for a 10-year development program that will move our people toward liberation,” he told the gathering. He also reminded the audience that, by developing a 10-year plan, whether he and other leaders die during that period of time, the plan would continue.
“The Minister is just so beautiful. He was taught so well, as were all of us, by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad,” commented Fredrica Bey, executive director of WISOMMM. “He brought together every segment of the community this weekend. The Bloods, the Crips and some Latin Kings, the City Council people; the people from the County Freeholders office, mayors, it was profound. I can’t wait to drink all of this in.”
Author and activist Camille Yarborough said Min. Farrakhan’s speech was important because it touched on many vital issues. “We are in a state of desperation, and we need organization,” she noted.
Journalist Gil Noble said, “I was most impressed with his concluding remarks about economic empowerment as one of the vital tools to organize our people, and get out of this terrible situation that we are in. He also tied it beautifully into the education process, because we cannot realize economic process unless we are more informed.”
But, the evening undoubtedly belonged to Sgt. Davis, a point that Min. Farrakhan took time to note. “I want to thank DeLacy Davis for being a wonderful stand-up brother. You should thank God for him and the stand that he takes on our behalf,” Min. Farrakhan said.