Talking About a Revolution: Safety and Grassroots Organizers 3-29-2018


organizer I am a community

This week’s #macrosw chat on Twitter will be a live conversation with Efia Nwangaza, a freedom fighter and seasoned grassroots organizer who will discuss issues of safety  and decision making for organizers in today’s contentious and often hostile political climate. As time permits we will explore what the label “Black Identity Extremist” means for activists;  how legal actions can often lead to injustice, and how we define revolutionary work in light of the youth-lead movements of today. Jump in on an enlightening conversation! Our chat host will be Sunya Folayan.

A modest portion of Ms. Nwangaza’s bio is shared below:

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Efia Nwangaza is a lifelong civil/human rights activist and freedom fighter who first worked for the liberation of African/Black people as a child in her Garveyite parents’ apostalic faith church, in her birth place of Norfolk, Virginia.

At age 13 years, she served as secretary of the Norfolk Branch of the NAACP Youth and College Chapter and, later in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania she fought police violence, worked in the successful NAACP led campaign to desegregate Girard College, “a school for poor white, male, orphans” which then sat in the heart of Black North Philadelphia, 1965.  This campaign was forerunner of  the nation’s first demonstrations and litigation for police accountability, especially 1967 police assault on Black students demonstrating for quality education, end to tracking, forced vocational training and college prep course exclusion..

Efia and her family helped raise money and collect clothes and food to send South for those evicted and persecuted for attempting and registering to vote.  She joined forces with returning SNCC volunteers to found the “Northern Student Movement (NSM) Freedom Library Day School;” featured in the Xerox sponsored “Black History: Lost, Stolen or Strayed” series, 1968.

Anxious to go into the heat of battle, Efia Nwangaza accepted a scholarship and attended Spelman College.  She worked at the national SNCC office and took on campus organizing for the successful Julian Bond Special Election Campaign Committee/SNCC-Atlanta Project.  The Atlanta Project, SNCC’s first attempt at urban organizing, began raising concerns of a maturing movement and demands of the day, self-determination and SNCC’s position on the U.S. War on Vietnam (which it did before King and SCLC), Palestine, and the role of whites in the community and organization.  Atlanta Project position papers became the theoretical underpinnings for SNCC programming and advancement of the modern “Black power” call popularized by Kwame Ture (FKA Stokely Carmichael).

Armed with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Visual Arts from Spelman College, Temple University’s first Master of Arts degree in Women’s History (African-African American), and Golden Gate University School of Law Juris Doctorate, she went to Greenville, South Carolina where she is known as a freedom fighter, legal precedent setter and the recipient of many awards.

Efia Nwangaza is the founder and Executive Director of the Afrikan-American Institute for Policy Studies and Planning and organizing member and SC Coordinator for the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement for Self-Determination and Center for Self Determination. She is the founder/coordinator of the WMXP-LP/95.5fm community based radio, and former board member of Pacifica National Foundation, the nations oldest progressive radio network and model for listener supported radio.

Efia is the former co-chair of the Jericho Movement for US Political Prisoners, represented the U. S. Human Rights Network’s Political Prisoner Working Group in observing the U.S. first appearance for UN Universal Periodic Review, in Geneva; thereafter, conducting the successful campaign to bring international recognition and support for imprisoned Civil Rights Era human rights defenders and abuse of  public school students, especially Black girls,  in USA treaty reviews and UN Working Group on the Status of People of African Descent reports.  She represented the National Conference of Black Lawyers in Aristide era Haiti, in creation of its Commission on the Status of Women. She lectured, “Healthcare as a Human Right,” at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women, NGO Forum, Beijing, China, and the follow up conference held in Havana, Cuba. Ms Nwangaza helped draft action plan for UN World Conference Against Racism, police brutality and prisoner’s rights. She was a finalist to serve as spokesperson for the United Nation Decade for the People of African Decent, 2015 – 2024.

She is an Amnesty International USA Human Rights Defender, and past member of the national Board of Directors for National Organization of Women (1990-1994) which launched the Every Woman NOW Campaign for President to force NOW to address internal white supremacy and elitism, African-American Institute for Research and Empowerment (1994-1996), South Carolina ACLU (1994-2000). Ms. Nwangaza served as national spokesperson for Not In Our Name, first national organization to protest USA invasion of Iraq and conducted in-country interviews of Iraqi and USA personnel,. She was 2004 Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate in memoriam and education of voting rights/citizenship work and ethics of Fannie Lou Hammer, Mojeska Simpkins, and Septima Clark. Member national executive committees October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, Criminalization of a Generation and Stop Mass Incarceration, 1991 to present. In honor of 50th anniversary of  Voting Rights Act, Ms Nwangaza was the 2015 (Edmund Pettis) Bridge Crossing Jubilee Inductee to the Hall of Resistance of Ancient Africa, Enslavement & Civil War Museum, sister to National Voting Rights Museum, Selma, Alabama. Inaugural recipient of  the National Every Black Girl  Legends award, 2016.



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