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A Legacy of Black (& Asian) Intelligence pt. 5: Sankofa at Old Dominion University…

16 April 2010 No Comment


Next Tuesday, I’ll be one of the presenters at an ODU (Old Dominion University’s) event called Sankofa: Distant Relatives, a “multicultural historic celebration of art, culture and social activism.”

sankofa wisdom look back and fetch itAs you might already know, Sankofa is an Akan word literally translating as “return, seek and take.” Some aphorism derived from the term include:

>> “You can always undo your mistakes,”
>> “There is nothing wrong with learning from hindsight,” and
>> “It is not taboo to return and get what you have forgotten.”

the akan sankofa birdThe traditional symbol for this concept is a mythical bird that flies forward while its head looks back. It reflects the Akan belief that history serves as a guide for the future; that a people should march forward while still retaining lessons and wisdom from their past.

So accordingly, the student group at ODU putting this on (Minds About Progress) is collaborating with several other student groups (Asian Pacific American Student Union, African-Caribbean Association, Filipino-American Student Association, etc.) to build on the history of cross-cultural activism: how people of various backgrounds have always worked to overcome oppression TOGETHER.

Some examples include:

>> Japanese-American Black Panther Guy Kurose, who helped deliver breakfast to schoolchildren and was instrumental in establishing Black Panther/Native American ties in Seattle.

Guy Kurose Black Panther Martial Artist

He was also a karate master skilled enough to work out with Bruce Lee (he gave martial arts instruction to other Panthers), and for his continued work in later years, he was nominated for the Black Child Development Award in 1994 (for his work with African-American youth) and received the Pacific Islanders Gratitude Award in 1996.

>> Richard Aoki, another Japanese-American activist who helped create the Black Panther Party (BPP) and mash-out the 10 point program.

richard aoki japanese black panther>> David Fagan, the most celebrated of several African-Americans who defected to the Filipino Revolutionary Army during the Filipino-American War.

>> Langston Hughes was deported from Japan in 1933 for speaking out against the country’s brutality, racism and sexual enslavement of 1000′s of women from Korea, China and the Phillipines, and

richard aoki japanese black panther>> Yuri Kochiyama, a Japanese-American human rights activist and close friend of Malcolm X (who was actually present during his assassination and held him in her arms as he lay dying).

She also contributed to the Puerto Rican independence movement and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005…

So one of the main goals with this event is to break down barriers: since people of different backgrounds have always found ways to band together and solve problems, that history serves as a Sankofa-template for the future…the various student groups at ODU brainstorming on how they can come together and make things happen for the future collectively.

Here’s the two main flyers…

sankofa odu event distant relatives black history

sankofa odu event distant relatives black history

Besides the presentations, there’s also some dope, well-known poets scheduled to do their thing (Godchild, Marco and others) and a martial arts demonstration by Spunk Ichiban and the Filipino Fighting Arts Academy.

My main job is to generate interactivity: making sure I get everyone comfortable and involved so that the event stays away from that traditional, boring, lecture vibe. Essentially, I’m there to make sure everybody has fun

Old Dominion University history events black sankofaIt’ll be next Tuesday (the 20th) @ 7 pm at ODU’s campus…a spot on the second floor of their student center called the “OIR Room.”

So if you’re in the area, I’d love to have you stop bycontact me on facebook for more details, and you can also get at my friend El Rasun who’s also helping to coordinate things.

unity among races solidarity and peace

I’ve seen where united amongst the races yielded positive results…” ~ Richard Aoki


malcolm x think knowledge
>> More on the Akan People (a group from Ghana/the Ivory Coast)
>> A Legacy of Black Intelligence pt. 2: More on Holistic Health
>> El Rasun’s “Distant Relatives” Historic Image Collection…
>> How to Increase Your Productivity by Having More Fun
>> Understanding & Overcoming Procrastination

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