Diaspora: “The movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland; the place where these people live.” – Merriam-Webster.com
When the first Africans migrated from the mother continent against their wills through slavery, this event was similar to the action of a star that goes supernova. When a star explodes, the riches that have been created through intense reactions within its core over billions of years are ejected through the darkness of space in a rich dust. This dust is the source of most minerals in the universe, including silver and gold. The abduction of millions of Africans from their communities was a similar act of violence on an analogous cosmic scale. And just as an erupting star sends the building blocks of new solar systems into circulation, so did this dispersal of Africans into new parts of the world seed the human race for even better and more amazing developments.
The silver and gold of African peoples fertilized cultural and capitalistic enterprises from the very first infusions of our ancestors on new shores. The innovations that occurred due to this African inoculation cannot be documented here in depth. The contributions are too numerous. Just as numerous have been our trials in the nations that became our homes. But at this time in history, as our contributions are beginning to get recognized and more blacks achieve meaningful power, a deeper issue grows more prominent — the need for African peoples across the globe to come together again as one.
As a black American, I am used to thinking of my experience as the one that defines blackness everywhere, but that is not the case. When the supernova of slavery tore us apart, Africans were sent in larger numbers to South America. Africans also survived then thrived in the Caribbean. Colonialism in Africa created ties that widened our Diaspora to include members in France, Italy and more. Recent trade has even brought us to China. Africans there have mixed with natives to create a bold new group. While active in their society, they are often ostracized for not being fully Chinese — but they will always be fully welcomed into Mother Africa’s loving arms.
No matter where we go, the children of Africa blend with societies that are fertilized by our riches, yet we are kept apart. We understand the churning caused by migration leading to new genetic and cultural permutations. Our rhythms, flavors and mannerisms add that something special to everything we produce in the lands we adopt. So even though our cultural variations are multifarious, at the core our international history is almost identical.
These experiences of transplantation, adaptation, expression and rejection by the mainstream are followed by fighting for our rights and healing from our wounds to become something revolutionary – the liberated group, the ground-breaking artist, the venerated leader. These experiences are even shared by native Africans who never left through colonialism.
Transplantation, assimilation, expression, rejection and redemption. This has been our history.
Unity is our future.
American blacks, blacks from Africa, blacks within Africa, Caribbean blacks, French blacks and more: We have thought of ourselves as separate for too long. This thinking has brought war at its worst and a waste of our richness as a group on an ongoing basis. As children of Africa we cannot remain divided, preventing cultural gold and intellectual silver that could be circulated for powerful growth from flowing because of the misconception that we are different. We must redeem our sense of unity to move ahead, because no one is going to help us, but us.
We are used to fighting to achieve our goals. But our final battle for oneness will be ironically be won only through the power of love. This story can help us make the much-needed switch in approach.
The first female president of an African nation, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was elected president of Liberia in 2005. At the time of her election, Sirleaf was a seasoned politician, but it was not her track record that got her elected. Sirleaf’s rise was fueled by the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, which unified a country that had been divided by civil war for 14 years. This small group of women sat in the middle of a war zone and refused to move until the warring sides put down their guns. Simple and successful, their movement put a woman in their nation’s top spot without throwing a grenade. President Sirleaf has used this power to rebuild her homeland based on the principles of truth and humanity. This amazing feat shows the power of the black woman’s spirit to heal and unite. The power of love to redeem old wounds and create oneness.
Self-value in our oneness as a people will help us recognize and purposefully utilize the African riches that have built up other countries for ourselves. No matter where we are on the globe, we are called by that familiar “Afro-“ or “African” preceding the nation where our ancestors landed — an eternal umbilical cord connecting us all to an immortal mother. No mother likes to see her children fight. Mother Africa wants to see us united and strong. We must see that no group of blacks is better than, less than, or immune to each others’ problems. We are seen as one, and we can achieve as one. We are one and we must unite.
The tools used by Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace are used by black women and men everywhere within their nations to create peace: love, steady action and healthy sacrifice. Now is the time for the black women of the world, and the men brave enough to engage their female energies, to use these means to join us all across nations. When this unification occurs, we will be able to use our massive assets to permanently solve our problems as we celebrate a new international black identity.
Do we have the courage to fully unite now through love?