Statement and Report on POCC / Talking Drum Collective incident
* Please do not forward to mass listings: This document is not for mass distribution, but is only being shared with persons in organizations who need to know.
On December 20th of 2005, members of the Atlanta chapter of Prisoners of Consciousness Committee (POCC) were responsible for physical attacks and loss of property to members of the Talking Drum Collective, some of whom were former members of POCC. This attack occurred after members of the Atlanta chapter of POCC came to the residence of Talking Drum Collective membership unannounced and uninvited.
In a conscious effort to prevent the State from becoming involved, members of the Talking Drum Collective made appeals to the Nationalist/Pan-Afrikanist Community in Atlanta to convene hearings to investigate and address these allegations.
In an act of self-governance, in an _expression of self-determination, and in the spirit of healing and repair, representatives from the African Community Centers for Unity and Self-determination, NCOBRA, MXGM, The NSAA Family, the People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement and others set through eight (8) hours of testimony and answers to questions by both parties. Representatives of these organizations are persons that have been heavily involved in our people’s struggle and were invited by one or both parties to participate in a process of community mediation/arbitration. National POCC leadership was also in attendance. After participating in the hearing and speaking to both sides publicly, National POCC leadership informed members of the Atlanta activist community that the operations of the Atlanta POCC chapter was “put on hold” until a new point person could be designated.
After hearing both sides, the following statement is issued:
The events of December 20th represent a dangerous and reckless trend within our people’s movement. This type of behavior is divisive and has the potential to bring fatal harm to members of our community and severely setback efforts toward nation-building and self-determination. Violence must be avoided when resolving contradictions between organizations and individuals within the movement, unless it’s in the context of emergency self-defense. Actions which have the potential for causing bodily harm or lost of life must not be engaged in over material or intellectual property. Movement organizations, including, those involved in this conflict, have been involved in the past in efforts to resolve conflicts within the context of community processes. Resolving issues internal to the movement in an antagonistic way creates an unstable and insecure environment. We must have an environment that encourages trust, communication and cooperation. This can not be achieved if organizations take it upon themselves to physically and emotionally attack the persons and dignities of other organizations and individuals in our community.
While it is clear that both parties bear responsibility for contradictions that escalated into the December 20th incident, we are specifically condemning the behavior of Brother Kalonji Jama Changa, National Chief Coordinator of the POCC, not only for the actions of December 20th, but also for his arrogance and disrespectfulness (particularly to elders of the activist community) before and after that date. While Brother Kalonji Jama Changa has made valuable contributions while residing and engaging in activism in the Atlanta Metro Area, his leadership has contributed to the reckless and dangerous tendency mentioned above. We are specifically calling for the following:
1. That Brother Kalonji and persons under his leadership on Dec. 20th publicly apologize to members of the Talking Drum Collective and the African Community of Atlanta for this regrettable incident and for injuries resulting from it.
2. That restitution be paid to the persons injured and for loss of property and other damages. (A detailed accounting of recommended restitution will be delivered to all parties.
Our sincere hope is this Brother Kalonji and persons under his leadership and involved in this incident with him, will see the wisdom and merit in complying with both points above.
The members of the community who have invested their time and energy in this community process find it extremely unfortunate that we have to publicly criticize members of the community. It is necessary, however, when actions threaten the safety and welfare of other members and when the peace of the community and movement are endangered.
*The following organizations and members of the community join with this statement and strongly urge compliance with the points outlined above:
Sister Joan A. Davis (Abena) (Community Elder and Member of ASCAC and UBUNTU)
Mukasa Dada (Willie Ricks), Revolutionary Activist
Mawuli Mel Davis (Activist Attorney)
Sister Vivianne Hardy-Townes (Co-Chair of Atlanta Chapter of N’COBRA)
Reverend P.D. Mene-lik Harris
Hekima Kanyama, African Community Centers
Mark Ogunwale Lomax , Pastor, First Afrikan Church
Wekesa Madzimoyo (AYA Educational Institute)
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement-Atlanta
Atlanta Chapter of N’COBRA
Mwalimu Seyoum Oba Netfa (J. D. Lewis and Associates)
Sister Akilah Nosakhere-Freeman (Activist Librarian)
Menelyk Odinga, N’COBRA
New Afrikan People's Organization-Atlanta
Reverend Derrick Rice (Sankofa United Church of Christ)
Brother Mzee Kalonji Tate
Akinyele Umoja, Educator and Community Activist
Sekou Hill Jr, Pres. of Uhuru Movement Atlanta
All-African People's Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) - Atlanta