Trans Africa Forum TAF

We believe the success of Afro-Americans is bound up with the emancipation of all African peoples and also other dependent peoples and laboring classes everywhere – also in espanol

The idea of foreign policy advocacy organization germinated at the Black Leadership Conference convened by the Congressional Black Caucus in September, 1976.  The conference concluded that the conspicuous absence of African Americans in high-level international affairs positions, and the general neglect of African and Caribbean priorities, could only be corrected by the establishment of a private advocacy organization. An ad hoc committee consisting of Randall Robinson, Herschelle Challenor, and Willard Johnson formulated an organization design. On July 1, 1977, TransAfrica, a nonprofit organization was incorporated in Washington, D.C. with Randall Robinson as executive director … (about /History 1/2).

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About /History 2/2: … One of the early challenges for TransAfrica was how best to support the people of South Africa to end the inhumane system of apartheid. 

Since apartheid’s inception in 1948, a number of organizations in the U.S. had been supporting the liberation movements in South Africa, headed primarily by the African National Congress, but most U.S. administrations continued to support the apartheid regime.  Building upon the decades of anti-apartheid activity, TransAfrica:

•Exposed secret strategy meetings between the apartheid South Africa regime and the United States’ Reagan administrations.
•Was a founding member of The Free South Africa Movement (FSAM)
•Conducted daily demonstrations and civil disobedience outside the Embassy of South Africa

These activities and other public pressures moved Congress to pass the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 on October 2, 1986, overriding President Reagan’s veto at the height of his popularity.  TransAfrica continuously galvanized the public’s attention to apartheid South Africa terror campaign policy in southern Africa—specifically in Angola, Mozambique and Namibia.

From its inception, TransAfrica also worked in coalition with like-minded groups to spearhead the struggle to maintain economic sanctions against then-Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) until free and fair and non-racial elections were held.  Southern Africa was not the only region on which TransAfrica focused its attention to encourage a more positive U.S. policy.  In 1991, when the first democratically elected president of Haiti was overthrown by the military, TransAfrica pushed for the restoration of democracy and just policy for Haitian refugees fleeing the military regime of General Raoul Cedras.

In May 1994, the Clinton administration reversed the refugee policy. On October 10, 1994, General Rauol Cedras resigned and President Aristide finally resumed his official role following an agreement negotiated with President Jimmy Carter in September.

During this same period, Nigeria was suffering yet again from yet another military leader.  After the elections for civilian government were conducted on June 12, 1993, the military annulled the results and clamped down on prodemocracy activists including the 1994 arrest of presumed winner Moshood Abiola.  TransAfrica supported the pro-democracy movement in Nigeria with various actions: from letter writing campaigns to demonstrations until civilian rule in 1999.

In the 21st century, TransAfrica continues to foster a closer alliance among African Americans, Africans in the continent of Africa and the African Diaspora in the Caribbean and Latin America, through activities that promote political awareness and involvement in foreign affairs:  activities such as fact-finding missions to Angola, Colombia, Cuba, Dominica, Haiti, Jamaica, Lesotho, St. Lucia, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.   The organization has facilitated meetings between American policymakers and foreign leaders including Nelson Mandela, the late Michael Manley of Jamaica, Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and the late Maurice Bishop, prime minister of Grenada.

A major focus of TransAfrica’s work is to educate and link the 150 million African descendants in the Western hemisphere by building a closer alliance between American, African, Latino, and Caribbean peoples. TransAfrica Forum, the 501(c)(3) educational affiliate, works with civil society groups in Latin America who struggle for constitutional rights and representation. TransAfrica Forum opposes discriminatory U.S. immigration policies and the racialized impact of the U.S. Drug War that has devastated Afro-Descendants both in the U.S. and in Latin America.

Today, TransAfrica Forum campaigns against the crippling debt burden on the countries of Africa and the Caribbean by opposing Vulture Funds, companies that threaten the gains of already hard-fought for debt relief. TransAfrica Forum also struggles for international financial architecture that promotes sustainable growth and takes cues from civil society.

TransAfrica Forum opposes the further militarization of the African continent. TransAfrica Forum believes that promoting human rights, fair trade, and self-determination of African peoples must be the cornerstone of U.S. policy towards Africa, not further militarization and resource grabs.

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