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TransAfrica Forum Action Alert PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vernellia Randall   
Tuesday, 07 April 2009 12:58

by Vernellia Randall

...working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, March 2008

National Call-In Day
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
 Contact the White House;
Urge President Obama to Send an Official U.S. Delegation to the Durban Review Conference
 White House Comment Line:  202-456-1111

President Barack Obama returns to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, and he needs to hear from you!  As a country we have traveled a great distance along the path of racial reconciliation toward the goal of social justice for all.  However, our racially defined history of injustice still shapes today's realities, both national and international.  The February controversy comparing President Obama to a chimpanzee is only one of the most recent public examples indicating how far we still must travel.  Yet, like candidate Obama, at TransAfrica Forum we continue to feel that "working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds...."

 U.S. participation in the April 20-24, 2009 Durban Review Conference (the follow-up to the 2001 World Conference on Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance), which is being held in Geneva, Switzerland is an important step on our country's "path of a more perfect union."

Yet, despite encouragement by many G-20 leaders, the European Union, and Black Diaspora groups around the globe, the administration has not reversed its earlier decision to boycott the conference.  In light of specific U.S. reservations regarding the Conference's draft outcome document, the UN Human Rights Commission has made significant changes, removing language to which the U.S. objected (see for details).  A continued U.S. boycott will have serious repercussions for the international event, specifically:

  * Other nations, who would rather not deal with the legacy of racism within their own countries, are likely to pull out, undermining the entire process.
 * Of the over 100 countries that endorsed the 2001 Programme of Action, only 54 have developed national action plans to combat the legacy of racism.  The absence of U.S. participants will signal to other nations the lack of importance of confronting racism and developing concrete remedies.

  * The lack of participation will be a significant blow to African descendent groups around the world who have been able to make concrete advancement in the struggle against racism and discrimination.

The Durban decision is the administration's first test of President Obama's commitment to increasing racial awareness and racial healing.  To date the President has largely heard from opponents of the Conference--both from voices inside his administration as well as those outside.  President Obama needs to hear from you.

There is widespread belief in the administration that our communities simply do not care about the upcoming conference.  We know differently.  Please join us!  Call the White House today.

There are several ways to contact the President:

White House Comment Line:   202-456-1111
TTY/TDD Comment Line:       202-456-6213

On-line Comment: click here and leave a brief message

From April 20th to the 24th most of the world will be in Geneva, Switzerland for the Durban Review Conference, the follow-up to the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa.

TransAfrica Forum | 1629 K Street, NW, Suite 1100 | Washington, DC 20006 |
Phone: 202.223.1960 | Fax: 202.223.1966 |
Visit to donate.

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