Harambee Connection

by Charlesetta Thompson

Pulling Together in the Spirit of Harambee

Saint Martin De Porres Catholic Church recently hosted a resource fair for African refugees. The fair was sponsored by the Pan-African Community Association (PACA). The Keynote speaker, Dr. Samuel O. Lotegeluaki, spoke about the need to remain connected with one’s culture while adjusting to life in America. Other resource people were available to talk about immigration, employment, education, housing and other pertinent issues.

Aaron Kintu Moses, Headmaster of Abayudaya Primary School in the Uganda Abayudaya Jewish Community spoke at Congregation Emanu-EL B’ne Jeshurun this November. Moses shared information about the Mirembe Kawomera (delicious peace) Coffee Project and Kulanu Inc. A Partnership for Peace & Sustainability:

This cooperative is a rare partnership. Uganda’s history of religious and tribal division is transformed by this cooperative’s emphasis on respect and diversity. The Peace Kawomera Cooperative has a strong leadership, with Jews, Muslims and Christians serving on the executive board. It is currently able to produce only two containers of green coffee per season. There is hope that in the near future the cooperative can expand its process capabilities and its membership; but that is dependent on the demands from supporters in the United States.

Here are just a few ways to get involved:
• Start a Buying Club
• Use Fair Trade Coffee as an Educational Tool
• Use Mirembe Kawomera Coffee for your Fund-Raisers
• Give the Gift of Coffee
For more information, contact Holly Moskowitz at 800-462-1999 ext. 49. Or check out the website at

A representative from Kulanu, Inc. gave a presentation on Kulanu (All of Us), Helping Lost Jewish Communities, a tax-exempt organization dedicated to finding and welcoming lost and dispersed remnants of the Jewish people and helping them become connected to the larger Jewish world. Jews in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Uganda and Ethiopia are just a few of the groups which Kulanu works with to help with the connection process.

Milwaukee will become a sister-city with Tanzania. Recently Ryan Skaife, Executive Director of Hope in Tanzania (a foundation organizing private and public partnerships) and partners met with several members of the chamber of commerce at Club Timbuktu and gave a power-point presentation on the project. Common Council President Willie Hines, Joe Davis, Marty Payne and Andrew Triplett are instrumental in launching this unique venture.

Angela Davis speaks on Racial Justice at YWCA Program

There was standing room only at the YWCA of Greater Milwaukee’s Racial Justice Awards program on Dec. 6. Activist Angela Davis talked about the strides that have been made, and things that we still need to be concerned about. She believes that each person can contribute, and people should not wait for a leader to emerge. She graciously spent time afterward to sign books, talk with young people and pose for pictures.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Events

MLK Scholarship Presentation
Sunday, January 7, 7 pm
Cross Lutheran Church
1821 N. 16th St.
The scholarships will be awarded to post-high school students who have completed an essay. The funding for the scholarships is made possible through pledges, which were raised at the All-A-Thon held May 2006. Entertainment will be provided by the Community Gospel Choir of Cross Lutheran Church. For more information, contact the church at 414-344-1746.

Share the Dream Poetry Festival
Monday, January 8
9:30 am – 1 pm
Milwaukee Public Library, Centennial Hall
733 N. 8th St.
Students in grades six through eight are invited to the library to participate in handson poetry workshops that will explore a variety of ways they can express themselves through poetry. The theme will be “social justice.”
Poet Laureate Peggy Hong and three other local poets will facilitate the workshops. For more information, call 414-286-3091.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
929 N. Water St.
The event is free and open to the public
Cultural arts organizations will perform in the Anello Atrium at 12:45 pm, including Native American Drummers, Hmong American Friendship Association Dance Group, and Polish Community Dancers. Programming in Uihlein Hall will honor students who will interpret Dr. King’s words through art, speech and writing. This year’s theme is “this is a time for…positive action.” The program will include tributes to Dr. King by Janan Najeeb, Dr. Darnell Cole and Dr. Carlos Santiago. Father Bryan Massingale, Marquette University, will offer the invocation. The program will be followed by a reception in the Bradley Pavilion at 4 pm, sponsored by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Historic King Drive BID Celebration
Monday, January 15
10 am – noon
America’s Black Holocaust Museum
2233 N. 4th St.
Tour the museum for a nominal admission fee. The BID is again hosting a tour of the Historic King Drive area. Milwaukee historians will guide the 90-minute tour with lunch to follow. Cost is $15 per person. For more information or to RSVP, call the Historic King Drive BID at 414-265-5809.

30th Annual King Day Celebration
Monday, January 15, 7 pm
Martin Luther King Community Center
1531 W. Vliet St.
Music, dance, poetry and prose presentations by members of the community, both youth and adults. This year’s theme is “No More Business as Usual!” The event is free and open to the public.

Riverwest Currents online edition – January, 2007