This new initiative aims to catalyze engagement between local struggles and global problems and promote contact and mutual solidarity between Africans and Americans working to end corruption and financial crimes. This project is fundamentally shaped by the transformational experiences of millions of activists — mostly unknown — who have contributed to overturning structural inequality around the world.
My own story is best captured by an incident from 20 years ago — April 16, 1990. That evening, I sat in London’s Wembley Stadium with 70,000 others celebrating Nelson Mandela’s release from prison and the beginning of a difficult but hopeful, transition in the global movement against political apartheid. Several Americans sat in front of me. It turned out they were from Pikesville, Maryland. I was born and raised in nearby Baltimore. Pikesville was a majority-white suburb of folks who fled the city in the 1960s and 70s in response to desegregation efforts. Nonetheless, there we were, joined together in London, celebrating the successes of a global struggle – a transnational solidarity movement led by Black and Brown South Africans – against an apartheid system.
The irony, contradictions, and serendipitous nature of that encounter capture several characteristics of transnational solidarity movements. No formula, recipe, or linear roadmap brought two Marylanders together to celebrate what could not then and still has not been accomplished in my home state. Rather, we were all the beneficiaries of 50 years of political work conducted by countless activists around the world, a complicated mix of campaigners, national liberation parties, political formations, organizations, UN agencies, faith-based organizations, unions, students, and scholars. We all worked to chip away at the political, corporate, and military support for the apartheid regime.
In 2020, 20 million people marched and protested for basic human rights. It’s an inspiring start. Ending apartheid took time and many mobilizations. Tackling these complex issues will also take time and many mobilizations. Just as we joined forces to fight apartheid, a scourge against humanity, so too must we work transnationally to build the state, the country, and the world that we want with:
- accessible health care and strong public health systems,
- education that works for all children,
- decent work,
- public safety systems that are structured to support community needs, and
- environment that is clean and healthy.
To learn more about our work, to contribute, and to learn more about our partner campaigns, click here.