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"Zamani: Heal the Past in the Present and Empower the Future"
Zamani Refuge is an educational 501(c)3 dedicated to help heal the profound after effects of the transatlantic slave trade.
We, the descendants, black and white, European and American are stuck in a historic self-perpetuating paradigm of blame and denial that is incapable of promoting effective healing.
Zamani seeks to develop educational materials and community actions derived from a frank view of this historic period. Such a frank view requires that we let go of blame, denial and judgment. It requires that we simply look at the legacy at all appropriate levels and manifest the integrity to take appropriate corrective actions.While we appreciate that the issues that Zamani addresses are globally far reaching our focus will be on the United States with our home base being Asheville, North Carolina.
Public institutions, due to their political nature, control: how we know, what we know and how we interpret what we experience. The average American has little understanding of the historical antecedents that determine his/her self-concept and social position. As we, as individuals and as a nation, muster the courage to look at the consequences of historic antecedents, there is hope that in looking at them we discover how to free ourselves and move into the future unencumbered.
This Nation has yet to acknowledge its incalculable debt to the minorities that were instrumental in its creation. The descendants of these minorities suffer from profound identity confusion and none more so than the descendants of the African captives. Culturally uprooted and crippled by a deeply instilled sense of inferiority, they continue to be disadvantaged educationally and economically. This historic legacy must be faced squarely. There is a debt owed - and - the debt owed must be honored so we can move forward as ONE nation.
To address the historic legacy Zamani will produce and disseminate educational materials showing people of color who can serve as role models.
To help heal the "identity confusion" Zamani will produce and disseminate educational materials and programs:
a.) about current West African culture (even as it is recovering from centuries of colonialism);
b.) about the way economic interests conspired (intentionally or naively) to create a widely held belief that Africans are culturally backward sub-humans; and
c.) to facilitate awareness and pride in the rich cultural contributions of Africa through out human history
For many African Americans, it will be helpful not only to understand individual and national deficits resulting from slavery and segregation but to also eventually make a direct connection to the motherland. This connection can take the form of studying indigenous spiritual and artistic practices; linking with an African city through the "Sister Cities" initiative; travel and study in West Africa; sponsoring student exchanges; and nourishing traditional culture by supporting a school for traditionally raised children in Osogbo, Nigeria.
Zamani endeavors to give access to the most disadvantaged in our community. To this end we will partner with NGO's that seek to build community in local neighborhoods.
Zamani will sponsor an African American Cultural Center which will be one part museum, one part teaching institution and one part venue for minority focused events. It will be the "Holocaust Center of the Middle Passage" honoring the millions that suffered this mind bending catastrophe. It also will be the center from which minority community building efforts are directed.
National wealth building on the backs of African captives was most extensive and obvious in the southern states and it is here that we investigate this complex legacy. We emerge in this century, searching for the truth of our history; an American history that is disentangled from the propaganda of the past.Modern anthropology, archeology and linguistics, are establishing that the 'dark continent' is the fertile cultural soil that spawned modern science, world religions and indeed humankind itself. Knowledge of this scholarship is vital to change the negative stereotypes associated with Africa and Africans.
- valeria watson-doost
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