Initiative to Engage Black Immigrants in the Civic Process and Immigration Reform Debate
WASHINGTON, DC — From the African Union and the World Bank, to USAID and the UN, there is a growing focus on the role of the African Diaspora here in the United States as a key constituency. In fact, the United Nations declared 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent. As a continuation of that theme, African Diaspora for Change (ADC) has designated 2012 as the Year of African Ascent—an opportunity to engage a growing and increasingly influential population.
On March 29, in Washington, D.C., at Atlas Theater for Performing Arts, the African Diaspora for Change(ADC) will host the Spirit of the Diaspora Extravaganza, a multicultural feast of the sights, sounds and people of the African Diaspora. The event is a celebration of the spirit of the people of the African Diaspora and their ascent into greatness in 2012, as well as the official launch of ADC's upcoming "Beyond the Vote" Initiative to engage Black immigrants in civic participation and the immigration reform debate.
"Our organization began as an initiative to get Black immigrants out to vote in 2008. It was a successful effort; however, once people voted, there was a lack of continued engagement in the civic process," says Julian B. Kiganda, ADC president. "Given that we're now in the next presidential election cycle, this is an ideal opportunity for us to develop a platform for education and continued involvement of Black immigrants in civic engagement, advocacy, and the immigration reform debate in which we have been a missing voice."
Invited speakers and honorary host committee members include African Union Ambassador to the U.S., Amina Salum Ali, South African Ambassador to the U.S. Ebrahim Rasool, Congresswoman Yvette Clark (D-NY), Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL), Thomas Debass, Director of Global Partnerships for the U.S. Department of State, and Dr. Julius Garvey (son of the late Marcus Garvey), to name a few. In the tradition of ADC's programs, various artists of the Diaspora from Brazil, South Africa, the U.S. and Uganda, and many others will be highlighted.
The mission of African Diaspora for Change is to educate, empower and engage the next generation of leaders in order to affect change in perception and policy.