Huddled under the shade at Clark Park in West Philadelphia, the People’s Flea Market thrives in the hot weather.
With more than 60 vendors spread out across the park, booths range in variety from antiques to pictures and books to household items. It’s also a place where one can find authentic African art, oils and jewelry.
There is a sense of community throughout the market that speaks to its cause. While children eat their water ices and gather around life-size SpongeBob, parents browse the familiar vendors.
Organized and supported by the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, the profits from the market sales not only support local vendors, but promotes the welfare of Africa as well.
Uhuru is a nationwide organization that supports economic and social progress, self-determination and liberation for Africans in Philadelphia and around the world.
“Our Movement supports the rights of the African people based on the goals of the black community,” said volunteer Diedra Martin.
She further legitimized the cause by highlighting the injustices occurring in Africa, saying that the “white world” sucks resources out of the continent leaving them in the midst of violence and poverty.
Martin pointed out that America has more wealth and resources to offer Africa than any other country in the world. “We’re giving nothing back to those we have taken from, those we’ve stepped on in, order to get where we are as Americans today.”
According to Uhuru’s philosophy, “Africans want their lives back and the power to do with their capital as they wish; the misplacement of the resources is the crisis at hand.”
Nationally, their benefits for African-led development programs are endless. The Return the Diamonds to Africa Campaign contributes to the restoration of West African mines.
The movement holds an international tribunal which, since 1982, has spoken for reparations due to stolen labor and crimes against humanity.
Uhuru also works closely with communities in West Africa to develop the people’s power through renewable energy projects such as rain harvesting, water purification and education programs.
In November, Aisha Fields, a member who is specifically committed to the movement, will be leading discussion about their projects.
“It’s not another charity campaign,” Fields said, “but one that is training and empowering the local African communities in West Africa.”
In the U.S., the movement has built up African-led businesses such as the Uhuru Bakery Cafe, Spear Graphics, Uhuru furniture stores and the Bobby Hutton Freedom Clinic.
Even though Uhuru’s influence stretches all across the world, they are a very community-based organization and spend much of their time and resources liberating individuals and fighting for local unity.
“[Programs like the flea market] definitely bring the community together,” said a regular vendor.
“Things like this foster good neighborhoods and bring people together. This is beginning to feel like a village.”
To focus more on the distribution of knowledge, the Uhuru Solidarity Movement has released the Burning Spear newspaper.
Burning Spear Records are now are now available on www.uhururadio.com.
Along with donations, the Uhuru Solidarity Movement also seeks volunteers. These passionate individuals are what make all of Uhuru’s activities possible.
On Nov. 11 and 12, the African People’s Solidarity Day will be held in Philadelphia. Many speakers from around the world will speak on contemporary issues in the African community.
The flea market in Clark Park will be held again on Saturday, Oct. 14.
Jena Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.