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03 April, 2012

PERPETUATING A LEGACYOF NONVIOLENCE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE: THE HOUSE OF UMOJA, INC.'S "PEACE ON EARTH" DAY

CONTACT:
Queen Mother Falaka Fattah
House Of Umoja, Inc.
Telephone: (215) 473-5893
E-Mail: falakafattah@aol.com


PHILADELPHIA, PA (USA) – 3 April 2012 -- Forty-four years ago – on Thursday, 4 April 1968 – in Memphis, Tennessee, a senseless act of violence cut short the life of visionary, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and leader of the African American Civil Rights Movement Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who described himself in his last sermon given on 4 February 1968 at Ebenezer Baptist Church as a “drum major for justice who tried to feed the hungry . . . clothe the naked . . . and love and serve humanity.” In that same year, six months later – September 1968 -- in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the
House of Umoja, Inc. was born. For the past forty-four years, the House of Umoja, Inc. has perpetuated Dr. King’s legacy of nonviolence and social justice. The internationally acclaimed organization has “loved and served humanity” by, among other things, positively shaping the minds and souls of over 3,000 adolescent young males between the ages of 15 through 18 in the City of Philadelphia. In 1974, the House of Umoja, Inc. brought to an end, years of rampant and deadly gang warfare by successfully negotiating a peace pact – the Imani Peace Pact™ -- with gangs throughout the nation’s fifth largest metropolitan area.

The rising and senseless acts of violence that have claimed at least 88 lives during the first three months of 2012 in the City of Philadelphia, has moved the House of Umoja, Inc. to designate Sunday, 22 April 2012 as “Peace On Earth Day” throughout the City of Philadelphia and to issue a “Call To Prayer” to the City of Philadelphia’s Interfaith Community. The Interfaith Community “Call To Prayer” will be one of a number of events facilitated by the House of Umoja, Inc. on “Peace On Earth Day” – Sunday, 22 April 2012 -- from 2:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. in the 1400 block of North Frazier Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of Philadelphia’s veteran and well-respected journalists, E. Stephen Collins who hosts Radio Station 100.3 WNRB’s (Radio One) Philly Speaks and serves as the radio station’s Director of Urban Marketing and External Relations will host a live broadcast. Free health screenings will be provided along with health exhibits and information for wellness. The event which is a component of the House of Umoja, Inc.’s multi-tiered Think Green Peace 2012 Initiative, will also feature a Peace Garden planting demonstration; a healing ceremony for burying grievances; presentations by VIP guest motivational speakers including The Honorable Louise Williams Bishop who represents Philadelphia’s 192nd Legislative District in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives; music; performances by fraternity steppers and a drill team – The Show Time Steppers; a prison art exhibit – “The Peace Connection”; face painting, games, and clowns to entertain the children; and the release of peace doves which will punctuate a memorial “for those we will always remember”.

“Arguments and petty misunderstandings seem to be driving the rising acts of deadly violence throughout the City of Philadelphia. These acts of violence are symptoms of a much deeper problem. We must get to the bottom of why so many people in our City – particularly our youth – our young adult males – are so angry. We must work together in a loving and collaborative spirit to heal their shattered souls and broken spirits. The House of Umoja, Inc. strives to psychologically empower African-American youth by creating an African centered milieu inundated with positive self-images and an accurate body of self-knowledge. The objective here is to encourage youth to reject violence and violent impulses to address their grievances but to take
a positive ownership of their future. They will bury their anger and need for revenge in the ‘Peace Garden’ on ‘Peace On Earth Day’. We are focusing on past and current social research studies which have clearly demonstrated the inextricable linkage between self-esteem and self-identity. Our overall perception and global judgment about ourselves directly impacts our perception of the world and our relationship to it. It drives our ability to cope and operate as self-sufficient agents within our environment. Cultural awareness and acceptance is crucially inherent to the identify formation process for members of racial and ethnic minority groups. Fundamentally, we believe that a healthy cultural self consciousness, which involves the
recognition, respect, appreciation, and love of the characteristics and attributes unique to each group, is needed in order to combat oppressive social and environmental conditions that engender emotional
difficulties as poor self-esteem, low motivation, feelings of failure and entrapment. We are reaching back into our traditional philosophy of kinship and common good. People who lived in ancient African villages, were members of a clan, a family group. Everyone worked together for the common good. Their first thought was not, ‘I want to
do this my way’ rather, their first thought was supposed to be, ‘I want to do what is best for the people in my village’. The City of Philadelphia is our village. Moving our children and our youth to commit to nonviolence and perpetuating the late Dr. King’s legacy of nonviolence and social justice is doing what is best for the people in our village. As we continue to move our children to commit to nonviolence and provide options for self-sufficiency for our community, we are also building a bridge to the future. The Umoja Social Justice Academy which is currently under development, is a bridge to the future – a future that perpetuates the House of Umoja, Inc.’s legacy of nonviolence, social justice, and self-sufficiency,”
remarked Queen Mother Falaka Fattah.

For further information about the House of Umoja, Inc.’s “Peace On Earth Day” event, and its Think Green Peace Initiative 2012, visit its website at www.houseofumoja.org or contact Queen Mother Falaka Fattah at (215) 473-5893 or send an e-mail to: falakafattah@aol.com.

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