The African People’s Education & Defense Fund is organizing this health festival as part of our work to carry out our mission:
“To institutionalize and develop programs to defend the human and civil rights of the African community and to address the grave disparities in education, health and economic development faced by the African community.”
Health is essential to life. Yet in the U.S., the world’s richest country, African people suffer from an epidemic of curable diseases and reduced life expectancy rates.
This comes from the toxic mix of the lack of quality, affordable health services, wide-spread environmental pollution, unavailability of affordable, healthy food, substandard housing and under-funded schools.
We experience daily the discriminatory policies of the police including mass imprisonment of young Africans – especially young men of child bearing age – which disrupts community life and tears families apart, and the pervasive lack of genuine economic development in African communities resulting in the serious ongoing stress of poverty.
The African community in Philadelphia suffers some of the harshest conditions in the U.S.
Philadelphia has the highest rate of poverty of any major U.S. city with 40% of the black population living below the poverty line. Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District, which includes areas of North, South and West Philadelphia, has the 2nd highest rate of hunger in the US. Almost half the families with children in these neighborhoods are daily without enough food to eat.
Unemployment rates are sky-high. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, “Most unemployed black men in their 30s, 40s and 50s will never work again.” For young black men, unemployment is as high as 75%.
In a city with five major hospital systems, the rate of infant death in Philly is comparable to some of the most impoverished countries in the world. Sixty-six percent of infant deaths are of black babies. The AIDS rate in Philadelphia is five times that of the U.S. rate, and 69% of all newly diagnosed AIDS cases in Philadelphia are black men.
Densely populated areas of North and West Philadelphia do not have access to large grocery stores– this alone produces a lower life expectancy.
All these conditions are preventable and unsustainable. No city can be healthy when huge sectors of the population live in these conditions. We believe it is in all of our interest to solve these problems!
APEDF believes that we will never have a just and sustainable future for African and other impoverished communities without self-determination.
APEDF is leading the way forward for a healthy African community
APEDF and our community partners are committed to transforming the conditions of life African people face in this city! We recognize that the social problems in Philadelphia are due to the unjust status quo and that African people don’t have control over the health and economic life of our own community.
We recognize that economic development and self-reliance in the hands of the African community is the way forward to solve these pressing problems. The solution comes from power in the hands of African people to control our own health care, food, education, and community commerce.
APEDF has already built African community self-reliance programs throughout the U.S. including a series of health fairs and educational programs, children’s free lunch and sports programs, workshops and weightlifting competitions, free AIDS testing and more. APEDF programs include the All People’s TyRon Lewis Community Gym & Wellness Program, Uhuru Basketball Program, Uhuru House community centers and community gardens.
APEDF is initiating the Uhuru Jiko (Freedom Kitchens) in Florida and California to make licensed kitchens available to the local African communities to create community commerce and healthy food production and education. Economic development projects include Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles in Oakland CA and Philadelphia, and Uhuru Flea Market in Philly.
APEDF is building community-based solutions that have a lasting positive impact and continually build towards a vision of self-reliance in the African community. We are committed to growing APEDF programs in Philadelphia and are calling on you to join in changing these unsustainable conditions.
Uhuru Health Festival & Flea Market is a step towards building a collective, on-going APEDF African Community Health program that this community needs to transform our health. There is room for everyone to participate!