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"The 2003 Edith Witt Internship Grant"

In January 2003, Brandi Brown began her internship with TransAfrica Forum. Brandi was assigned to work with the TransAfrica Youth and Student Network at its inception. The purpose of the Student Network is to support the development of progressive Black student activists and organizations by building a national network that will support on-campus organizing, facilitate cross- campus communication, and provide organizer training. She participated in concept development and planning, as well as the initial outreach for the network. Specifically, Brandi was involved in meetings where an outreach plan was created. With supervision from the Director of Student Organizing, she then developed flyers and a presentation on the Student Network.November/December 2003 issue of Poverty & Race

In January 2003, Brandi Brown began her internship with TransAfrica Forum. Brandi was assigned to work with the TransAfrica Youth and Student Network at its inception. The purpose of the Student Network is to support the development of progressive Black student activists and organizations by building a national network that will support on-campus organizing, facilitate cross- campus communication, and provide organizer training. She participated in concept development and planning, as well as the initial outreach for the network. Specifically, Brandi was involved in meetings where an outreach plan was created. With supervision from the Director of Student Organizing, she then developed flyers and a presentation on the Student Network.

Brandi researched Black/African student organizations in the area. Then, she visited the campuses (including the University of District of Columbia, George Washington University, American University, Georgetown University, and Howard University) to do outreach to organizations she had identified through her research. Her work was important because we discovered that only a few organizations were interested in doing work on the issues we focus on. In other words, we developed an understanding of the return on outreach we can expect as we continue to build the project.

Brandi was also instrumental in the development of the concept for our Nov. 9-10 first national youth and student conference, “Rebuilding Resistance.” Brandi helped to secure a venue for the conference at Howard University.

The Nov. 9-10 conference drew some 100 young people of African descent from across North America and Canada, to raise consciousness on domestic and global justice issues, learn from past movements, provide training, and build alliances. Topics discussed were the AIDS pandemic; immigrant rights – particularly with respect to demanding “one standard” treatment for Haitian refugees; the mass incarceration of youth and political prisoners; and litigation regarding reparations for the damages created by the apartheid system in South Africa.
Among the recurring issues and questions were:

• How to build unity among Black/African forces which have differences in strategy and tactics but the same or similar goals.

• How to connect domestic and international issues.

• How to respond to post 9-11 heightened profiling, persecution and brutality against immigrants of African descent and Black Muslims.

Followup activities include maintaining communication and forming action task forces for campaigns and future trainings and gatherings.

For further information, contact Edget Betru, Director of Student Organizing, TransAfrica Forum, Ebetru@TransAfricaForum.org, 202/797-2301.
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