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The practical politics of culture

David L. Horne | , Ph.D. | 9/29/2010, 5 p.m.

In a few days, State Senator Curren Price (D-26) will take a short break from the latest version of California's budgetary battles and will publicly announce the first designation of October as California's Pan African Business, Trade and Cultural Exchange Month. This will be done via a concurrent state senate resolution he has authored.

To talk seriously about the 90-day doldrums of our lack of a state budget is too depressing and dreary. That is a non-partisan horror that will continue to haunt all Californians well beyond this late summer and fall. Voters just need to remember Propositions 25 and 26, if they really want to put an end to this annual budgetary mud wrestling match and move into a better future.

Spreading some good news for a change, Senator Price's resolution heralds in a plethora of creativity in an already crowded L.A. calendar of events. On Oct. 2, the Reparations United Front (RUF) and the introductory Political Science class at Los Angeles Southwest College had originally scheduled its annual "Reparations Report to the Community," as announced on KJLH's FrontPage. Just before press time, this writer was informed that this event is now re-scheduled for November to accommodate the reparations debaters and the representatives of the international reparations movement.

Meanwhile, the two big dogs of the month, the L.A. Cultural Affairs Shaping Black Culture, in its sixth year, and the first gathering of the Pan African International Business and Trade Conference at CSUDH, are so well entrenched into their planning and preparation that they cannot be postponed or delayed.

Shaping, organized by Ernest Dillihay, the current go-to-guy for the Vision Theater renovation, in league with a very talented crew of artists, activists and scholars--including the L.A. African Marketplace's James Burks--promises once again to raise the level of discussion regarding how sustainable is L.A.'s current Black cultural life. Shaping will have rich, substantive panels on the business of music, theater, film, interviews with noted celebrities who also retain some community consciousness, and presentations by an international potpourri of cultural ambassadors and decision-makers.

For its part, the Pan African Business and Trade Conference aims at reinvigorating the desultory dialogue between continental Africans and members of the African Diaspora. The African Union's Ambassador to the United States of America, Honorable Amina Ali, is scheduled to appear, along with a diversity of business, commercial, banking and tourism representatives, including our own L.A. Harbor associates.

This conference will produce very practical and programmatic steps to be taken, and plans to implement involving networking and the groundwork for current and future ventures, with Africans and African descendants as the principal initiators. On October 21-22, it will certainly be the place to be. For more information on the Pan African Conference and the Shaping Black Culture gathering, please contact OurWeekly.

And if you can only attend one day in October away from your job or your job hunt, make sure you come and participate in Ben Caldwell's October 30 Diasporan Cultural Bridge March through and around Leimert Park. It will be a beautiful , maybe life-changing experience, as Belizeans, Bajans, Rastas, Garifuna-speakers, continental Africans, Central Americans and African Americans show how well we can all get along and jointly advocate cultural life at on higher ground.

See you in the riffs and rhythms.

Professor David L. Horne, is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or Non Governmental Organization (NGO). It is the step-parent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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