Ahhh, Los Angeles. The city that does eventually sleep, although fitfully and always jumpy to start back up again and get back into it–another balmy day to play.
One thing about L.A. is that there is always a wide diversity of things to do and get into, good or bad. October is one of those exhausting, breathless months when everyday there just seems to be so much stuff going on, too much for one tired body and soul.
For example, last week, and continuing through this month, the Pacific Standard Time Art exhibit, “L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema,” is a masterful collaboration of 60-odd sites, anchored by the Hammer Museum, designed to display a dizzying variety of artistic creativity–much of it little known Black filmmaking, plays, and other sojourns with the Muse from 1945-1980.
CSUN is doing a great photographic exhibit of visuals from a Black camera wizard that depicts civil rights oddities and other unusual angles.
The Good Jobs L.A. protesters will be out in force over the U.S. Congress refusal to pass the president’s Jobs Act, and, of course, the annual Taste of Soul is back this weekend for its yearly seizure of attention on Crenshaw Boulevard–food, fun and merriment galore.
We are not New York, but we are definitely L.A., and we know how to play. Miles and miles of real culture blossoming alongside and even inside of the surf, sand and gridlocked freeways.
So finding 10 young South African visitors alighting from British Airways Wednesday was no big deal. L.A. brings them in everyday, from all over. But then there were others from Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Senegal, along with a well-regarded Ambassador to the United States who represents 54 countries, thrown into the mix.
Okay. Whoa. Even for not-easily impressed L.A., something was clearly happening here. Were they coming in town to see our own version of the Wall Street Occupation (in Pasadena, Beverly Hills and Hollywood)? Were they attending a new movie festival, awards show, or wild cultural celebration?
No, no, and no. They are here to talk business–practical, pragmatic Pan African business with the African Diaspora, with the Los Angeles Harbor Commission, with the Mayor’s Economic Advisory Board, the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus, the Center for International Trade Development, U.S. Small Business Administration, and more. They are here as part of the largest coming-out party for African economic development this side of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. They are here for the second annual Pan African Global Business and Trade Conference to be held at California State University Dominguez Hills in Carson.
Clearly, this is not the venue for those seeking light-weight fare for the weekend. This is for the heavy hitters (no Dodgers allowed). Relevant conference themes for many in Los Angeles who need to know about economic alternatives include, “How the African Diaspora can work together with the African Union to simultaneously focus on the economic development of the emerging economies of Africa and inner city communities,” and “How the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) can be better utilized to expand relations between business owners in the African Diaspora and continental Africa.”
For those who are somewhat familiar with African Regional Economic Communities, including COMESA, EAC and SADC (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, East African Community, and the Southern Africa Development Community), this is a perfect chance to interact with and engage representatives from those entities. For those in the know, it is through these African RECs that 21st century Pan Africanism is now blossoming. The recent tripartite trade agreement approved through the EAC, COMESA and SADC set up the mechanism to transform the African economies of more than 26 countries and in excess of 600 million people in the continuing search for an African common currency, common passport, and common intra-African market.
Even though this is heady stuff which many of us are not yet familiar, now’s the time to bridge that knowledge gap. Go to www.panafricanglobaltradeconference.com, to find out more information about this great event, and register to attend.
It’s raining paradigm shifts and knowledge in L.A. this weekend. Get you a cup and capture some. See you there.
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 stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.
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