Notes from the Barricades!

An Open Letter to the Chicago Sun Times Editorial Board

24 September 2020

Bob Brown

Director, Pan-African Roots

Organizer, All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (GC)

paroots02@yahoo.com – (202) 239-2676


A Worldwide Call to Commemorate Indigenous Peoples’ Day on 12 October 2020!

Pan-African Roots recently “discovered” an editorial that was published by the Chicago Sun Times (CST) on 19 June 2020 titled the “The Chicago Park District should lead our city in a little straight talk about Columbus.” It concluded with two questions and a statement:

“What is Chicago to do about those two statues of Columbus? And how do we do it in a spirit of healing and unity? The Chicago Park District has a job to do.”

The CST Editorial Board instructed its readers to “send letters to letters@suntimes.com.” This Open Letter is our response. We will distribute and publish it worldwide.

The “hard and honest truth” will be told. If Europe had not invaded the Western Hemisphere, stole Indigenous land, enslaved, and committed genocide against them, 25 million+ Africans would not have been murdered in Africa and trafficked and enslaved in this Hemisphere; it would not be an African Diaspora; and we would not be having this conversation today. There is a direct link between the Columbian, Confederate, Apartheid, and similar statutes.

On 24 and 31 July 2020, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot ordered the removal of the Columbus Statutes located in Arrigo Park, Grant Park, and at the Drake Fountain. “This temporary relocation,” according to the Mayor, “is part of an effort to prevent individuals from pulling down statues in an extremely dangerous manner, which has created unsafe situations for protestors and police, as well as residents of the surrounding community.” Her job is not finished. Our job is not finished as well.

Your 19 June 2020 editorial linked us to an article published on 18 June 2020 titled “Don’t tear down Columbus statues; use them to confront history and trigger ‘reckoning,’ Lightfoot says.” According to Mrs. Fran Spielman, Mayor Lightfoot also said:

“Let’s have honest, hard conversations about the real truths of our history. But let’s do it in a way that provides people with an opportunity to speak their truth, to recognize the hurt and the pain that so many have suffered for way too long. That’s what this moment demands. Let’s create dialogue. Let’s start healing and unifying. That’s what we need to do. Particularly when we don’t see that happening by the leader in the White House.”

We call for another wave of protests worldwide, to remove all Columbus, Confederate, Apartheid, and similar statues by Indigenous Peoples’ Day by 12 October 2020. It is not enough however, to remove statues and change names. We agree with Mayor Lightfoot’s call to “confront history.” It must be reframed and rewritten as well. We speak truth to the powerless and the powerful. Perhaps the Mayor’s Office and the Chicago Sun Times will convene this conversation, which she calls for.

As we all know, Columbus did not commit these crimes against humanity alone. He did not invade the United States or Chicago. We know who did; and we know their predecessors and successors in interest. Memorials and monuments to all these criminals must and will be taken down. Rev. John G. Fee, the founder of Berea College in Kentucky is correct, “God makes no slaves in the womb!” No one should be enabled and empowered to commit Crimes against Indigenous, African, and Other Humanity with eternal impunity.

Perhaps this “hard and honest conversation” can be convened before 12 October 2020?  We call upon progressive forces to organize independent, self-reliant manifestations in every corner of the world on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 12 October 2020.

We continue to demand the disclosure of slavery and colonial era records in every corner of the world. We continue to make our modest contribution to the struggle to change the historical narrative and public discourse, and related curriculum and textbooks. Victory is inevitable!

This is not a demand for reparations in any form; and we do not compete with those forces who make this demand!