“In the wake of the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and everything that is going on, not just in Minnesota but nationally, including here in Madison and Wisconsin, we thought that it was important to be supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement,” says Ray Kumapayi, president of the African Association of Madison, Inc. “We thought it was important to bring together leaders to discuss police and race and community relations.
“Hopefully they can tell us what their plans on and we, in turn, can talk about how we can assist our local leaders to see those plans reach fruition,” he adds.
Founded in 1993, the African Association of Madison, Inc., is a non-profit organization whose mission is to foster the advancement of Africans in Madison. This Saturday, July 11, they will be hosting an African Community Virtual Town Hall Meeting.
For the event, Kumapayi says the African Association of Madison, Inc. has invited Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, State Reps. Shelia Stubbs and Melissa Sargent, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Alder Samba Baldeh, Acting Madison Police Chief Vic Wahl and Dr. Floyd Rose, president of the 100 Black Men of Madison.
This Virtual Town Hall Meeting is “a way to begin dialoguing with local leadership with the intent to forge a working relationship that would tackle issues together as we move forward,” Kumapayi said in a press release announcing the event.
Normally, the African Association of Madison would be getting ready for its signature event right now – the annual Africa Fest, an opportunity for Madisonians to learn about African culture and traditions directly from Africans traditionally held at Madison’s Central Park.
“Unfortunately, Africa Fest will not happen this summer. We’ve had to cancel many of our programs and events for the remainder of the year because of COVID-19,” Kumapayi says. “We were sad to have to cancel Africa Fest. Most of that event is funded by partnerships and coalitions that support us, but the virus is now on the rise again and there was no way we would be able to hold the event. But we will be back next year!”
The African Association of Madison, (AAM) Inc. is a non-profit organization that serves as a forum to unite in purpose people of African descent and friends of Africa. The association provides services that “promote and encourage the collective culture, social, educational and economic welfare of its membership and engage in activities that contribute to the public education of the community.”
“The African Association of Madison is an umbrella organization for all other African nations in town. For this Zoom meeting, we’ve reached out to those other organizations to assist in spreading the word and to be part of the development and the planning for the meeting,” Kumapayi says. “The African Women’s Association are part of the collaborating efforts. We also have the Senegambian, Sierra Leonen, Gambian, Liberian and other organizations – folks from all over working together to host this event.”
For those interested in virtually attending the event, click on this Zoom link for advanced registration to the Virtual Town Hall meeting. Upon registration, you will receive an email containing a personal link to join the meeting. Kumapayi says that Saturday’s event should last about an hour and a half.
“The goal is to really talk about these topics and get a feel for what the plans of our leaders are. And we want to know what we can do to assist. There will be a chance for panelists to take questions from the community,” he says. “It should be an interesting event. This is a great opportunity.”