As we move toward a new millennium, we must face a bitter truth. For African people born and raised in this country, the 20th century has meant the transformation and the continuation of the same greedy, racist policies that kept our ancestors enslaved. Our relationship with the U.S. government is still one of domination and forced subordination, using the cruelest forms of repression, the most sophisticated techniques of mind control, based on vicious lies and distortions. The U.S. government not only uses its military, economic, political and propaganda machinery to dominate and exploit black people and other oppressed people inside its borders, it uses the same system to try to dominate and exploit entire countries, and subjugate huge portions of the world's population. I don't have to talk about the terrible oppression our people are living under, you know that better than i do. Many of us who believed that we could work for change inside the system, have discovered that we were only working under it, the same system that denies us our basic liberties, our human rights and opposes our quest for social justice and human development. In the hostile reality that we are facing it is evident the only solutions are radical solutions - radical changes in the priorities, and in the political and economic structure of the U.S. government.*

More than at any other time in the last 20 years, millions of black people are crying out for change, for self determination, for principled leadership and for a genuinely democratic movement. I am elated and very proud that so many seasoned political activists have risen to the occasion and come together to try and meet the many challenges that we as a people are facing. Our commitment to social change represents our commitment to the future. We have an heavy historical duty that we must fulfill, but is a beautiful and noble task. It is not easy to build a growing, organized, sustained people's movement, but without such a movement the future of our children is in extreme danger. As in any struggle for social change, there will be many different opinions, and many different approaches. I hope that we have learned enough from the past to minimize our differences and to maximize what we have in common. I hope that we will leave our negativity and pessimism at home, and allow ourselves to be open, to be creative, to be open, to be understanding. I hope that we will differ with love, debate with kindness and take full advantage of the strength and the sweetness of unity. Let us call on the spirit of our ancestors. Let us be humbled by their strength, by their sacrifices and by the beauty and love that they passed down to us.*