Urgency Requires Anti-Apartheid Action

Much of the urgency we felt in the beginning years of Community Change was rooted in response to Apartheid and to the Vietnam War. We joined the anti-war protests calling “for white people to disassemble those racist institutions that cannot change, and to redirect their resources to support oppressed peoples of the third world …it is the peoples of the third world who are the vanguard in the struggle for a human future. The hope for the white minority is to find a place in that future.” Viewing the international scene and the involvement of our nation, it was easy to connect the war in Vietnam and the different wars in southern Africa.

Part of our organizational work against Apartheid was to support the Boston-based Polaroid Revolutionary Movement, publicizing and critiquing the failure of Polaroid to abandon policies which gave support to the Apartheid rulers of South Africa.
Apartheid was also a priority for many church groups, and in the early days of CCI, my connections with the United Church of Christ were central. We joined in the formation of a South Africa Task Force of the UCC. We challenged the churches to become involved in a boycott of Gulf Oil, at a time when we felt that company was contributing to sustain colonial powers in parts of Africa. Corporate responsibility was an issue, and we joined coalitions working to influence the Trustees of Harvard University to divest from financial support of Apartheid regimes. The names of Chris Nteta, Ndabaningi Sithole, Gideon Mhlanga, Margaret Marshall, Ann Hope stand out as people who were mentors in the process of that work.

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