Minneapolis, 3 January
by Doug Mann
There were about 50 to
60 persons in attendance at the Independent Freedom Party's inaugural celebration on 2 January 2006. 'African American'
/ black is the assigned race of about 90% of those in attendance.
The IFP is projected
as a party that addresses concerns of the black community and that welcomes everybody who agrees with the mission statement
The IFP mission statement:
"To provide a party (political committee) to the community that strives to bring about change in the current system of government
in the pursuance of equality, fairness, and freedom for all."
Keynote speakers (last hour of the event):
a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement and the ongoing freedom struggle, also a college professor and historian.
a leader of struggles in defense of the black community since the 1970s, and a long-time community organizer and weekly
talk-show host on KMOJ radio.
Macmoud El-Kati spoke about the need to learn from history and the relevance of
the Independent Freedom Party as the political expression of a movement for human rights in the city of Minneapolis (in the
tradition of the Civil Rights Movement). He reminded IFP members to not lose sight of the goal of freedom and equality
for everybody, and of the economic interests that a majority of African Americans share with a majority of those who
are assigned to other 'races,' including many whites.
Other featured speakers included past mayoral candidates Farheen Hakeem (Green Party) and Marcus Harkus (independent),
plus Shelly Ford, Dina Payne, James Trice and the moderator, Booker Hodges.
Natalie Johnson Lee, about to be former
city council member, was honored, and spoke briefly. The Green Party endorsed Johnson-Lee both times that she stood
for election to the Minneapolis City Council. The city's two black city council members from the 2002-2006 term, Johnson-Lee
in the 5th ward, and Don Samuels in the 3rd ward, faced off in the contest for the 5th ward city council seat in the November
2005 general election. Samuels was the Democratic Party's candidate.