Children at Roots Public Charter School in Northwest will take part in volunteer work for the first time since the pandemic. This weekend's meeting is the most recent in a movement that has spread to several locations throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and Africa.
The Black Star Action Network International (BSANI) Be Clean campaign, an annual event with origins in Freetown, Sierra Leone, will be attended by Roots PCS on November 12. Youth and adults will talk about health and the environment for the majority of the morning before picking up rubbish in Northwest Manor Park and Brightwood Park.
The Be Clean campaign, according to Roots PCS founder Bernida Thompson, is consistent with the tenets of her institution.
We work with kids to increase their understanding and assist them in [fulfilling] their civic and societal obligations, Thompson said.
She continued, "Encouraging achievement that leads to self-reliance, and economic, social, and political contributions to society is part of our goal.”
The Pan-African Federalist Movement of North America and the Universal Negro Improvement Association Reconciliatory Committee 2020 are two organizations that are collaborating on this project.
According to the World Health Organization, unclean water and poor sanitation are causes of diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, intestinal worm infections, and polio. According to experts, nearly half of all Africans will experience these conditions at some point in their lives.
After the Mount Sugarloaf mudslide in Freetown, Sierra Leone lost hundreds of lives and threatened to further the spread of disease, BSANI launched the Be Clean campaign in the fall of 2017.
To address worries about a cholera outbreak, organizers assembled neighborhood kids and cleaned up markets following the mudslide. Except for Pan-Africanist Karim Bah, BSANI members did not want Sierra Leone's then-presidential hopefuls to be a part of the program. However, the cleanups caught their interest.
It even sparked parallel movements in the West African nation, and later, President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone issued an order requiring citizens to clean up public spaces once a month for more than a year. Bio's political adversary, Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, also coordinated similar projects.
Five years later, the Be Clean campaign of BSANI is not only active in Sierra Leone but has also been embraced by other nations, such as Monrovia, Liberia; Lagos, Nigeria; and Gunjar, Gambia. Partnering organizations are situated all across the United States in Birmingham, the UK, D.C., New York, Detroit, Jacksonville, Florida, Oakland, and San Diego, California.
The educational component of the Be Clean campaign is perhaps even more crucial at a time when cholera, Ebola, and COVID have devastated parts of the African continent. Members of BSANI conduct workshops about good handwashing and sanitation while traveling to schools and other locations to provide cleaning supplies.
They have a young woman in their ranks who has made feminine items as well.
To carry out these initiatives independently of the government, the group ran a crowdfunding campaign and raised hundreds of dollars.
The Be Clean campaign, according to BSANI founder and chief organizer Chief Mansa Foday Ajamu Mansaray, relates to the strength of Universal African Nationalism as put forth by Marcus Mosiah Garvey. To ensure that disenfranchised youth on the African continent and everywhere in the world continue to be rewarded for their good efforts, he indicated that BSANI would endeavor to institutionalize these events.
Mansaray, a Pennsylvania native who has spent the last ten years in Sierra Leone, stated, "We can have teams in D.C., Detroit, and Monrovia to battle and fight against gentrification, and encourage volunteerism and Pan-Africanism."
"The Be Clean campaign is an example of something that would be comparable to the breakfast program of the Black Panther Party. To organize parents in the same way, the Black Panthers were required. Nobody can contest the fact that Africans may be clean everywhere they live, both in terms of the environment and in private.”
The school community, the environment, and health are crucial topics for our kids to think about since, without your health, you have nothing. The bottom line is that. Our environment has a direct impact on our health, Thompson underlined.
Visit BSANI.org for more details about the Be Clean Campaign of BSANI.
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