The Black Caucus Education and Exploration Tour 2023 had executive members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation (ILBCF) visiting Ghana as part of the initiatives to bridge the gap between ‘diasporans and locals.’
At a mini-presser that took place at the Cybele Energy floor at Advantage Place in Accra on January 16, the ILBCF maintained the need to create harmony through business relations between black communities in Chicago and Ghana among other places of interest on the continent.
Meanwhile, Tiffany D. Hightower, the Executive Director of ILBCF, threw light on the need to bridge the gap between Chicago and Accra, adding that, there should be a conscious effort to hammer on the need to synergize for growth via business and tourism.
Speaking at the conference, she further asked the Government of Ghana to make it easier for those in the diaspora to file for citizenship in the country.
“There has been a streamlined or easier path for repatriation for those who want to return for citizenship… the ‘Year of Return and Beyond’ concept has been embraced, and we have some living here full-time, we are hoping to work with govt officials to provide an easier path.”
“We the African communities spend trillions in the US economy and some of that money should not be going to just black businesses but African American partnerships that need to be developed. So our goal is not just to deal with criminal justice or health in human service, but we need some business, economic development, tech, and entrepreneurship should all be part of our job,” she said.
Additionally, Lamot J. Robinson, the Chairman of Tourism (Illinois) and representative for ILBCF asked President Akufo-Addo to look no further when investment opportunities come to the board.
“As the chair of tourism, I am here to let the Ghanaian government know that it should look no further when it comes to investments, and we are here to support your efforts as you build this community.
“When I step back and notice the lack of investment that we are having with the African people, the only way we can stop it is to do business and create the opportunity. That is one of the reasons we are here today… I wanna welcome the people of Ghana to the scene in Chicago, and we welcome you to do business with you,” he maintained.
Talking about the richness of the African continent, Carol C. Ammons, the joint chairwoman for ILBCF emphasised the need to unite all the melanin folks in Africa and across the world.
She preached against the slave culture, projecting the attributes and history of Africans beyond the slave trade era.
“As Black Americans, we only hear about slaves and not the richness of this continent. We need to connect with the land and the greatness of blackness. We need to know our story. Likewise, we need to look at ways where we can look at the economic and educational exchange to create generational black wealth with all the melanin folks.
“I think we need to go and come back again… I think we are gonna look at returning to Ghana and other places where others descendants of slaves landed and came from. We want to be very inclusive with all our black brothers and sisters across the globe,” she said.
Senator Mattie Hunter, Co-chair, Health and Human Services pillar, ILBCF, talked about the stakes of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation and projected deaths and other injustices that occurred in the health sectors in black communities.
“The healthcare system was much weaker in the black community and the white community. White received better healthcare than we did, and we knew that as legislators the govt will take the dollars and send them to the white community whiles we needed those dollars in our communities.”
“It didn’t happen, so we had to come out with another plan with those pillars, so we can structure the change in the system. We had too many women that are dying of childbirth. We are changing the healthcare system to save more lives of babies.”
The funding mechanisms aren’t helping. We have a managed care system where people who are under insured and not insured can have funds to receive healthcare services.
Beatrice Mensah Tayui, Chairperson Chicago/Accra, of Cybele Energy Inc., speaking to the press said the ILBCF team will visit various tourist sites and monuments across the country during their stay in the country.
“From Jan 14th to January 23rd… they are visiting the motherland and also stay in their roots as chairperson for the Accra Chicago Sisters community. This is something we’ve been working on for a long time to make sure that they both have trade relationships and world offices in Chicago which is responsible for trade and business under the sister city program.”
“They will be going to Elmina, Volta Region, Ksi if time permits… the big purpose is to highlight the relationship with Accra and Chicago stays strong. We are grateful to welcome them and let them feel at home, and we want them to come back again and again.”
“They will some tourist sites and important monuments and go back with the love from the Ghanaian hospitality. This is a maiden voyage, but it’s not going to be the last,” she said.