Her Majesty Queen Mother Dowoti Desir Hounon Houna II (Queen of the Palace of Dada Daagbo Hounon Houna II Guely and Supreme Spiritual Chief of Vodun Hwendo) of Benin, West Africa will be the keynote speaker for the 5th Annual Meeting of the Pan African Family Empowerment and Land Preservation Network (PAFEN) on Saturday, May 18, 2019 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the St. Helena Island Branch Library (6355 Jonathan Francis, Sr. Road St. Helena Island, SC 29920). The event is free and open to the public.
Her Majesty is the founder and president of the AfroAtlantic Theologies and Treaties Institute and the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action Plan watch group. She is a High Priest of Haitian Vodou and, although raised as a Catholic, she has long championed the right of African peoples to practice their traditional ancestral religions. Queen Mother Dowoti is the wife of PAFEN’s Chief International Vice Chair.
An internationally acclaimed human rights activist, scholar, author and faith leader in her own right, Queen Mother Dowoti is also the chairperson of the United Nation’s Non Governmental Organizations Committee on the Elimination of Racism, Afrophobia and Colorism. She lectures extensively on the objectives of the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024). In honor of PAFEN’s 5th Anniversary her topic during the annual meeting will be: “What’s Vodou Got To Do With It? Human Rights, Land, and Reparations.”
“We’re honored to have a speaker of Queen Mother Dowoti’s stature on the global Pan African stage be a key part of our 5th Anniversary Celebration. Her certain to be uplifting speech will tie together many of the pressing issues facing the Pan African Community worldwide—including challenges to securing religious freedom, human rights, land ownership and reparations,” says Theresa White, founder and CEO of PAFEN.
“African culture is land based. That’s why the Pan African Family Empowerment & Land Preservation Network is a part of leading regional efforts to protect the ownership of black-owned ancestral homes and land,” White added. Since 2015, PAFEN’s “Help Save Gullah Geechee Land” campaign has helped to prevent the loss of Gullah Geechee owned property with an assessed value of more than $6 million, according to tax records in Beaufort, Colleton, Georgetown and Horry counties in South Carolina.
PAFEN’s 5th Anniversary Celebration kicks off on Saturday, May 4th, with its STAND4LAND tax empowerment workshop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at St. John’s Lutheran Church (157 Lady’s Island Drive Beaufort, SC 29907). Attendees will learn property tax reduction and elimination methods, how to use their property to generate income, how to tap resources that will help them to sustain long-term property ownership and financial stability.
The STAND4LAND Jazz Brunch will be held at Hilton Head Island’s fabulous Ruby Lee’s South on Sunday, May 5th, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vocalist and pianist Lavon Stevens and rising star acoustic guitarist Adam Joseph Martin will be performing live and DJ O Lord will also make his debut. Tickets are $50 per person. The STAND4LAND fundraising brunches will continue from the first Sunday in May through the first Sunday in October. Tickets are available at Ruby Lee’s South (19 Dunnigan’s Alley, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928), the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce (711 Bladen St., Beaufort, SC 29902) and online.
Gullah Geechee Chef Bill Green of the famous Gullah Grub Restaurant on St. Helena Island will host PAFEN’s Fish Fry Fundraiser and after party, on Saturday, May 11th, from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. The fish fry features Green’s family recipes, servers who graduated from the Gullah Grub Youth Cooking School and fresh seasonal produce from the Marshview Community Organic Farm (owned by Green’s wife Sara). It will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. behind Gullah Grub (877 Sea Island Parkway, St. Helena Island, SC 29920). Fish fry tickets are $25 and can purchased at Gullah Grub and the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce and online. The after party will be held from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the same location and entry is $10 at the door.
Open House is on Sunday, May 12th, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Family Empowerment Resource and Training Center at the PAFEN Headquarters inside the Regions Bank Building (69 Robert Smalls Parkway, Suite 4E, Beaufort, SC 29906). The celebration concludes with the Annual Meeting and the highly anticipated keynote address by Queen Dowoti. Due to limited seating reservations are required. To reserve a space for this free event call the PAFEN Headquarters at (843) 812-3558.
For more information about PAFEN, visit pa-fen.org.