Ramzu Yunus: Black Independence Is The Only Way We Can Receive Justice

Ramzu Yunus is the founder of Nation Time, a Black power corporation dedicated to fighting for Black independence.

Black people in America have been treated unjustly for centuries, from their forceful displacement to the American continent, to slavery, to the unjustified killings of Black people by cops. Some people think we can stay here and keep fighting, protesting, boycotting. For others, the only way to fight injustice is revolution. Ramzu Yunus is a revolutionist and activist fighting for Black independence. His activism has taken him to several countries and made him meet many revolutionists from around the world. We talked to him following a protest in September in which he took an active part. For Ramzu, the only way to achieve justice is through self-determination, self-governance.

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blackmattersus.com
First of all, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Ramzu Yunus
I’m just a common brother born in North Carolina, my name is Ramzu Yunus. I grew up normal in the average poor family in a small town in USA. And like the average nowadays, growing up in a poor family, you end up in a little bit of trouble. So as a teenager I did end up in trouble, I ended up in the street selling drugs and that always leads to trouble of course. So from there, at the age of 17, I got an incident, somebody tried to rob me and I retaliated and shot them once. And they sent me to prison for a few years. It was in prison that I started learning about Black history and so forth, changed my name, changed my way of life. I did three and a half years and after that I was released, but before being released from prison I was already changed and I knew I was headed for a different direction. So from there I just came out into the world knowing that I was going to be dedicated to Black revolution or Black struggle as some call it. I spent a few years working with different organizations, working in the community, and so I decided just to leave America and go to Africa. I started traveling into Africa in 1999, by 2005 I moved to South Africa and was doing various things there, from farming to importing fuel, eventually working with the government. I was able to meet the president and work with his office and various government officials which also took me around the world, to see other government officials and presidents and so forth in Africa. After about nine years and various incidents, I just took my time and made the decision to come back to America because I looked at the struggle that was going on like, “man nothing has changed.” And what I see here, people actually making revolutionary moves, I said, “why don’t we go to America and make revolutionary moves?” So I felt that I had to go to America and I formed a cooperation called Nation Time to put nationhood on the agenda for Black people. Everybody has been talking, we’ve been talking since I was growing up in ’76, 40 years ago, and before that we always talked about nationhood, and various groups had the name nation within their name but nobody actually said let’s really go for being a nation, like get a territory of our own. So I put that on the agenda, nationhood. 
blackmattersus.com
How much are you involved in the community’s life and how often do you participate in events like the rally on September 10th? 
Ramzu Yunus
I’m quite involved even though a lot of things I don’t involve myself with because I like to concentrate effort and I think everybody should be concentrating efforts on nationhood and taking us out of this situation we’re in. But I do get involved in community on a personal level, doing these basic things for people in the community like tending old people’s grass, cleaning up the whole block and stuff like that. A lot of rallies and protests I don’t really get involved in but I with things like police murders of innocent civilians, of course I get involved in that just to help the people organize on how we can end that situation and so I go to things like that. The September 10th event, I was definitely going there so like that I’m involved to see how we can organize, not just rally for that day but further organize on how to prevent having reasons for rallying. I want to have it where we don’t have to rally no more so I attend those events every now and then if there’s something that can be useful, not just out there protesting like going outside of a dollar shop rally and stuff like that and just protesting that, I don’t believe in such things.
blackmattersus.com
Talking about Black independence, are you in any way connected with the Black Riders Liberation Party, because they have kind of the same agenda?
Ramzu Yunus
No, I’m not connected with them even though we’re connected if they have the same agenda. I have spoken to them and a former member was also active in the Black independence move here. But if they do pull any move for Black independence – I’m going down for anybody who pulls that move for Black independence beyond slogans. I know a lot of us in the nationalist movement, we believe in self-determination and Black independence but the thing is just making concrete moves. Like the white people, the founding fathers, they believed in white independence, they actually made a move that, “we’re declaring independence right here, we’re going to stand up right here and take over this territory which we already occupy and if you want to fight against it then we will fight.” Now that’s taking an active stand for independence, for their nationalism. So I’m saying the same for us, we have to do the same things that they did, but our protest groups, we mention that, we chant those slogans, Black power and self-determination and stuff but actually making a move is another step.
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Are you connected with the POST group? 
Ramzu Yunus
Yes, I’m connected with them, I haven’t really joined them but yes I’m connected with them. I like the work they’re doing because they are trying to bring justice to situations that are happening all over America and the women in particular, most of them have children or a loved one that was murdered by the police and so of course I’m trying to help them bring justice to that situation. 
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Was the September 10 the first time you filmed a rally and the speeches of people remembering their loved ones?
Ramzu Yunus
Yeah, it was the first time I filmed a rally, of course I went to Aiyana Jones’ rally some months ago, but I just found out about about this further movement so I made a new friend there, I kind of found out about it some hours before it was actually happening. That was the first time I was actually active in filming a rally.
blackmattersus.com
You met with Kevin Kellom. Could you tell us about other people that you filmed?
Ramzu Yunus
Yes. So we met with Kevin Kellom, Kimoni Davis’ mother Kimberly Griffin, and Adaisha Miller’s mother, Yolanda McNair was there, Adaisha Miller was murdered by the police.
blackmattersus.com
And after meeting all of them, what do you think it is that connects them apart from the tragic deaths of their relatives?
Ramzu Yunus
That is what connects them together because I doubt if there would’ve been any connection. You know tragedy brings people together in various ways. But for now they’re more connected in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood. But that tragedy brought them together.
blackmattersus.com
How do you think their lives have changed since the police killed their sons and daughters?
Ramzu Yunus
When something like that happens, you know, death in general changes a person or a family, but when those who are supposed to be in authority over you to protect your life take your life, that’s very traumatic. So like the ones I met, Mertilla Jones, she wasn’t there the other day but I’ve met her on a number of occasions and these people right now are sleepless, they’re suffering from trauma and your life can never be the same when that type of stuff happens.
blackmattersus.com
After talking to them do you think they hate the police as a result of what they did to their family? What is the level of trust you think they have in the police now?
Ramzu Yunus
The trust is gone. Definitely there’s no trust there, and rightfully so. We see that those in authority that are supposed to be protecting you actually kill you – and not acting as if it was a mistake and owning up to it – and then they lie about it, so there’s definitely no trust there. The trust has been erased totally.
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As we know there are groups like the New Era Detroit, who police the police in their neighborhoods. Do they support families like Kevin Kellom’s family and do they help them in connecting with the police, the Department of Justice, to be able to go through necessary procedures like getting a police report done for example?
Ramzu Yunus
I don’t know what other groups do. I know New Era Detroit are active around here, but I’m not familiar with what they actually do on that level, but yeah they are active along with other groups. 
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There are also lots of people right now, with the current economic situation who have huge financial problems and I’m sure that people like Kevin Kellom cannot go through with civil suits and fight for justice due to financial constraints. Do you know of any community programs or organizations that help people to efficiently fight for justice in situations like this, independent of their financial status?
Ramzu Yunus
I’m not too familiar with programs, I know attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz has Black Lawyers for Justice, so they do what they can do and I’m not sure of some other ones out there. I think the National Lawyers’ Guild may get involved in that but there are some legal aid programs for such. I’m not familiar with all of them. There are even some lawyers in general that might not be part of groups like that, like I was watching a former taping of the Rock Newman show and I saw that when LaVena Johnson from the army was murdered by our own troops in Iraq in 2005, an independent lawyer Donald Watkins just saw the case and picked it up. Sometimes things like that can happen and an attorney out of their own benevolence can just pick up the case.
blackmattersus.com
Now let’s talk about your activism. Do you have any vision on how you plan to participate in activism? What are the goals that you plan to achieve?
Ramzu Yunus
There’s only one goal that I plan to achieve and that’s Black independence. As I travel around the world and work with different groups, there’s always the goal of being independent. That’s the only way that we can receive justice. You can’t keep being with the same people who perpetuate injustice and keep fighting for justice, you have to be outside that system, or replace that system or just leave that system and form your own system. That is the only way you can receive justice. Mice can never receive justice from snakes. If there’s a snake government, why would the mice try to seek justice within that government. The mice should go somewhere and seek their own mice government, so that’s the goal for me. That’s the only reason to be an activist, to form your own system, your own government, your own territory. Your American founding fathers set the precedent on this soil. Their only success in the revolutionary movement in America was the declaring of independence. They said, “no, all the protesting, the rallying, the boycotting, the petitions, were not going to bring us justice. We’re not going to see justice that way.” They said no, they declared independence. We are the ones in this territory, we have a God-given right to self-determination, that’s international law now, so that’s my goal and I think that should be the goal of everybody who’s seeking justice, if they have a logical mind and know that we will never receive justice in America. We were brought here unjustly and we’ve been treated unjust ever since, so my goal is Black independence, taking charge. We are the majority in these cities anyway, so lets just take charge of those cities and self-govern them ourselves.
blackmattersus.com
How many people do you think share the same sentiments like you?
Ramzu Yunus
Many people share the same sentiments, people brave enough to take action. That’s the same sentiment I think the majority of people will share. Everyone I talk to says, “OK, I agree with that.” They like to think about it themselves but once you explain it to them they say, “OK, I agree, Black people should govern themselves.” What logical person would not think that?
blackmattersus.com
And what in your opinion can help to change the current situation without having to wait for big change to be made in Washington, DC. Aside also fighting to break away and have our own self-government, do you think there are any kind of measures that should be put in place now to solve the current situation?
Ramzu Yunus
There are no other measures. It’s just like if you put Band-Aid and I’m getting whipped everyday, but somebody coming up with different leaders, different organizations coming with Band-Aids and I’m getting whipped again tomorrow, there is no other delusion. You can’t straddle the fence on a delusion, you’re either on one side of the fence or the other side of the fence.
blackmattersus.com
How many people have you met in relation with your activism, not just people on Facebook and on Twitter, how many people have you met who are ready to put in their real support, not just go out and talk, put in money, resources to be able to help our Black brothers and sisters to achieve the justice that we’re looking for?
Ramzu Yunus
I’ve met a number of people that are willing to make certain moves, they’re willing to try to do whatever they can. 
blackmattersus.com
Do you have anything to special to say to our readers?
Ramzu Yunus
I’d like to tell everyone, look safe, logically, study history and make a logical conclusion on how we’re going to get free and what moves need to be made to get us free and get us justice and of course we’ll all come to the same conclusion. Every student of history will know that justice is only received in one manner, and people never ever receive justice by complaining to people who give them injustice, or protesting against them, or boycotting them, or petitioning them. We have to do the same things that our enemies did, our slave masters did. They declared independence, governed themselves and gave themselves justice. So I want people to keep their eye on logical measures of receiving justice.

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