Thursday, June 30, 2016

Standing Up For a Friend

As we began monitoring more closely Immigration Reform and its impacts on the African immigrant/refugee community, on June 30, 2013, Trinity UCC’s Africa Ministry, hosted a panel discussion addressing Comprehensive Immigration Reform and Its Impact on Black Immigrants.

One of the keynote speakers on the panel was Alie Kabba, an advocate for social justice on behalf of minority immigrants and refugees in Illinois (and nationally), and a friend of Trinity UCC,. Today, we ask each of you: Are you willing to stand for our friend?

Brother Kabba is the current Executive Director of the United African Organization, the largest African organization in the U.S. Mr. Kabba is also the first African to be elected President of the Board of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights.

Born in Sierra Leone, Mr. Kabba never forgot his people. At the young age of 19, he was forced into exile – due to his outspoken resistance to injustice, corruption and the one-party dictatorship of his country. Upon arrival in the U.S., he studied Political Science and Public Policy Analysis at the University of Illinois, Chicago. 

Mr. Kabba is a fearless and dedicated servant to the minority immigrant and refugee community and to the people of Sierra Leone.  As a proud Grand Chief Patron Member of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), he has joined 9 other aspiring candidates for the role as flag-bearer of the SLPP, campaigning for the Presidency of Sierra Leone. 
This past December, upon arriving in Sierra Leone for a 3-week kick-off to his presidential campaign, he was arrested on trumped up charges.  Once released, the government seized his legal documentation, preventing him from being able to return to the U.S.

While efforts by federal, state and local advocates is ongoing; there is still much help needed! Mr. Kabba was originally scheduled to be in Sierra Leone for only three weeks; the trip has now lasted 6 months and has caused a severe financial burden. Clearly, the government’s attempts were to derail Mr. Kabba’s presidential campaign. Yet, to their utter dismay, their efforts have only increased Mr. Kabba’s national profile and raised the awareness of the ruthlessness of their actions.

How can I help?

There are a number of ways to support Mr. Kabba and to ensure his safe return to the U.S. The simplest way is to contact the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) to thank them for the work they’ve already done and to strongly urge that they continue their support. Below are the names and contact details for three entities needing to hear from all of us:
  • Jason Hughes (Sierra Leone Desk, U.S. Department of State) - +1 202-647-2637;
  • Linda Thomas-Greenfield (Assistant Secretary, U.S. Bureau of African Affairs)  +1 202-647-4440; and
  • Sierra Leone Embassy (Freetown) - +232-99905008 or by e-mail:
To discover other ways to support of Alie Kabba while he is still detained in Sierra Leone, please visit:

For additional information, feel free to also visit the official United African Organization web page.

Lynda Holiday Lawrence
Trinity UCC Justice Watch Team