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Inaugural Speech

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					Saturday, October 8, 2011 1:09 AM
Mr. Guest Speaker
Mr. Mohammed Dukuly and members of the outgoing leadership
Hon. Chairman and members of the Board of Directors
Your Royal Highness, our queen
Hon Chapter leaders
Our hardworking women groups
Our honorary Marain and Parain
Officials and members of ULAA and other Sister Liberian organizations here present
Distinguished honorary guests
Our Imams and elders here present
Ladies and gentlemen
Ai-Ni-Wula (Good evening in Mandingo)

On July 03, 2011, delegates from the 12 accredited chapters of the Federation of Liberian
Mandingo Association of the United States of America (FELMAUSA) assembled in Silver
Spring, in the state of Maryland and elected us to lead our noble organization for the next two
years. An election we view as an expression of confidence in the numerous leadership roles we
have played and continue to play in the service our people. We are gratified for this honor. We
can assure you that your confidence reposed in us is well invested and will be justified in due
time!!

Kindly permit me to express my deepest thanks and appreciation to my wife Massa Sheriff Bility
and other family members including the leadership of the Bility Family reunion in America, for
their untiring support through these endeavors. My thanks and appreciations also go to Mr. Abu
Sillah and members of the “Bility for FELMAUSA president” campaign team, bravo!! I take my
hat off for you. I want to also take this time to say a special thank you to the elders, sisters,
brothers and the entire LIMAP family for first of all, allowing me the opportunity to serve this
wonderful Pennsylvanian community for two term with unlimited showers of support, and your
decision to host this occasion. Our appreciation also is extended to the current President and
official of LIMAP, for their cooperation in this endeavor.

To the entire Felmausa family, and our distinguish guest, we stand here tonight humbled by the
task before us, grateful for the trust you've bestowed upon us, and mindful of the sacrifices bear
by all of us during the formative stage of this organization. The sleepless nights, longer minutes
and hours on the phones, risks taking to travel, taking off from jobs, some of us demoted from
our supervisory positions for being constantly on the phone at our respective jobs, and some even
lost their jobs is the testament to the character of people of this vibrant organization. The
conversion of much needed family times to Felmausa’s activities, have in many occasions,
created some kind of dismays in many homes. The juggling between family time and the
humongous task associated with the work of Felmausa bears enough burden on our young
family, which is why it is necessary to remind ourselves in such unique gathering, where a new
corps of administrators is empowered, to reflect on those selfless struggles and continue to keep
the peace and the Felmausa spirit alive.


Aristotle tells us that "Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way...
you become just by performing just action, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by
performing brave actions." Our agenda for Felmausa will reflect the code value of society with
accountability and responsibility being the hallmark. I will like to extend special appreciation
to president Dukuly and members of his administration for their services to our organization as
well as the generosity and cooperation they've shown throughout this transition period. Let it be
noted that these men took our organization to a new level and for this we must commend them.
The attainment of the 501 c3 status and the successful execution of the medical mission are
highly appreciated. Ladies and gentlemen please give big hands of applause to Mr. Dukuly and a
corps of officers and other heroes of the successful medical mission. Thank you!!!
We will be remised if the farsighted and tireless efforts of the Abe Kromah led National Board is
not applauded for a job well done over these years of struggle. Please, therefore join me in
extending another round of applaud to the Chairman who was just elected one of the vice
Chairman of the ULAA Board of Directors, and the honorable members of the Board of
Directors, for their tireless efforts on behalf of our community. Thank you!!

We were elected on a platform that focuses on community empowerment, unity and progress and
for these reasons; we will be focusing on how we intend to achieve these key elements during
our tenure in the latter parts of our speech.

Working Together: Building Bridges
Frances Braceland once said, "We can be sure that the greatest hope for maintaining equilibrium
in the face of any situation rests within ourselves". That’s why it befalls on all of us to strive to
improve the prospect of our Federation by bridging the gaps within the Federation. We will try
bringing on board the elders and prominent people in our community as demonstrated this
morning in the “Traditional Hours” held at ACANA, We will make every effort to alleviate
skepticism from Mandingoes of all backgrounds like LIMANY and other organizations that are
hesitant and have not committed to FELMAUSA. We will reach out to them with the objective
to contribute in a different, dynamic and open way to the challenges facing us and our country.
We will form partnerships that overcome barriers and promote understanding between and
among us. This Federation needs every Mandingo and people of Mandingo descent to offer their
collective influence and experience that will help address our problems and promote the shared
interests of aspiration and in the process help our people.
We will enhance partnership with ULAA and other sister Liberian organizations for the purpose
of contributing to the post war development of our country, Liberia and help to improve the life
of our people in the Diaspora. As evident by the cooperation and collaboration in the just ended
medical mission, we will solicit the cooperation of not only our host country and its resources
available, but other multi national entities to promote and advance our humanitarian goal. This
cooperation was visible during the just ended medical mission; where we saw volunteers who
weren't Mandingoes at the fore front our quest.


Bridging the gap between the Executive Relationship and National Board of Directors-
During the tenures of the past and the current outgoing administration, we saw tumultuous
relations between the board and the executive. To remedy this, our administration will act to
maintain cordial relationship between the Board and the Executive members and work in
compliance with the constitution to achieve the day-to-day objectives of the federation. We shall
seek the expertise of legal-minded persons to ensure that the Constitution crises is resolved and
followed.

 However, we want to register our unambiguous support to all constitution provisions addressed by the
general assembly in the 2011 Convention which nullified the automatic membership and barred every
chapter president on the Board of Directors. I hope that the current members of the Board will see reasons
to strengthen the supremacy of the General Assembly and put in gear the necessary reforms.


National headquarter and ID card initiatives-
In an effort to maintain continuity in leadership and provide needed services and transformation of
FELMAUSA from a Gypsies type to a more stable identifiable organization, we shall work together
with ACANA and other for the purpose of obtaining a national headquarter for the federation
and develop an ID card system to set up a permanent and accurate record system for all our
membership. The National Head quarters will serve as a community center that will promote
Mandingo culture and resource center for Mandingo research. We will work with the National
Board and head of states in our various chapters to take the leading role in encouraging their
members to sign up. We intend to also coordinate our ID card initiative with the local
governments to consider Felmausa ID as a means of official identification, and the business
community for the purpose of getting discounts for purchases and other privileges when carrying
a FELMAUSA ID Card.

Employment Opportunity
Our administration will work to create customized solutions and strong partnerships with chapter
leaderships to assist members in need of jobs and to help them connect with local staffing firms
and provide resources that will help members to advance.

After School Programs and Weekend Classes
As a demonstration of our commitment to have an empowered community, we shall work to
secure grants and work with the African Cultural Alliance (ACANA), Lutheran Children’s
Services and other Faith-based programs, like The West African Teen Retrieval program
(WATREP) to implement after school programs for our children and youth. Another component
of our after school program shall include weekend classes to teach Islamic and other religious
studies and/or Mandingo cultural classes for our children and provide needed literacy program
for some elders. It is our desire to collaborate with some like-minded organizations in managing
some of our programs to ensure outcome driven service delivery. Those programs can easily be
possible with the attainment of an office space or center.

Celebration and Festivity
we shall introduce rotational celebrations of Ramadan, Tabaski, July 26 and other occasions
concerning our community. This will also be done with the help of Chapter states. This is the
time to give more power to Chapter leaders because when our Chapters continue to be weak,
FELMAUSA will be weaker and when we have stronger Chapters, FELMAUSA will be a
stronger organization. These activities will include football, kick ball, basket ball, talent shows,
Mamaya and other activities approved by our culture.
Meetings-
We shall hold regular meetings with our Chapters’ heads through teleconferences for the
purposes of being acquainted with problems facing our Chapters, getting the views of chapter
head as to the operation of our programs, and ensuring periodic visitation of our officials to
Chapter states for the purposes of solving problems and celebrating key occasions in our
community.

Women and Youth wings-
We shall strengthen the women and youth wings through national consultation with individual
Chapters, women group plays integral and prominent role in our activities, but often side lined
during decision making. Our administration has embarked on the reactivation of the women wing
whose leadership will create a pool of dedicated sisters that will be placed to lead and participate
in all committee.

Advocacy Group-
We shall create a special group dedicated to promoting and protecting human right issues
affecting our communities in the USA and Liberia. Create a link with opinion leaders, elders, and
advocacy groups in Liberia to ensure that the rights of Mandingoes are protected, to promote
civil society and reinforce the rule of law, help members with immigration issues by providing
access to free legal services. Partner with pro bono lawyers to provide resources and legal
services to our members who may qualify. Seek volunteers – teachers, lawyers, artists, students,
doctors, and community leaders – who would generously share their time, energy, and expertise
each year.

Scholarship and Medical Mission programs-
We will not only continue the Scholarship and Medical mission programs started by our
predecessors but also find a mean by which we could blend them together under what we called
the Medical and Educational Assistance Program (MEAP) and set up scholarship programs for
our children in the USA as well.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have high hopes that the things I have just outlined to you are
achievable and realistic. With your cooperation and assistance; financial, moral, and spiritual,
there are no limits to what we can achieve. Hope is a feeling. It is the desire to do something
about something. It is a belief that anything is possible. As Barrack Obama once said before
the New Hampshire primary, "We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics. They
will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come. We've been asked to pause for a
reality check; we've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the
unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.”

Fellow Felmausans, with that fundamental prospect in mind, I call on you to join this leadership in
making sure that the dreams and hopes of our people come to reality.
KEEP HOPE ALIVE!!!!! Thank you and Let us begin to work and make our community an
enviable one. May Allah bless us all!!!

				
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