Spirit of the Panther
Community Bus Service in Arusha

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Spirit of the Panther Community Bus Service

by Arusha Times Correspondent

"It's amazing that after all these years, the Spirit of the Black Panther Party is still alive and kickin' in the middle of an East African Village" said Mzee Pete O'Neal, founder of the United African Alliance Community Center UAACC, at the official inauguration of the SPIRIT OF THE PANTHER COMMUNITY BUS SERVICE on August 14, 2004 in Imbaseni Village.

Mzee Pete recalled that "the strength of the Black Panther party was in its community service programs and the positive examples of self determination that these programs set. UAACC in collaboration with the KUJI Foundation, strive to ensure the continuing active promotion of the idea that with solidarity, focus and determination many obstacles in life can be overcome."

This free community service, made possible through the combined efforts of UAACC, the KUJI Foundation (founded by Geronimo ji Jaga) and UAACC volunteers, recalls the numerous survival programs initiated by the Black Panther Party back in the 1960's -70's for the upliftment of poor and oppressed people in the black communities of America.

Past Black Panther Party community service programs that continue to inform the present day activities at UAACC included free programs like breakfast for school children; community health clinics; child development centers; optometry programs; sickle cell disease and venereal disease testing; drug/alcohol abuse awareness programs; legal referral services; pest control, plumbing and maintenance programs; free shoes programs and of course the free busing to prisons programs!

The new SPIRIT OF THE PANTHER Community busing service will not take relatives to visit incarcerated loved ones, but it will provide much needed transport for women going to market who heretofore had to walk at least four miles to the Moshi/Arusha main road, carrying heavy loads on their heads.

The vehicle, which will take passengers everyday (except Sunday) several times a day to the tarmac main road where they can catch the numerous privately owned mini buses going to Arusha or Moshi town, will also serve as a village ambulance, taking seriously ill persons to nearby dispensaries and clinics.