One People, Once and for All

Founder's Blog

I had the opportunity to produce and star in the first independent film in South Africa after Nelson Mandela was released from being imprisoned on Robben Island. The movie was called, “Inside.” During that stay, my good fortune was to be alone with him for approximately fifteen minutes.  I said to him: “The entire world was holding its breath to see what mood you’d be in when you came out of prison after twenty-seven years, and you came out with a smile. How did you manage to do that?”His answer: “It is a much bigger picture.”

By that statement he helped me to understand the “bigger picture” was not to focus on petty revenge provoked by his own suffering. Instead, the necessary path forward was for him to promote a grand vision of forgiveness and reconciliation required by his beloved country to heal.

I took his words to heart and his message dramatically changed my life.

I founded the Eracism Foundation to address the bigger picture by establishing Shamba Centers—“Shamba” is the Swahili word for “farm”—throughout the United States and linked to sister cities in Africa that will offer instruction in cultural diversity, historical enrichment and antiviolence initiatives for young adults, teens and pre-teens to help them understand and eliminate racism by creating a living environment where racism and injustice has difficulty existing.

The salvation of humankind started with the life-affirming ancient culture and traditions of Africa. That rich history will inform the Shamba Center curriculum.

The salvation of humankind started with the life-affirming ancient culture and traditions of Africa. That rich history will inform the Shamba Center curriculum. The Eracism Foundation wants every person of African descent—as well as other ethnicities—to be exposed to this powerful, holistic wisdom and to use it peacefully in support of humanity everywhere in the world.

The soup of mankind does not taste half as good without the inclusion of all of its people.

The soup of mankind does not taste half as good without the inclusion of all of its people.

So I have dedicated the last quadrant of my life to this work and to spreading the message of the bigger picture to others—especially the young—which is why I founded the Eracism Foundation. This foundation is focused on creating a society where racism cannot exist.

The answer to racism is eracism.

Louis Gossett, Jr.


  • Louis Gossett, Jr.

    Founder, President and Board Chair
    Louis Gossett, Jr., is an Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actor because of the powerful role he played as a drill sergeant in the celebrated feature film "An Officer and a Gentleman." He won an Emmy award for his performance in the iconic television mini-series "Roots." Currently, he is playing Halle Berry's father in the CBS-TV summer series "Extant." But his most passionate undertaking for the last quadrant of his life is the Eracism Foundation. His great desire is for the Eracism Foundation to change the world for the better by supporting the next generation's development so that they become cultural leaders of a new society where racism no longer exists.
  • Barbara Becnel

    Executive Director
    Barbara Becnel brings 22 years of social activism experience to this position, along with nearly 15 years of serving as the chief executive of one of the oldest nonprofit African American social services agencies in the state of California. She is a prolific writer who has won national recognition for nine of the twelve published books she has either authored or co-authored. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Adelphi University and attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a doctoral program where she studied Econometrics and Labor Economics.
  • Shirley Neal

    Director of Media Productions
    Shirley Neal is an Emmy-winning television producer who recently served as the Executive Vice President of Production and Development for The Africa Channel and has more than 30 years of experience in this field. She has also served as the Founder and President of Park Hill Entertainment. In that capacity, as in her position at The Africa Channel, Ms. Neal traveled throughout the world specializing in the production of live television events, though she is not limited to that production genre. She earned her Bachelor of Art's degree from Boston University.
  • Thomas Stipanovich

    Curriculum Developer
    Thomas J. Stipanowich is the William H. Webster Chair in Dispute Resolution and Professor of Law at Pepperdine University, as well as Academic Director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution (ranked number one among academic dispute resolution programs each of the last nine years by U.S. News & World Report), where he teaches courses in negotiation, mediation, arbitration, international arbitration and dispute resolution, contracts and remedies. He is a leading scholar, speaker and trainer on conflict resolution topics as well as an experienced arbitrator and mediator. He is co-author, with Professors Ian Macneil and Richard Speidel, of the groundbreaking five-volume treatise Federal Arbitration Law: Agreements, Awards & Remedies under the Federal Arbitration Act, cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and many other federal and state courts, and named Best New Legal Book by the Association of American Publishers.
  • Azim S. Fancy

    Project Development
    Azim S. Fancy is a successful entrepreneur and the owner of diverse businesses who has experience in all aspects of international business start-ups, planning and management. Mr. Fancy brings to the Eracism Foundation experience in global and multicultural business initiatives through his work in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and North and South America. Currently, Mr. Fancy is the President and owner of real estate developer Daulat Investments Limited. Prior to this, Mr. Fancy held a variety of senior positions, including chairman and owner, International Trading and Sales, Inc.; chairman and owner, Pan Atlantic Paper Inc.; president, Orient Pacific Agencies Ltd. (an arm of the Gulf Group of companies of London, England); and member of the board of directors of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. At present, Azim serves on the board of directors of SCS Solars, Inc. and on the Advisory Board of Bayshore Wealth Management.

Contact Us

Contact us with your ideas for solutions to racism.

Help us with our projects by volunteering your time, by making donations, by introducing us to your network of potential program sponsors or professionals in any number of fields interested in lending their expertise or their companies’ resources toward ending racism.

Let us hear from you with significant news items about racism as well as research and publications that examine issues dealing with discrimination.

Finally, let us know how we are doing and, of course, how we can do better.

The Eracism Foundation
30765 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 133
Malibu, CA  90265