Sunday, July 23, 2017

Marvin X on living the life of a revolutionary, i.e., artistic freedom fighter


Master Teacher, poet, playwright, organizer, planner  Marvin X at his Academy of da Corner, 14th and  Broadway, downtown Oakland, Black Arts Movement Business District


One is a doomed person, man, woman, youth, whatever, doomed to death, martyrdom, jail, prison, exile, house arrest  for life, no woman no wife, children estranged. All religions say stay away from him, do not associate with him, he is an evil person. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hebrews, Yoruba, Hausa, Sunni, Shia, 5%, Mo, say away from him. Bad person. boggeyman. shaman. witch doctor.
stay way from Marvin X. No rape, no grope, no hug, no kiss, no pimp, no abuse--stay away from Marvin X, teach you bad things, teach you love yo daddy, mama, sista, brother, child, on stay away from Marvin X, teach you only religion is religion of the heart, love, Marvin X is love, God is Love,
no love no religion no love no revolution no love no communism no capitalism socialism other isms schisms.
Three Black revolutionaries: Angela Davis, Marvin X, Sonia Sanchez

Religion of the heart! No temples, no masjeds, churches, no sects, cults, no fight no fear lakum dinu kum waliya din, i.e., to you your way and to me mine, Al Qur-an. Be whatever you want to be, just don't stop me from being me, whatever that be, let me figure it out, pay the cost for being lost, yet found in the end. Sun Ra said the only sin is to die, then he lost me, he died thus sinned and I was lost in Space is the Place, On the Other Side of Time. Give me some wine! Where is my beloved? Why is she not beside me now that we are in the Upper Room of our Father's House? Is this a dream? Scheme?

I grow old, I grow old, "...Shall I wear my trousers rolled.... Shall I dare eat a peach? Shall I walk upon the beach? (T.S. Eliot)

No matter what, I can say the Grass Roots love me and I love them back, honest, true, traumatized, yet still true to the game, no shame, honest, grass roots. In my face, eye ball to eye ball, listen they pray, listen to my pain, sorrow, please listen, no one listens to my pain, sorrow, please listen!!!!!!!

Entonces, silencia por favor, silencia, digame, digame,speak to me!

Ah, the life of a revolutonary, exiled.

Exiled, the worst of possible feelings, situations, apart from your people, can't get back with them, your tribe against tribalism, yet your people, no matter how deaf dumb and blind they are, your people like no other, your tribe, family, nation, pan is fine, we pan, yet still tribal, tribe is family, clans, tribe, nation, no shame, we family, no kill no shoot, love family, I appreciate you, brother; appreciate you, sister!

The revolution continues unto the next generation of understanding.
--Marvin X
July 23, 2017

Can't Love the Loveless

Ancestor poets  Amiri Baraka and Maya Angelou dancing the last dance


No love satisfies loveless
beings unfixable
beyond trauma hospitable
beyond love in human form
all you do is nothing to heartless hurtful souls
hurt beyond love
abused beyond love human feelings kiss hug tenderness
try as you may to dismay
crushed heart feelings
such beings you wonder from where
no feelings there
waste of time
no wine
weed
satisfy
sex no desire
crying inside
wall of stone
love calls
no answer here
to much fear
great monster
fear
hear hear
fear
and what man say
only fear is fear itself
unfixable love
any touch beyond limits of love
kiss
hug
invitation to love
most feared
must be perfect in sick mind
yet to know love is lovee is love
rare is true love
most love is delusion illusion false conclusion
new love old love different name
problems same
daddy mama pain
incest
uncle aunt sex test
brother sister first cousin sex text
what's next
ho sex
meaningless
after nut then what
after nut then what?
--Marvin X
8/23/17

book: national security cinema

This is a book about secrecy, militarism, manipulation, and censorship at the heart of the world’s leading democracy—and about those who try to fight them. Using thousands of pages of documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act National Security Cinema exclusively reveals that the national security state—led by the CIA and Pentagon—has worked on more than eight-hundred Hollywood films and over a thousand network television shows. The latest scholarship has underestimated the size of this operation, in part because the government has gone to considerable lengths to prevent data emerging, especially in the 21st Century, as the practice of government-Hollywood cooperation has escalated and become more aggressive. National Security Cinema reveals for the first time specific script changes made by the government for political reasons on dozens of blockbusting films and franchises like Transformers, Avatar, Meet the Parents, and The Terminator. These forces have suppressed important narratives about: CIA drug trafficking; illegal arms sales; military creation of bio-weapons; the interaction of private armies and oil companies; government treatment of minorities; torture; coups; assassinations, and the failure to prevent 9/11.

the cia in hollywood

"The CIA in Hollywood: How the Agency Shapes Film and Television," by Tricia Jenkins

 

By Book Review Editor
Friday, April 17, 2015, 11:00 AM
Published by University of Texas Press (2013)
Reviewed by Julius Taranto
Though everyone would surely prefer otherwise, public relations crises are part of the CIA’s ordinary business. The fact that so much of its work is classified puts the Agency in one of those tricky, plumber-like governmental roles: when it does its job right, no one should notice. But when it screws up, there’s a mess, and things smell awful.

The nature of any covert enterprise is rigged against popularity: the Agency can’t ordinarily brag about its hard-won successes or even update Americans with news of general competence. The FBI, by contrast, gets to issue press releases detailing high-profile arrests and convictions. But with rare exceptions, the CIA hits the front page only when something has gone badly sideways.
This asymmetry naturally gives rise to an image problem, so the CIA needs a way of loopholing if it wants to shape public perception. Fiction about the Agency—particularly television and movies, the most potent and culture-shaping mediums—has turned out to be that loophole. But it has its risks.
Depending on whom you ask, Hollywood has been either a great friend or a persistent foe in the CIA’s quest for a better public image. Some might point to media characterizations of the CIA as a rogue, hapless, or amoral institution. Just a few weeks ago, at the Agency’s request, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd talked to members of Langley’s “sisterhood,” who were “fed up with the flock of fictional CIA women in movies and on TV who guzzle alcohol as they bed hop and drone drop, acting crazed and emotional, sleeping with terrorists and seducing assets.” The point of these interviews seemed to be to insist that CIA careers are actually much more boring and difficult than they look on television.

But more probing critics might highlight that the romanticized representation of spies in film has, in fact, been a boon to the Intelligence Community. Audiences are probably seduced rather than judgmental when fictional CIA officers fall short of perfect virtue. Homeland’s Carrie Mathison may not be a girl scout or a realistic CIA officer, but there’s no question that viewers are on her side, and that they care about her more than her buttoned-up colleagues, precisely because her flaws humanize her. The Agency—and everyone who likes spy movies—should hope Maureen Dowd’s column wasn’t too persuasive, because no one wants to watch a show about unmarred professionalism and competence. They’d watch The Americans instead.

Absent flawed, interesting protagonists, in other words, CIA-themed TV shows and movies would not exist for long. And that would mean that the only time the public hears or thinks about the CIA is when the Agency is in the news, and something has probably gone wrong. So the entertainment industry’s efforts to portray the Agency hinge, paradoxically, on depicting a more flawed version of the Agency as an institution than is realistic, while depicting individual Agency officials as less lawful, less professional, and less virtuous than is realistic, either. Though possibly the most damaging effect of the television shows is not about the professionalism of individual agents or the Agency, or lack thereof, but instead that because budget constraints push TV production to take place in US locales, not abroad, the general public probably understands that Carrie Mathison is not exactly typical of Langley—but is quite unaware that the CIA is prohibited by law from operating on US soil at all.

Understanding that spy movies and shows will be produced with or without the Agency’s cooperation, Langley has established a suitably quiet relationship with the entertainment industry in the interest of securing Hollywood portrayals that are at least half-accurate, if not cloyingly positive. That Agency-Industry engagement is the topic of Tricia Jenkins’s, well, frankly underwhelming book, The CIA in Hollywood. Her effort contains a few interesting historical anecdotes, but it ultimately fails to do justice to an underserved, rich, and timely topic.

II
Here’s one anecdote: twenty years ago, following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and the Aldrich Ames scandal, there was skeptical chatter about the CIA’s continued usefulness. Rep. Dan Glickman, then the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan both publicly questioned whether the CIA should have a future. The Agency met this image problem-turned-existential threat by commissioning a network television show called The Classified Files of the C.I.A. It was to be modeled on the 1960s FBI image-vehicle The F.B.I., and it would feature a real, declassified CIA case each week. Langley would feed fact patterns to the producers, who would use them as the basis for a story and sell the show based in part on its authenticity.

The Classified Files of the C.I.A. never made it to air after the Agency and the show’s producers, Steve Tisch and Aaron Spelling, parted ways over creative differences. But if Jenkins’s account of the concept is even a little accurate, the (alas) never seen two-hour pilot episode sounds like a masterpiece of clunky and humorless propaganda that was, for the Agency’s sake, probably best kept classified. Later, after this failed attempt to micromanage professional Hollywood micromanagers, Langley opted for a lighter touch. Rather than developing its own content, it began reaching out to filmmakers already working on Agency-related projects and offering them insider expertise—and sometimes use of the CIA’s facilities, equipment, or official seal—in exchange for some influence over how the Agency would be portrayed.

This was the project of longtime CIA officer Chase Brandon, first cousin of Tommy Lee Jones and (not coincidentally) the first CIA Entertainment Industry Liaison. Brandon developed a process at Langley just like the Pentagon’s long-established Hollywood outreach program: guidance and advice are freely given, while filmmakers requesting something more costly—the use of equipment, shooting locations, or technical consultation—have their scripts reviewed to determine whether aiding production aligns with the Agency’s mission. When a filmmaker asks for more than guidance, script alterations are sometimes suggested in the name of authenticity and a more positive take on the Agency.

In Jenkins’s telling, the first two projects influenced by this system were In the Company of Spies and The Agency. After 9/11, there were a slew of others, including Alias, The Sum of All Fears, The Bourne Identity, and The Recruit. Jenkins tries to tell a story in which the Agency, allegedly in violation of the First Amendment, disingenuously attempts to twist spy movies to its own propagandistic ends and then withdraws vital support from filmmakers who refuse to capitulate. The argument is that this unequal treatment of filmmakers based only on their different characterizations of the Agency amounts to an unconstitutional suppression of speech. Where to begin? It’s hard to swallow that Jenkins is shocked, shocked to find that public relations is going on here! Beyond that, even by her own account of which movies Langley lent its hand to and which it didn’t, it’s difficult to discern any kind of consistent pattern of positivity in these films that isn’t already implied by having a CIA officer as a sympathetic protagonist.

For example, despite the fact that neither film takes a terribly positive view of Langley, both The Bourne Identity and The Recruit feature Chase Brandon in the DVD’s “extra features” segments discussing what the Agency is really like. It’s a good move—hey, we all enjoy a good movie and, no problem, we’re kind of flattered being the villains—now here’s something to show you what we’re really about. By contrast, another Agency-aided film, The Sum of All Fears, has some rather heavy-handed touches of CIA cheerleading. (Here’s CIA analyst Jack Ryan, the cool head in an apocalyptic crisis: “The President is basing his decisions on some really bad information right now. And if you shut me out, your family, and my family, and twenty-five million other families will be dead in thirty minutes. My orders are to get the right information to the people who make the decisions.”)
A flawed or overdramatic presentation of the CIA is probably better for Langley than none at all, and over the years the Agency has supported a wide array of films. Even portrayals that caricature the Agency as an institution of ungoverned, amoral assassins aren’t necessarily so bad from a public relations standpoint: they’ll still have a thrilling, outlaw power to them. It’s not despite James Bond’s license to kill that we find him so alluring. The more critical (Syriana, The Good Shepherd) or fantastical (Alias, The Bourne Identity) films likely still help with Agency recruitment (if not internal morale). But Jenkins—an obvious, agenda-driven skeptic of the Agency—rests her whole argument on the simplistic premise that the CIA is flatly against inaccurate or uncharitable appearances in film. If that’s an Agency line, it certainly isn’t the whole picture.

By no fault of its own, Jenkins’s book suffers from a just-too-soon publication date. It doesn’t reach Zero Dark Thirty and the investigation into the screenwriter Mark Boal’s help from Langley. Jenkins also doesn’t have a chance to talk much about eventual Best Picture winner Argo, which centers on the Agency’s creation of a fake Hollywood production company (so convincing that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas submitted screenplays) in order to rescue six hostages from Tehran. Alas, there could hardly be two more fitting moments from which to launch a discussion of the coy romance between Hollywood and the Agency.

The book also declines to connect the Agency’s current entertainment industry efforts to its long history of cultural influence. (Just one example of this—and maybe an opportunity for some future inquiry—was the CIA role in generating early funding and prestige for the now-famous Iowa Writer’s Workshop.) And Jenkins only mentions in passing Langley’s relationship with USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies, where Industry professionals workshop threat scenarios and develop military and intelligence tools. So there are gaps in Jenkins’s coverage, and it misses an opportunity for a larger intellectual discussion about the proper role of a democratic government and its agencies, covert or overt, in the promotion of its foundational political ideas—but the book at least cracks the door on some undeniably cool topics.

III
When the CIA first reached out to Hollywood, it was facing questions about the fundamental utility of centralized intelligence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But after 9/11, the Agency was vaulted to a position of prominence and is unlikely to face such skepticism about its significance anytime soon. This has surely given Langley more latitude in the types of films it can support, in addition to inclining filmmakers to think harder, and more charitably, about what the Agency does and why.

With doubters banished and solid funding, the Agency would now likely prefer to return to its role as a good plumber—where nothing goes wrong, and no one pays attention. But the occasional real scandal or high-profile movie seems inevitable. Intelligence will continue to be fertile ground for high-stakes storytelling, especially while terrorism remains in the headlines. So the question remains how to make the best of an unwanted spotlight. The CIA has a place in Hollywood, whether it wants one or not.

(Julius Taranto, a Student Fellow of the Yale Law School Information Society Project, was a writer in Los Angeles before entering law school.) 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Revised: Silent Night, the New Negro National Anthem, no more Lift Every Voice and Sing


Silent Night

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace (2x)
Silent night, holy night!....
dreams of freedom in another life,
Deaf dumb blind this life
Like Hiram Biff in shallow grave
Looking for Jesus to save
rise up Lazarus
Jesus said
don't worry Mary
Martha don't moan
I got Lazarus in my arms
Silent night holy night
All is calm all is bright
Passive mild like virgin child
Homeless nameless
Lost and turned out
On way to grandmother’s house
Silent night holy night
All is calm all is bright
Get off yo knees crying blues
Wake up everybody to good news
You walk with Jesus
You walk in his shoes…
Silent night holy night
all is calm all is bright....
--Marvin X

8/21/17

black woman is god exhibit

bwig_blog_rd2
Co-curated by Karen Seneferu and Melorra Green The Black Woman is God: Divine Revolution is a group visual art exhibition with free admission celebrating the Black female presence as the highest spiritual form. More than 60 intergenerational artists working in sculpture, painting, new media, and photography create new myths to challenge Eurocentric notions of God.
Co-curators Seneferu and Green envision The Black Woman is God not only as an exhibition, but as a movement-building platform that explores the intersections of race and gender, dismantling racist and patriarchal notions that devalue Black women’s contributions to society. Now in its second iteration at SOMArts, The Black Woman is God: Divine Revolutionreveals Black women’s divinity and resilience despite intergenerational trauma and suppressed creativity.
Activated by live performances and a community cyper at the opening reception, The Black Woman is God asserts that subverting our notions of God is a spiritual and revolutionary act. As a statement by participating artists explains, “This exhibition is about Black women taking back their time, their rest, their dreams, and their creativity as a divine critical act, revealing how prayer and the convergences of women’s lives become transcendent through love.”
Opening with a public reception on Thursday, July 20, 6–10pmThe Black Woman is God will be activated by a performance procession of 100 Black women paying tribute to Black people who have worked tirelessly to heal the community through art, culture, and spirituality. The procession titled Opening the Way will include Black elders, youth, and girls who will walk from SOMArts’ parking lot to the gallery to honor their ancestors in an African libation before the performances begin.
The opening reception will also include performances by jazz musician Destiny Muhammad among many other legendary Bay Area performers.
Marissa Arterberry
Marissa Arterberry, “Kreation Funkstress,” Acrylic paint, oil pastel, and glitter on canvas, 2014.
Exhibiting artist Marissa Arterberry’s series of paintings titled The Funktresses is inspired by the aesthetics and soul of funk musicians — highlighting Black women’s influence on the musical genre.
A musician herself, Zakiya Harris’s video for the song Abracadabrakafrikareveals the community-building power of asserting the divinity of Black women.
Yasmin Sayyed
Yasmin Sayyed, “Complicated, lovely Sisters,” Acrylic on canvas. 2016.
Yasmin Sayyed’s painting Breath of Divinity connects to healing through an embrace of cosmologies of the African diaspora — reaching across generations to access ancestral traditions that have been erased by racist and colonial histories.
Fan Warren
Fan Lee Warren, “She Forgot Where She Comes From,” Acrylic on paper, 2017.
Fan Lee Warren’s multimedia painting also reaches through history, depicting archetypes of Black women artists, healers, and leaders to reveal the forgotten and erased histories of Black female divinity.
On Friday, August 25 & Saturday, August 26, from 8:00pm-midnight, Night Light: Multimedia & Performance Festival blankets SOMArts in luminous art installations, including audiovisual performances and performative interventions by over 25 artists, and digital and cinematic projections by over 20 artists. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, or $20 for guaranteed entry to both nights of the festival. Advance tickets are available online now at: http://nightlightparty2017.eventbrite.com.
Now in its seventh year, Night Light utilizes SOMArts’ entire post-industrial space and grounds, including the garden path, street-side loading bay, theater, Bay Gallery and Main Gallery.
This year Night Light responds to the themes of The Black Woman is Godby presenting visual art installations and performances by artists of many gender identities and cultural backgrounds that reclaims the African cultural narrative of God being a Black woman.
THE BLACK WOMAN IS GOD
EXHIBITING ARTISTS

2AM
Ajuan Mance
Audacious Iam
Alise Eastgate
Angela Hennessy
Anna W. Edwards
Ayana Ivery
April Martin Chartrand
April Luvly Martin
Arinthia Jones
Ain Bailey
Bushmama Africa
Cynthia Brannvall
Djenne Ba Dynna Batties
Dawn Rudd
Dalila Dynes
Elizabeth Summers
Erica Deeman
Francis Mead
Fan Lee Warren
Heru
Hilda Robinson
Idris Hassan
JaeMe Bereal
KaliMa Amilak
Karen Oyekanmi
Karen Seneferu
karin turner
Kathleen McDonald
Kiwii McLaurin
Kimberly Johnson
Kristina “Namastina” Williams
Kristine Mays
Ladi Rev
Lakiba Pittman
Latisha Baker
Lili Bernard
Lorraine Bonner
Marissa Arterberry
Mizan Alkebul-Abakah
Maya Wamukota
Marnika Shelton
Nzinga Hatch
Nicole Dixon
Nye’ Lyn Tho
Orlonda Uffre
Redwood Hill
Rosalind McGray
Rosalyn Parhams
Sage Stargate
Sasha Kelly
Shanna Strauss
Shylah Hamilton
Sonjhai Meggette
Taiwo & Kehinde
Tania L. Balan-Gaubert
Tarika Lewis
Toshia Christal
Val Kai
Virginia Jourdan
Valerie Brown-Troutt
Venus Morris
Vanessa Addison Williams
Wawi Amasha
Worldly Sistah–Tracy Brown
Yetunde Olagbaju
Yasmin Sayyed
Zakiya Harris
Zena Carlota
RELATED EVENTS
Exhibition
July 20–August 26, 2017

Gallery hours: Tuesday–Friday 12–7pm & Saturday 12–5pm
The exhibition is free to visit during gallery hours and during the opening reception. SOMArts Cultural Center is located at 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th Streets), San Francisco, CA, 94103. SOMArts is wheelchair/ADA accessible. More information on accessibility is available here.
Opening Reception
Thursday, July 20, 6pm–midnight

The opening night celebration kicks off with live music and participatory dance celebration in the Gallery. To learn more, visit www.somarts.org/theblackwomanisgodopening2017.
Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon
Saturday, July 22, 1–4pm

SOMArts, the California Digital Library and Art Practical present a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon in conjunction with The Black Woman is God to raise the online visibility of Black women artists and challenge the gaps in art history that erase or minimize Black women’s contributions as artists, activists and social change-makers. To learn more, visit www.somarts.org/theblackwomanisgodwikipedia.
Night Light: Multimedia & Performance Festival
Friday, August 25 & Saturday, August 26, 8:00pm–midnight

Luminous art installations, including audiovisual performances and performative interventions by over 25 artists, and digital and cinematic projections by over 20 artists. Tickets are $12 in advance online or $15 at the door, or $20 to attend both nights of the Festival. http://nightlightparty2017.eventbrite.com

Black Bird Press News & Review: Ghost writers and other ghosts in the BAMBD

Black Bird Press News & Review: Ghost writers and other ghosts in the BAMBD

Thursday, July 20, 2017

equity for oakland downtown plan

City of Oakland Banner

Dear Community Member,

The City of Oakland is excited to announce a relaunched and expanded process for developing a specific plan for downtown Oakland. The City began the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan process in fall of 2015 to create a vision and guiding policy to shape the downtown. The City then paused the process to hire a consulting team of local specialists in both social equity policy and community engagement to address the community’s concerns about racial disparities and displacement.
This Equity Team will supplement the work of the existing planning team by applying a social and racial equity lens to the process of developing a specific plan for downtown Oakland and deepening meaningful engagement of historically-underserved communities.
The expanded public process will include activities beginning this summer and continuing through the end of 2017, and will re-engage stakeholders and incorporate stakeholders from underrepresented communities. It has started with a series of activities targeted to leaders in communities of color and other communities whose voices are often not included in policy decisions.
Working Groups – Coming Soon!
The next phase is a series of working group meetings on four topic areas based on issues the community identified during the first phase of the specific plan process:
  • Housing, Affordability, Jobs, Training & Economic Opportunity Working Group
  • Arts & Culture Working Group
  • Streets, Connectivity & Built Environment Working Group
  • Sustainability, Health, Safety, Recreation & Open Space Working Group
Community members interested in one of these topics are invited to join a working group. The first round of working group meetings will focus on social equity, the second on technical analysis, and the final round on implementation and prioritization. We encourage participants to commit to attending all three meetings for their working group topic.
If you would like to join one of the four working groups that will be meeting over the next several months, RSVP to the first meeting of that working group here to receive more details.  The first round of meetings are the first week of August, from 5:30-8:00pm, at a downtown location near transit (specific location to be confirmed):
Social Equity Working Group Meetings
  • Monday, July 31:  Housing, Affordability, Jobs, Training & Economic Opportunity
  • Tuesday, August 1:  Arts & Culture
  • Wednesday, August 2:  Streets, Connectivity & Built Environment
  • Thursday, August 3:  Sustainability, Health, Safety, Recreation & Open Space
Other Opportunities
If these more intensive working groups are not for you, there will be other opportunities to participate in the planning process. There will be a series of neighborhood design meetings in October and public workshops in late 2017/early 2018 to help develop the draft plan. Stay tuned for more information!
More InformationThe new EQTDTO (Equity in Downtown Oakland) outreach website for the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan is now live! Be sure to check it for more updates: https://www.eqtdto.com/
For plan documents and more information about the Downtown Oakland Specific Plan, please visit the following link: http://www.oaklandnet.com/plandowntownoakland


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belated hapi b day assata


TOMORROW:  ON SUNDAY, JULY 16, 2017 @ 4:30 pm IN NEWARK, NEW JERSEY... 
IS THE 70th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION FOR ASSATA SHAKUR

THE NEW JERSEY BLACK PANTHER PARTY COMMEMORATION COMMITTEE
“To move a blade of grass is to change the world…”
Huey P. Newton
 
July  2017
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE!
 
EXILED PANTHER ASSATA SHAKUR WILL BE FETED AT 70!
 
            On Sunday, July 16th, a cross section of activists, artists and humanitarians will come together to salute Assata Shakur, the long exiled Black Panther who resides in Cuba to mark her 70th birthday.
          The gathering is called ‘For The Love Of Freedom: Assata Is Always Welcome Here-An Honoring of 70 Years of a Committed Life.
          It will not be the usual maligning of Shakur in connection with the bounty on her head that comes from the NJ State Police, the FBI and the law enforcement community.
          Instead, it will be an evening of poetry, dance, song, testimony and more, appreciating the activist’s lifetime commitment to the struggle for human dignity.
          Shakur was born on July 16th, 1947 to a proud, independent Black family from Wilmington, North Carolina. At the turn of the 20th century, Wilmington was the site of a vicious ethnic cleansing attack that literally ran legions of African Americans from the town. Shakur’s grandparents dared to be landowning business persons against this violently segregated background. It is from this background that would emerge her own commitment and courage that she would take into the Black Panther Party as a college student.
          When the Black Panther Party was faced with the dangerous distinction of  being labelled the ‘greatest threat to the internal security’ of the country by the FBI, and when NY chapters of the Party came under particular attack after surviving the NY 21 case, a case where 21 Panthers, officers and rank and file members were put on trial for bogus conspiracy charges to commit terrorist acts, charges that would have landed them in prison for the rest of their lives, Shakur  and a number of other Panthers opted to go underground and create the Black Liberation Army to continue their fight.
          On May 2, 1973, Shakur was shot and critically injured in an incident on the NJ Turnpike that would capture international attention. It is often referred to as the ‘Turnpike Incident,’ an apparent racial profiling stop by a NJ State Trooper. The incident left Shakur critically wounded, Zayd Shakur, the apparent driver dead and Trooper Werner Foerster dead.  At her trial, forensic evidence clearly established that Shakur was shot with her hands up, and that the Trooper who made the stop, James Harper, by his own admission, started the shooting and fled the scene. Yet Shakur and her co-defendant Sundiata Acoli, now 80 and still incarcerated, were each given sentences of life plus thirty years, after being convicted for the murder of Trooper Foerster. On November 2, 1979, Shakur was liberated from what was then the Clinton Correctional Facility in one of the most incredible moments in the history of the Black Liberation Movement after enduring threats on her life while in prison. She was since given exile in Cuba. She currently has a 2 million dollar bounty for her capture and was put on the FBI’s Domestic Terrorist List retroactively several years ago.
          Meanwhile, supporters of Shakur, and many others in the human rights community believe that cases like hers should be reopened in a context of a Truth And Reconciliation Commission that takes on how racism drove police violence and repression during that period, a framework comparable to what emerged in South Africa on their road to dismantling Apartheid.
          In 1987, Shakur penned a moving memoir of her life story, Assata:An Autobiography. She has lent her voice to other humanitarian efforts and to the support many other of her comrades from the Black Panther Party who are still in prison as a result of the now well-known COINTELPRO Operations that were empanelled to destroy the Party and other important Black leaders. She is the subject of a moving film Eyes Of The Rainbow done by critically acclaimed filmmaker Afro-Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando Ocasio. While murderously maligned by mainstream press and racist and opportunist politicians, she is considered a miraculous surviving link to the Underground Railroad legacy of her ancestors.
          “Assata was not even an officer or a leader in the Party, and yet there was this obsession with going after her, or rather with going after rank and file members of the Party, as intensely as they were going after its leadership.
          “What happened to her is a prime example of the length that the government was willing to go to destroy the Party,” said Zayid Muhammad, a longtime supporter of Shakur and a principal organizer of the gathering.
          “The fact that she survived her incredible ordeal and was able to secure some semblance of freedom, albeit exiled, is a testimony to the spiritual will of our people to survive the worse expressions of oppression and to be free,” he finished
          Just as this moving gathering will feature poetry, song, dance, testimony from Shakur’s comrades, as indicated above, it will also lay out meaningful support measures to be taken in support of her Party comrades still in prison, appreciation of the Cuban Revolution and its incredible solidarity with the African world and the oppressed, and more.
          This moving afternoon will take place at The REFAL Center, 271 So 9th Street, Newark at 4:30pm…

"Hands Off Assata Shakur, Free Sundiata Acoli & Long Live The Panther Spirit Of Zayid Malik Shakur"
  
* Above: Read Assata's Book & Support The Revolutionary Art Of Captured Comrade Kevin Rashid Johnson