[sixties-l] Fwd: Benefit for Assata Shakur

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 09/28/00

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    >From: bce2 <bce2@midway.uchicago.edu > > Wednesday, October 4th >at the Funky Buddha Lounge 728 West Grand (312.666.1695) > > Doors open at 7:30pm >Admission: Ten Dollars (to benefit the Hands Off Assata Campaign, more info >below) > > Live performances by David Boykin's Expanse, Ugochi & Madrid with resident >DJ Anthony Nicholson > > The video "Eyes of the Rainbow" will be shown from 8pm to 9pm > ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: > > "Eyes of the Rainbow" (Video, color, 47 min, 1997 Director: Gloria Rolando) > deals with the life of Assata Shakur, the Black Panther and Black > Liberation Army leader who escaped from prison and was given political > asylum in Cuba, where she has lived for close to 15 years. In it we visit > with Assata in Havana and she tells us about her history and her life in > Cuba. This film is also about Assata's AfroCuban context, including the > Yoruba Orisha Oya, goddess of the ancestors, of war, of the cemetery and of > the rainbow. > > In the struggle of the African American people, many women's voices in the > past and the present have always called for social justice, women who > throughout the years have shown integrity and firmness in their principles. > For this reason, "The Eyes of the Rainbow" is dedicated to all women who > struggle for a better world. > > More information about Assata Shakur can be found on the web: > <http://afrocubaweb.com/assata.htm> > ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: > > Forced Exposure wrote the following about David Boykin: "walks the path of > musicians like John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders and Sun Ra. 'Evidence of Life > on Other Planets' is a refreshing look into tradition and experimentation, > combining the laid back feeling of 70's spirituality and the intensity and > freshness of today's experience. David Boykin is the next step in a > tradition of jazz set forth by the AACM, as well as labels like ESP and > Actuel." > ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: > > What Is The Hands Off Assata Campaign? > > The Hands Off Assata Campaign is a coming together of organizations and > individuals who are outraged by the heightened attempts by the Congress of > the United States and the State of New Jersey to illegally force a return > of Assata Shakur from Cuba to the United States. > > We believe that Assata Shakur is a bona fide political exile living in the > island nation of Cuba. She was persecuted for her political beliefs and > tortured while in prison. We support the international human rights and > Geneva conventions, which enabled her to seek and secure political asylum > in Cuba, and we support the right of the Cuban people to grant it to her. > We are shocked by the actions of New Jersey's Governor Christine > Todd-Whitman, who has issued a $100,000 bounty/reward on head of Assata > Shakur. Doing such a thing is tantamount to a call to "soldiers of fortune" > to kidnap and kill Ms. Shakur and for them to engage in international > espionage against the sovereign nation of Cuba. We are shocked by the > activities of the United States House of Representatives, which in > September 1998 passed House Resolution 254, calling on the Cuban Government > to extradite Assata Shakur. Given that there is no binding extradition > treaty between Cuba and the United States, such a request is outside the > context of international law. In addition, we call on the Congress of the > United States to hold public hearings on the past and current impact of > FBI's Counter Intelligence Program known as COINTELPRO. Given that Assata > Shakur was not the only one politically persecuted for her political > beliefs, we demand that a full airing take place on that program. And > finally are calling on the United States end its hostility towards the tiny > nation of Cuba by normalizing relations with the Island and ending the US > economic blockade > > Assata Shakur: Radical, Woman, Exile, Mother > > ASSATA SHAKUR is an African-American woman. She is a social justice > activist, a poet, a mother and a grandmother. She has lived in Cuba since > the early 1980s. During the heady days of the 1960s and 1970s, she found > herself a victim of both racial profiling and political targeting. After > being spotted on the New Jersey turnpike on May 2, 1973, because she is > black, it was discovered that she and her two companions were known members > of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. Like Martin > Luther King, Jr. Malcolm X, Leonard Peltier and many members of the Civil > Rights and American Indian Movements, Assata and her companions had been > watched, their phones tapped, their families monitored, their organizations > infiltrated, and widespread disinformation campaigns waged against them. > They were like many activists of the day --targets of the FBI's Counter > Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO). In fact, Assata was wanted, not for > anything she had actually done, but for a variety of crimes that government > and state officials were trying to pin on her. This was common in the > 1970s: discredit the voice of activists by painting them as criminals, > trumping up indictments, tying them up in courts and if possible jailing > them. In the mid 1970s, The Church Committee of the Senate Select Committee > to Study Government Operations and the Domestic Intelligence Subcommittee, > headed by Senator Walter Mondale, provided incontrovertible documentation > of a government sponsored conspiracy against the civil and human rights of > all sorts of political activists. > > THUS ON THAT DAY IN MAY, Assata was a marked woman. And after police > stopped them, a shoot out occurred. When the smoke cleared one police > officer, and one of Assata's companions, Zayd Shakur lay dead. Assata, shot > in the back and dragged from the car, lay wounded. Only belatedly taken to > the hospital, Assata was then chained to her bed, tortured and questioned > while injured. In fact, she never received adequate medical attention even > though she had a broken clavicle and a paralyzed arm. Nonetheless, she was > quickly jailed, prosecuted and incarcerated over the next few years for the > series of trumped up cases. Interestingly, in five separate trials, and > with largely white juries, charges were dismissed because of lack of > evidence or she was acquitted of all charges ranging from bank robbery to > murder. As the manager of one bank said at trial - she is just not the one > who robbed my bank. Only in the final trial in 1977, where she was charged > with the Turnpike killings, was she found guilty. This even though forensic > evidence taken that day showed that she had not fired a weapon. She was > sentenced to life + 33 years in prison. In 1979, and after nearly six years > behind bars, she escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in > New Jersey and some time later emerged in Cuba where she applied for and > received political asylum. Since being in Cuba, she has continued her > college education, published an autobiography, and writes on global issues > facing women, youth, and people of color. > > DURING THE 1990S, rightist politicians and police bodies - this time in > conjunction with conservative members of the Cuban-American community - > reinvigorated their attempts to pursue Assata Shakur. They did this even > though Assata has not tried to re-enter the United States and is, according > to international law, a political exile who should be left alone. Linking > "fear of crime" rhetoric with anti-Cuban sentiment, New Jersey governor > Christine Todd-Whitman issued a bounty which is now up to $100,000, on the > head of Assata Shakur. She even went as far as to announce her bounty on > Radio Marti, the US government radio station which beams anti-Castro > propaganda into the Caribbean. To do such a thing put Assata in danger > because it is tantamount to encouraging any opportunists to kidnap and/or > kill her for pay. In addition, in 1998, Congressmen Franks and Menendez > from New Jersey and Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart of Florida introduced and > got passed - House Resolution 254 - which calls for the Cuban government to > extradite Assata Shakur as a condition to normalizing US-Cuba relations. > Interestingly, while Assata and Cuba are portrayed as "criminal", a > terrorist bombing campaign - thought to be sponsored by ultra-rightist > forces in the United States - has been launched against Cuba, killing and > injuring Cuban citizens and foreign tourists alike. > > Steering Committee (in formation): Adjoa Aiyetoro, Baye Adofo, Vera Beaty, > Lisa Brock, Kedar Coleman, Otis Cunningham, Beryl Fitzpatrick, Cheryl > Harris, Robin Hayes, Rosemari Mealy, Kamaria Ngozi, Ahmed Obefemi, Barbara > Ransby, Walter Turner, Gail Walker > > Endorsers (in formation): Black Radical Congress, Global Exchange, Jericho, > Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, National Conference of Black Lawyers, > IfCO/Pastors for Peace, Venceremos Brigade, Women's International League > for Peace and Freedom

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