>FORWARDED ARTICLE: PART I
>From: luisa brehm <email@example.com>
>Date: Mon, 01 Jul 2002 14:53:30 +0100
>From: WW <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Via Workers World News Service
> Reprinted from the July 4, 2002
> issue of Workers World newspaper
> STATE REPRESSION AND THE BLACK STRUGGLE:
> WW INTERVIEWS SAFIYA BUKHARI
> By Imani Henry
> In 1966, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale created the Black
> Panther Party for Self Defense in their hometown of Oakland,
> Calif., to wage a struggle against police brutality in their
> community. By 1968, the Panthers had chapters in more than
> 20 cities, about 5,000 members on the books and thousands of
> In 1969 the U.S. government opened a full-scale assault
> against the Black Panthers through the Counter Intelligence
> Program--COINTELPRO. By 1971, due to infiltration, frame-
> ups, dissemination of false information, and outright
> violence against the BPP, the organization had begun to
> To this day, former members of the Black Panther Party,
> including Mumia Abu-Jamal, remain in U.S. jails for their
> political activism.
> I had the honor of interviewing Safiya Bukhari, a former
> Black Panther and Black Liberation Army leader who spent
> close to nine years in prison. Now the co-chair of the New
> York City Free Mumia Coalition and an international
> organizer of the Jericho Movement, she continues to struggle
> to free hundreds of political prisoners of war and to fight
> for the liberation of her people. The following excerpts are
> the first installment of the interview with this courageous
> freedom fighter.
> IH: I wanted to ask you about your childhood and what
> influenced you and brought you into the political struggle?
> SB: I was born in 1950 in Harlem Hospital. When I was 9
> years old my grandfather took me to South Carolina. So I had
> a lot of experience in the South on the farm, but we moved
> back and forth from the South to New York several times. And
> the whole community where I grew up in the South and even in
> the North were relatives, so I never had the experience of
> racism, because I never came in contact with people of other
> races until I went to college.
> I left home the summer of '67 and went to college. And it
> was the second year of college, in 1968, that the Black
> Power Movement was really going strong and everybody was
> changing their names and getting involved. But I was very
> one-track and I was going to be a doctor. So I never had
> time for the clubs at school.
> But on a dare, I pledged a sorority and it was then that I
> learned about racism--because it was the first year that
> Black people were even allowed in that sorority and so we
> elected a Black president.
> One of the things we were talking about at a sorority
>meeting was about foster care and sending monies to foreign
> countries to feed hungry children.
> And the president that year (her name was Beatrice) said at
> the meeting, "Why should be sending monies somewhere else to
> feed hungry children when there are hungry children right
> here to be fed in New York."
> And nobody believed her. This was the "land of plenty."
> Because there was no such thing as starving children in the
> United States, right?
> So we were sent out, myself and two other women, on a fact-
> finding mission in New York to determine whether there were
> hungry children that needed to be fed.
> So we got on the train and went to Harlem. The first people
> we met coming off the train were some Panthers.
> We told them what we were there for and they took us around
> and showed us the breakfast program, and things like that.
> The rhetoric they were talking about and everything else
> that at the time, I didn't believe it, I didn't adhere to
> that, but I did get up in the morning and go to the
> breakfast program and cook and feed the kids. And then we
> noticed that the children weren't coming to the breakfast
> program, even though we were doing everything we were
> supposed to do. We found that the police were lying and
> telling the kids and parents that we were feeding the kids
> "poison food." Now, we were eating the same food right along
> side the kids, but the parents believed this--that is, the
> idea that the police wouldn't help but they would try to
> keep kids from getting fed.
> That to me ... you know, why would you do this? It was
> inconceivable. That was the first thing that got me
> The second things was, my sorority sister Wanda and myself
> were downtown on 42nd Street, and we noticed that there was
> a Panther selling papers and the police were harassing him.
> So we asked what was going on and the police said to me that
> my asking the question was obstructing a governmental
> process and then I said that he had a constitutional to
> right to disseminate political literature.
> The cop said I was inciting a riot and said that if I didn't
> shut up that he was going to arrest the both of us. So quite
> naturally I didn't shut up because we had rights. So he
> ended up arresting me, Wanda, and the Panther, putting us in
> handcuffs and throwing us in the back of the car.
> By this time, I've shut up because I am still thinking, this
> is totally not right, and then Wanda was mouthing off,
> selling woof tickets and everything.
> This was the very first arrest and I am being arrested for
> following the Constitution. And they told Wanda if she
> didn't shut up they were gonna ram a nightstick up her
> And she quite naturally didn't stop. Once we got to the 14th
> Precinct, they put us in cell and called for a matron to
> strip-search us. Because according to them we could be
> carrying anything. When the matron came, the cops told her
> that she should put on some gloves because there is no
> telling what we might have. Then they strip us. We went
> through that whole process and then they gave us that one
> phone call.
> When I called home I told my mother that I had made a
> decision about what I wanted to do and I decided that was to
> join the Black Panther Party.
> [Next week--Part 2]
> - END -
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