Assata Shakur in Cuba Where She Was Granted Political Asylum From US Imperialism
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire Photo File.
Time Frame: 1 Month
Plan of Action:
Distribute Hands Off Assata (HOA) material and hold public activities that highlight the political work of Assata Shakur and the harassement and aggression that activists like her endure.
Purpose of Action:
Raise public awareness and encourage community action to address the continued struggle against racism, economic oppression, police brutality and political manipulation in the united states.
What is HOA?
The Hands Off Assata Campaign is a coming together of organizations and individuals who are outraged by the heightened attempts by the federal government, congress of the united states and the state of new jersey to illegally force thru kidnapping a return of Assata Shakur from Cuba to the plantation United States.
We know 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 and the department of justice, who has issued a $1 million dollar bounty 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: Sister, Woman, Exile, Mother, Grand mother
ASSATA SHAKUR is an African 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, (DWB) driving while 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 majority 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 was $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.
What can you do?
Write and/or Call NJ State Police Superintendent, NJ State Attorney General, and your local congressperson to:
End the one million dollar bounty placed on her
Remove Assata Shakur’s name off the terrorist watch list
Repeal House Resolution #254
Support congressional hearings on COINTELPRO
Rick Fuentes – NJ State Police Superintendent
P.O. Box 7068
West Trenton, NJ 08628
Stuart Rabner - State Attorney General
P.O. Box 080
Trenton, NJ 08625-0080
You can use a Congressional email service to look up your rep's email: http://www.congress.org/
Organize around The Hands Off Assata Shakur Campaign in your respective cities:
Download, print, and pass “Hands Off Assata Shakur” Flyers (flyers below)
The Real Facts: http://www.assatashakur.org/docs/flyer_assata2.pdf
Hands Off Assata: http://www.assatashakur.org/docs/the_facts_2005.pdf
Plan a showing of the film Eyes of the Rainbow (1996). This film portrays the life and current struggles of Assata Shakur. Contact HOA for this: firstname.lastname@example.org
Organize a Hands Off Assata Shakur Campaign Rally and/or Teach-In
Host a smaller event or fundraising party in tandem with the main city events. Contact HOA to host: (866) 244-4708 or email@example.com
Learn more about Assata Shakur by visiting the largest Assata Shakur website on the Internet: http://www.AssataShakur.org
Donate to the Hands Off Assata Efforts:
Donate to The Talking Drum Collective
Make online donations at: http://www.ftpmovement.com/donate.html or
The Talking Drum Collective
P.O. Box 1921
Stone Mountain, Ga. 30086
Donate to the Happy Birthday Campaign
Your continuous support is vital to our Campaign organizing. Tax-deductible contributions can be made to the Hands Off Assata Campaign; please make checks payable to our fiscal agent: Illinois Justice Foundation
And mail to:
1573 N. Milwaukee Ave., PMB #404
Chicago, IL 60622
Further expose the HOA Campaign by linking our HOA banners
Add your organization's name to our list of endorsers/Take petitions:
Contact us so that we can add your organization's name to our list of endorsers. firstname.lastname@example.org
Demand an end to the blockade against Cuba.
Acknowledge and release all US political prisoners.
This Campaign is a on going process, be patient with us as we Agitate, Educate, Organize And Mobilize.. more information coming...
Take the Poll
IF YOU ARE IN NEW YORK, JOIN US FOR - Assata Shakur's 60th Birthday Launch!
Join the Hands Off Assata Campaign, co-hosts Susan Taylor and Mos Def, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and many other supporters in an international mobilization to call on the state of New Jersey and the US Department of Justice to rescind the illegitimate $1 million bounty to capture Assata Shakur, remove her name from the domestic terrorist list, and ultimately issue Ms. Shakur a rightful, long overdue pardon.
Thursday, November 2nd, 2006
SEIU 1199 Hall
310 West 43rd Street (between 8th and 9th Aves.)
New York, NY
• Co-Hosts Susan Taylor and Mos Def
• Gloria Rolando's "Eyes of the Rainbow" about Assata's life in Cuba
• Assata Skakur's Birthday Card
Sign the card, receive a hand made Hands Off Assata bracelet, and contribute to a larger liberation movement for Assata Shakur...for Cuba...for us all.
For more information:
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Supporters (in formation):
Charles Mingus, III
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
National Boricua Human Rights Network
The Millions More Movement Harlem Local Organizing Committee
ProLibertad Freedom Campaign
Popular Education Project to Free the Cuban 5
Michaela Angela Davis
Sistas on the Rise
The Yoruba Society of Brooklyn, Corp.
Ile Ase, Inc.
Omo Obatala Egbe, Inc.
Safiyah Nuh Foundation
Reverend Herbert Daughtry
Medgar Evers College Center for Law and Social Justice
City Councilman Charles Barron
National Center for Human Rights Education
Affinity Community Services
National Conference of Black Lawyers
Campaign to End the Death Penalty
Black Radical Congress
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
Chicago Abortion Fund
Prisoner's Justice Action Committee, (Toronto, Canada)
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees
Leslie Cagan, United for Peace and Justice
Evelyn C. White
National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
The Talking Drum Collective
"Now is the time for us to come together with one another, to organize, to speak out and speak up on behalf of each other. There is no time to waste, while we debate, define, and discuss; the enemy continues his genocidal plan. We need to bear in mind the Ashanti proverb: 'Two men in a burning house must not stop to argue.' " - Dr. Mutulu Shakur
Assata Shakur Forum - http://www.assatashakur.org/forum
FTP Movement - http://www.FTPmovement.com