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URGENT Week of Action for Dr. Mutulu Shakur

Join the URGENT WEEK OF ACTION February 21st-28th!

Day 1: Friday, February 21st

* Send cards and letters of love, support and healing energy to Mutulu! Given his medical situation, Mutulu may not be able to respond, but he appreciates mail. Send printed articles and/or tell him what you are doing in your community. Show the Bureau of Prisons a flood of support for him, so they know people are watching!

Dr. Mutulu Shakur #83205-012
FMC Lexington
P.O. Box 14500
Lexington, KY 40412


Day 2: Monday, February 24th

* Post your strong support for compassionate release for Dr. Shakur on social media! Use hashtags #MutuluisWelcomeHere, #FreeDrShakur, #StraightAhead and tag us on:

Twitter – @freedrmshakur

Instagram – @freedrmshakur

Facebook – Join the ‘FreeMutuluShakur’ group, create a post, & share it on your timeline


Day 3: Tuesday, February 25th

* Urge your member of Congress to sign a letter supporting Dr. Shakur’s compassionate release for humanitarian reasons. For routing to your Representative, go to Most Members of Congress provide email contact information on their websites. For telephone contact information, call the U.S. Capitol switchboard, (202) 224-3121. Please use the cover letter, compassionate release support request flyer, and sample letter below to ask them for a letter of support to send to Dr. Shakur’s attorney:

Brad Thomson, Attorney
People’s Law Office
1180 N. Milwaukee
Chicago, IL 60642

Cover Letter for Requests to Support Compassionate Release
The Compassionate Release Support Request
Sample Letter to Edit in Writer’s Own Words 


Day 4: Wednesday, February 26th

* Sign and share the petition for compassionate release for Mutulu!


Day 5: Thursday, February 27th

* Donate whatever amount you can for family visits, medical records analyses and experts, legal visits.

Please send financial donations to Family and Friends of Dr. Mutulu Shakur on Paypal.




First Amendment Activist Hospitalized After Brutal Arrest

An activist known as Blind Justice was arrested after trying to film a state facility to check compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The encounter illustrates the risks citizens are willing to take to hold the government accountable.

Source: First Amendment Activist Hospitalized After Brutal Arrest

Diane Nash was fearless in battle to desegregate lunch counters, buses

Image result for diane nash photo

One of the most revered and fearsome activists of the civil rights movement was less than halfway through college when she made it clear she would take the American South by storm.

Diane Nash was barely 21 years old when she first joined the movement.

A Chicago native, she was born into a middle-class Catholic family, according to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee digital gateway. She began her college education at Howard University in Washington, D.C., before transferring in 1959 to Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn.

Nash said that was when she first saw the ugly underbelly of the South: segregation, according to SNCC. She hadn’t fully understood it until that point.“I started feeling very confined and really resented it,” she said. “Every time I obeyed a segregation rule, I felt like I was somehow agreeing I was too inferior to go through the front door or to use the facility that the ordinary public would use.”

The Fisk student sought a way to combat segregation, which led her to the doorstep of the nearby church where Rev. James Lawson taught nonviolent, non-retaliatory protest methods. Lawson had been cultivating a group of activists that included James Bevel, John Lewis and Bernard Lafayette. Nash became a believer.

Lafayette, now a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, was a 20-year-old student at American Baptist Theological Seminary when he met Nash. He said she quickly emerged as a leader and became the media spokesperson of Lawson’s group.


“She was always very calm, clear and articulate,” Lafayette said, adding that Nash cleverly navigated around the egos of the male-dominated group. “She didn’t try to dominate anything. But she really impressed us with her leadership abilities. One of the things that she was very good at was managing conflict within the group.”

Starting in 1960, Nash took on the fight of desegregating lunch counters in Nashville.

In a statement, Nash said she “helped lead nearly 4,000 people on a march to Nashville’s City Hall to confront the mayor about the escalating violence against protesters.”

“During that confrontation, Nash provocatively asked the mayor on the steps of City Hall, ‘Do you feel it is wrong to discriminate against a person solely on the basis of their race or color?’”

He answered that he did.

Within weeks, Nashville became the first southern city to desegregate lunch counters, according to Nash’s statement.

Along with Ruby Doris Smith, Charles Sherrod and Charles Jones, she founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960 and continued her work desegregating Southern lunch counters.

In February 1961, the small group sat at a counter in Rock Hill, S.C., to support nine students who had been arrested.


Diane Nash, a leader in the Nashville group which sent “Freedom Riders” to Alabama in 1960. Nash was coordinator of the central committee of the Nashville Student Non-Violence Movement. Photo made April 10, 1960. (AP Wirephoto)
Photo: AP

Nash and SNCC, like the “Rock Hill Nine,” refused bail when they were arrested.

“The SNCC activists believed that paying fines would only support the wrongness and injustice of their arrests,” the organization’s digital gateway said.

The intensity of Nash’s work increased when she became involved in the “Freedom Rides.”

The United States Supreme Court had ruled segregation of interstate travel violated the Interstate Commerce Act.

But the ruling was largely ignored.

Tom Gaither, then leader of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), proposed testing compliance with the court decision by organizing African Americans to ride a Greyhound bus from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans.

But the ruling was largely ignored.

Tom Gaither, then leader of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), proposed testing compliance with the court decision by organizing African Americans to ride a Greyhound bus from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans.

The bus carrying the “Freedom Riders” did not make it to New Orleans. On May 14, three days before they were due to reach their final destination, the Freedom Riders were met by a mob of Klansmen in Anniston, Ala.

The KKK firebombed the bus and slashed its tires. Klansmen held the doors closed to keep the Freedom Riders inside while the bus burned. But they escaped through an open back window just before the bus exploded.

The world was watching, and Nash and other activists decided the rides had to go on.

“The [Nashville] students have decided that we can’t let violence overcome,” Nash said. “We are coming into Birmingham to continue the freedom ride.”

Nash said she and 10 other students wrote their wills the night before they boarded a bus headed to Birmingham.

“It was clear to me that, if we allowed the Freedom Ride to stop at that point, just after so much violence had been inflicted, the message would have been sent that all you have to do to stop a nonviolent campaign is inflict massive violence,” Nash said in the 2010 documentary “Freedom Riders.”

The violence against Freedom Riders would continue, and Nash and hundreds of others would be arrested before “white” and “colored” signs were finally removed from bus and train terminals.

After the Freedom Rides, Nash dropped out of school to become a full-time organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, headed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. She and Bevel, then her husband, were both awarded the Rosa Parks Award from King in 1965




Truth & Reconciliation Project: Dr. Mutulu Shakur
We are raising funds for the production of a documentary on the life of Dr. Mutulu Shakur. 
Please Click Below To See The Video, Donate & Then Share Widely To Help Bring Mutulu Home


Peace and blessings to you all,
My attribute is Talib ‘Tyrone’ Shakur. I am the executive director of “Truth & Reconciliation: Dr. Mutulu Shakur”.
I was born and raised in South Jamaica, Queens. All my life I was told that someone else was my father. A man I had never seen nor heard his voice before. As a kid, I was constantly told I looked like a man named Jeral. Fast forward to 2015, more than 40 years later, I was riding the train in 2015 when a man wearing an African garment looked to be in his late 60s or early 70s approached me and asked, “excuse me young man, are you Dr. Mutulu Shakur’s son?” I told the man “no, I don’t know the man I’m sorry.”
After that encounter, I finally decided to ask my mother who my father is. When I asked my mother she hesitated then said, “yes son, that is your father, Jeral, now known as Dr. Mutulu Shakur. I’m sorry for keeping it from you all these years.”
Jeral was my father’s slave name before he legally changed it to Dr. Mutulu Shakur. Immediately, I typed his name in Google in order to find the address of the prison he was being held in. I wrote to him right away. A week later I got a letter in the mail from Dr. Mutulu. In the letter he said, “I finally found my son, here are your family names, addresses and phone numbers.” First on the list was Afeni Shakur, Set Shakur, Mopreme Shakur and the list kept going. Those moments of initial contact and greetings with my father are etched into my heart and soul.
Now, I have the opportunity to visit and speak with him frequently. I tell him that I’m going to do my best to show the world the real you, the passionate you, the healer, educator, mentor, the family man, community leader and so much more.
To you, my beloved readers, I share with you my story knowing that you all have many stories with my father as well that help to shape not only his legacy, but the Shakur legacy. To find out more about being featured in this documentary contact Talib Shakur. I ask that you join us to raise the funds so we can make this documentary a global success and finally bring Dr. Mutulu Shakur home!
For questions, comments or to inquire about being featured in the documentary leave a voice message or text your name, contact number and your reason for reaching out to the contact info below.
Contact Talib Shakur
call or text 516.425.0267

What We Need & What You Get

We are undertaking the project of producing an Expository and Participatory Documentary for Dr. Mutulu Shakur’s biography and achievements. However, creating a documentary of this fashion is finance sapping. We are faced with several financial challenges to meet all the requirements for this project.
Our goal is to raise $45,000.00 in 60 days. We need all hands on deck! Our primary goal is to ensure that a factual, well-articulated and compiled documentary is created for the sake of Dr. Mutulu Shakur’s life and freedom. The funds raised will go directly to providing all the required equipment and human resources to complete our project.

The Impact

This documentary aims to push forward the ongoing work of others who support the release of Dr. Mutulu Shakur from federal prison. We are striving to reach new networks of people locally and internationally, people who actively push for change, progress and are aware of our political climate and are taking a stand to see change in our criminal justice system. We present to you the unparalleled impact and positive work of Dr. Shakur as an acupuncturist, political prisoner and human rights activist, who has fought for the betterment of African American people and communities across the country.
For our documentary, the following will be done:
1.     Gathering of facts (pictures, videos, interviews, testimonies, and stories) about Dr. Shakur
2.     Crystallizing all the information gathered to enhance precision
3.     Creating an informative and educative documentary about Dr. Shakur’s biography and achievements
4.     Promoting this documentary on several TV channels in the USA
5.     Sharing this documentary on social media platforms for global awareness
6.     Creating a YouTube Channel where the documentary will be posted for public viewing
7.      Creating an international impact

Risks & Challenges

We are on a strict deadline to complete this project before February 21st, as you can imagine we feel like we are fighting against time, especially since we are raising funds from the ground up.  As Doc would say, “take no easy victories, the victory must be earned and the task understood.”  We set the deadline for February 21st because he has a parole hearing soon after that and we would like to launch our film before his parole hearing. Our challenge is to raise the funds, complete the documentary and publish it to bring awareness and an uproar for action.

Other Ways You Can Help

We are asking folks to get the word out and make some noise about our documentary. Use the INDIEGOGO share tools to help us spread the word!
*This Truth and Reconciliation project is officially approved by Dr. Mutulu Shakur


Appeals court denies Sundiata Acoli’s latest bid for parole


A man convicted in the 1973 killing of a New Jersey State Police trooper should not receive parole anytime soon, an appellate panel has concluded.

Sundiata Acoli, now 82, was convicted along with Joanne Chesimard in the shooting death of Trooper Werner Foerster and wounding of Trooper James Harper during a traffic stop on the New Jersey Turnpike in East Brunswick.

A three-judge appellate panel affirmed the state parole board’s denial of Acoli’s latest bid for parole, with one judge dissenting.

Formerly known as Clark Edward Squire, Acoli was sentenced in 1974 to life plus 24 to 30 years in prison for his crimes. Chesimard escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba. She remains on the FBI’s most wanted list.

Acoli was denied parole in 1994 and 2004, with the parole board citing “continued anti-social behavior” and continued denial of the evidence presented at his trial.

After a two-member parole board panel denied him again in 2010, Acoli appealed and the state appellate court ruled in 2014 that he was wrongly denied parole and ordered his release.

The state attorney general and parole board appealed that ruling to the state Supreme Court, which reversed the lower court ruling in 2016 and ordered that he receive a hearing before the full parole board.

While Acoli previously stated that he blacked out during the confrontation with the troopers because of a graze wound from a bullet and didn’t remember how Foerster died, he speculated during this new hearing that another trooper “probably” shot Foerster with a “friendly fire shot.”

Acoli and Chesimard were members of the Black Panthers and the militant Black Liberation Army at the time of the shooting.

Trooper James Harper stopped their car for a broken tail light just after midnight on May 2, 1973. Harper called Foerster for backup and Foerster discovered Acoli had a gun, according to previous reports.

During a gun battle, Chesimard shot and wounded Harper and Foerster was shot when Acoli’s gun fired during a struggle between the men. The prosecution argued that Chesimard then took Foerster’s gun and shot him twice in the head. The defense argued that Chesimard was too badly injured from her own gunshot wounds to have killed Foerster.

A third man in the car with Acoli and Chesimard, James Costan, was shot and killed at the scene.

In seeking parole, Acoli claimed he led a crime-free life for about 40 years and took “full responsibility” for Foerster’s death. The parole board didn’t buy it, though, calling it “disturbing” that he would raise the friendly fire theory — which is not supported by ballistic evidence — while also claiming he took responsibility for the crime.

The parole board found there remained a “substantial likelihood” he would commit new crimes if released from prison. His bid for parole was denied and a 15-year period of parole ineligibility was set.

In reviewing his appeal of that decision, the appellate court ruled Friday that the parole board’s decision was reasonable and supported by “substantial credible evidence.”

Appellate Judge Garry S. Rothstadt, disagreed with his colleagues’ decision. In a dissenting option, Rothstadt said Acoli had been a model prisoner for decades and that the parole denial included no evidence that he was likely to commit new crimes if released.

He said Acoli’s new speculation about how Foerster was shot doesn’t change the fact that he has expressed remorse for his part in the crime.

Acoli, one of the state’s oldest and longest-serving inmates, is currently housed at a federal prison in Maryland.



Again this year as he did the last two years, Colin Kaepernick started the day most of us call Thanksgiving on Alcatraz Island. He was honored at the Indigenous Peoples Sunrise Ceremony and wore a T-shirt with the image of Sitting Bull. “It’s been 50 years since the occupation” of Alcatraz by Indians from across the country, Kaepernick told the crowd. “And that struggle has continued for that 50 years … It’s our responsibility to honor our ancestors and honor our elders by carrying on that struggle. Don’t let their sacrifices be in vain.” – Photo: Christopher Burquez, Native News Online

by Timothy James Young

It was a long weekend here at San Quentin State Prison, but while other prisoners were busy watching NFL games, I was busy making a difference.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to write, or concentrate, while hundreds of prisoners are going nuts over a football game, but it’s no easy task. Yet, in spite of the clinking and clamoring that comes along with prison, I managed to hunker down and compose this piece.

As a Black man in America, my allegiance is tied to the acquisition of freedom, justice and equality. Never would I demean myself by putting a sport before the struggle. Why? Because I believe in the sentiments of Colin Kaepernick: “Some things are bigger than football!” To that end, I haven’t watched a NFL game since Colin Kaepernick last played, in 2016.

You see, I recognize the fact that Colin Kaepernick risked his career by taking a knee for people like me. Thus, how would I look, sitting up in this cell, watching the NFL, knowing that Colin Kaepernick was wrongfully banished from the league?!

Kap poses with Morning Star Gali, in organizer of the Indigenous Peoples Sunrise Ceremony at Alcatraz, who said: “He stated that he looks forward to attending many more sunrise gatherings with us as our fight continues to be the same.” – Photo: Norm Sands, Native News Online

Unlike the other captives in this miserable place, I refuse to be captivated! It is my assertion that the damage caused by the NFL is irreversible. What that means is that, even if Kap receives an olive branch, and is “allowed” to come back, my disdain for the game would remain.

So, while my fellow prisoners are shamelessly hooting and hollering about their favorite teams, I’ll be busy trying to find a way to make a difference. I’ll be busy trying to get my pen to delineate my vision.

Some would say that a pen is just a pen, but that’s because they fail to see that words have power. They fail to realize that the pen is mightier than the sword.

To me, my pen is more than just a writing implement; it is an extension of my mind. Hell, all things considered, it has functioned as a lifeline.

Find the following related articles at

  • “We don’t heel, we kneel”
  • “Put your money where your knee is”
  • “The jig is up”
  • “The jig is up” (2)
  • “The jig is up” (3)
  • “My team sucks”


Book Review of Revolution by the Book by Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (Formerly known As H Rap Brown)

Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s magnum opus, Revolution by the Book, is a paradigmatic Islamic liberation theology manifesto. It gives an outline of spiritual cultivation specific to the experience of the marginalized who are advocating for freedom from structural oppression, particularly Black Americans in the context in which Imam Jamil is writing. In his book, Imam Jamil Al-Amin argues that Islamic religious practice, which he refers to as “the Muslim program” provides a successful guide to revolution, specifically for Black Americans who have been marginalized, dehumanized, and oppressed in the United States for over 400 years. This revolution is not to be understood in the context of the masses suddenly rising up and overthrowing the ruling class. Rather, it is a suttle and spiritual revolution of the hearts. Imam Al-Amin argues that only through the revolution of self can a person be able to revolutionize the community around them. He writes that “It is said in Islam that the greatest struggle is the struggle against the evil of self. The struggle against the evil of self is the great Jihad, the foremost holy struggle,” alluding to a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad(Peace be upon him). The book’s quotations are almost completely from two sources: the Qur’an and ahadith, which are sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. Revolution by the Book is adorned with these two sources of Islamic knowledge. It is seldom impossible to find a page of the book without either a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad(Peace be upon him), or a verse of the Qur’an. Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s book begins with Surah Fatihah, the opening chapter of the Qur’an. Following them come the 10 chapters of the book all deal with a particular aspect of this program. Each chapter begins with a particular set of verses of the Qur’an.

The first chapter, “God Alone” stresses the importance of belief in God in transforming society. Without this belief, society cannot move forward in improving itself. It is followed by a chapter entitled “Born to Worship” which emphasizes the importance of prayer. Thereafter comes a chapter titled “Holy Money” which speaks of the importance of charity, which morphs into a discussion on the sociopolitical imperative of investing one’s money in the community. Then comes “God’s Diet” which speaks of the importance of fasting and eating healthy food. The fifth chapter is titled “Pilgrim’s Progress” and mentions the Hajj, and how Islam connects Muslims to a broader community of brothers and sisters around the world. The book is then followed by a chapter titled “God Natured” which speaks of the importance of the fitrah, or original nature of submission to God that all human beings possess, described in a hadith by the Prophet Muhammad(Peace be upon him). The book then presents a chapter titled “Turn Right at the Light” which emphasizes the importance of repentance when one commits a sin. Chapter 8, “In Your Family” emphasizes the importance of the nuclear family, and is followed by a chapter titled “Everybody Can Fight But Everybody Can’t Win” which emphasizes the importance of practicing the program and living by an Islamic epistemology, as opposed to ascribing to secular ideologies such as nationalism and Marxism. The book ends with a chapter titled “Finish Lines” which accents how death can come any day for a human being, and how the Muslim must prepare for it, each and every day. The book then culminates with Surah Asr, a three verse chapter of the Qur’an dealing with the importance of time, and making the most of the limited time that man has on Earth. Revolution by the Book serves as a call to action, intended to resurrect the soul of the reader, so that they can ultimately resurrect a broken society. The text reads in the voice of a powerful figure. In order to understand just how powerful of a figure the author is, one must understand both his contributions as both an Imam and leader of American Muslims as Imam Jamil Al-Amin, as well as his contribution to the freedom struggle of Black Americans as H. Rap Brown.

Imam Jamil Al-Amin is a leader within the Dar Al Islam movement, a Sunni Muslim, predominantly Black American, Islamic movement in the United States. Founded in 1962, the Dar Al Islam movement was the single largest Sunni Muslim organization in the United States until Imam Warith Deen Mohammed transitioned his father’s formerly pseudo-Islamic Nation of Islam to Sunni Islam in 1976. The Dar Al Islam movement’s ideology can be seen in the sources that Imam Jamil Al-Amin cites. He uses very few sources outside of the Qur’an and ahadith of the Prophet Muhammad. This is because the Dar Al Islam movement overall did not affiliate itself to any particular madhab, or school of Islamic jurisprudence, nor did it affiliate itself to any Sufi order. However, the organization is distinct from Salafis in the sense that they are not anti-madhabb or anti-Sufism. But one can see the ideology of not following a particular Sufi Shaikh or school of thought in this work of Jamil Al-Amin. Rather, he focuses on preaching to people the Qur’an and authentic sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. This is not necessarily an issue as he is preaching very rudimentary and basic Islamic teachings, and means of purifying oneself in this book.

The title of the book may also seem strange to some. As opposed to a revolutionary manifesto, the book seems to rather be a book on how to change one’s own self and how to restructure society from there. Before his conversion to Islam, Imam Jamil Al-Amin was known as H. Rap Brown, a charismatic and nationally-known leader within the civil rights movement. He would be mentored by now-Congressman John Lewis, who was then Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. At the young age of 23, H. Rap Brown became Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, succeeding Stokely Carmichael. Under Brown’s leadership, SNCC entered into a working relationship with the Black Panther Party. Brown took the nonviolent out of the name of the organization, and renamed it the Student National Coordinating Committee, lamenting that “violence is as American as cherry pie” and that they would “use violence, if necessary” and fight for freedom “by any means necessary.”

While chairman of SNCC, Brown simultaneously was appointed Minister of Justice of the Black Panther Party. In 1971, Brown was sentenced to 5 years in jail for “inciting a riot”, a crime that many suggest came out of the Cointelpro program that specifically had the goal of “neutralizing” him. It was in jail that chaplains from the Dar Al Islam movement invited him to their weekly Friday prayers. Familiar with Islam because of Malcolm X, H. Rap Brown attended Friday prayers without becoming Muslim. After a few Friday prayers, H. Rap Brown converted to Islam and took the name Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. Upon leaving jail, Imam Jamil Al-Amin studied the classical Islamic sciences in West Africa, India, and Pakistan. Following that, he became Imam of a community of around 400 Muslims in the West End neighborhood of Atlanta. The title Revolution by the Book comes from Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s credentials as a revolutionary. He is alluding to how he feels that his Islam is the culmination of his revolutionary days in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Black Panther Party, and that he has now finally found a means of making this revolution possible. He says in the prologue of the book that becoming Muslim did not mean a shift from his revolutionary lifestyle. Rather, he says that Islam was a “continuation of a lifestyle” of the struggle for freedom for Black Americans.

Imam Jamil Al-Amin writes that:

It became evident that to accomplish the things we had talked about in the struggle, you need a practice. Allah says He does not change the condition of people until they change was is in themselves. That is what Islam does, and it points out right from wrong. It points out truth from falsehood.

He continues on to say that:

It is criminal that in, in the 1900’s, we still approach struggle…sloganeering saying, “by any means necessary,” as if that’s a program. Or “we shall overcome,” as if that’s a program. Slogans are not programs. We must define the means which will bring about change. This can be found in…[what] Allah has brought for us in the Qur’an and in the example of the Prophet. Our revolution must be according to what Almighty God revealed…Successful struggle requires a Divine program. Allah has provided that program.

The remainder of the book outlines the ingredients for successful struggle. Imam Jamil Al-Amin claims that the most important aspect of revolution is belief in God. Without this, none of the other objectives such as prayer, fasting, charity, repentance, and pilgrimage to Mecca can be actualized and implemented. He also goes on to argue a divine command morality. If a person does not have belief in God, they lack an objective morality to base their lifestyle on. As a result, they fall into a subjective morality that makes it very easy for them to stumble and constantly reinterpret their values in accordance to their whims and desires when faced with pressure to compromise their values. To successfully mount a revolution, a person needs to be solidly grounded and not constantly reinterpreting what is right and wrong. Such an action could jeopardize the struggle and place the one engaging in the revolution in danger of selling out his or her values. Divine command morality serves as an anchor for the person revolutionizing society. This is why Imam Jamil Al-Amin believes that Imaan, or faith in God is the single most important ingredient to successful struggle. It is also interesting to note that the Arabic word “imaan” which means faith comes from “Amaan”, a root word that means safety or security. Through faith, believers are strongly anchored and have safety and protection from being misled by their whims and desires.

Imam Jamil Al-Amin writes that:

Iman is an essential ingredient to success, for a fearful, doubtful person is unable to struggle; he gives up easily, submits to every oppressor, compromises his integrity, acquiesces in injustice, and accepts enslavement. In contrast, a person who has taqwa, God-consciousness, fears only the Ruler of the Universe, Almighty Allah; he perseveres against the greatest of challenges, maintains his integrity, resists injustice, refuses enslavement, and fights oppression without regard to man-made standards.

Next, Imam Jamil Al-Amin claims that the most important aspect of this struggle is prayer. He says that prayer is the center of the community. He quotes the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad that prayer is what separates a believer form a disbeliever. He also quotes verse 11 of Surah Raad which states that “God does not change the condition of people until they change was is in themselves.” This is the most quoted verse of the Qur’an in his entire book, emphasizing the change in self that is required for the revolution that SNCC and the Black Panther Party imagined. He asserts that prayer is the key to this change, and that prayer is also what binds his mosque together.

Imam Jamil Al-Amin writes that:

Any building is just an edifice. The mosque is built to make prayer. Prayer is the key to the community, not buildings…Prayer is a practice, a program, that begins to make you aware, that makes you conscious of the Creator; it makes you fear Allah, and that brings about within you a transformation, a change that is necessary to throw off that whole system that you have become accustomed to. It is the beginning of a revolution in you which expands to other aspects of you reality.

Following his emphasis on prayer as the foundation of successful Islamic practice, Imam Jamil emphasizes other very important aspects of Islam, cemented with verses from the Qur’an and ahadith. Aside from just emphasizing the religious obligation of the action, Imam Jamil Al-Amin connects the idea to a sociopolitical imperative. It is not just his goal to explain to the reader why the action is religiously mandated. But he also seeks to connect it to why it is important for the social resurrection of the community in which a person resides. For example, he presents many hadith and the verses of Qur’an on the importance of charity. But beyond that, he connects the idea to the spiritual and social resurrection of Black Americans.

Charity — you cannot have an effective social struggle, a successful movement, if you don’t have charity. You cannot have a successful revolution if people don’t have charity, if you are not willing to sacrifice. Sacrifice deals with giving, with sharing those things that Allah places in your trust?

Beyond just laying out religious obligations, Imam Jamil Al-Amin points out many flaws in modern society, particularly those of materialism and corporatism. In his view, modernity is filled with many diseases that have deprived people of who they really are. People just go around consuming food, drugs, and entertainment, and are unable to cultivate their souls, or even ponder the fact that they have one. He writes about how society is devoid of values and how Americans have become a people who just go from one holiday to another without contemplating their existence. Americans have become a people not just intoxicated by drugs. More prominently, they have been intoxicated by holidays and entertainment.

We talk about intoxicants. We reduce the problem to cocaine and crack. But indeed, it is more than cocaine and crack. In fact, the problem is not crack and cocaine, the problem is that we live in a society that has made a virtue out of being high. This society arouses within you desires and passions that make you seek to escape reality by being high. Everything is geared toward keeping you in a state of euphoria. One holiday follows the next: Christmas to New Years, to Easter, to Mother’s Day, to Father’s Day, to the NBA playoffs, to the Superbowl, to championship fights, to Olympics. Everything keeps you high. Everything is geared towards keeping you away from encountering reality, everything is geared to keep you from remembering God.

He advises parents on the dangers of this corporatism also. Imam Jamil writes that:

Your child must stop eating what the media sells; the television, radio, comics, magazines, recordings, etc. You must help them control their lives; you must take control of your children’s lives away from their enemy. You strive hard to teach your children right, then you turn the television on and allow everything that is against your religion, against your Lord, to be propagated in your house. You lock your doors and windows then turn on the TV.

One weakness in this text comes with regard to who Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s audience is. One review referred to it as “A valuable text for new Muslims and an excellent introduction to the fundamental teachings of Islam for non-Muslims.” So perhaps it is a text aimed at introducing non-Muslims to Islam, while also allowing Muslims to review the basic teachings through the context of his unique life experience. But which non-Muslims is he specifically speaking to? Is he speaking to Black revolutionaries who are not yet Muslim? He could be speaking to past colleagues of his from SNCC and the Black Panther Party. Is he making the case to them that Islamic practice presents a necessary program for them to actualize what they want in regard to this revolution?  Is that the purpose of this book? Or is he is referring to Islam as the continuation of the struggle in a rhetorical way. He is saying to his people that they do not need to wage revolution through protests and the ballot box. Rather, by the practice of Islam, each and every person transforming themselves will transform society. After all, society is merely the summation of a bunch of individuals. If all parts of the whole have revolutionized themselves, the whole too should revolutionize itself.

I also question if it weakens Islam or sells the deen short to present it as a means of good revolutionary praxis as opposed to salvation. The objective of Islam is to get close to God, not to restructure society. But establishing justice and ridding the world of this oppression is a result that comes from closeness to God. One begins a Muslim out of belief in God, and out of realization that the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is the messenger of God, the last of prophets, and the greatest human being to ever walk this Earth. It is obvious that Imam Jamil Al-Amin understands. He emphasizes that the self must be transformed before anything else and that it is important to be aware of one’s close proximity to death. I wonder if maintaining the notion of a revolutionary self is to essentially say to those from his past days in the freedom struggle that he has not changed as a person. The H. Rap Brown who asserted that “violence is as American as cherry pie” has discovered what real revolution is all about—the greater jihad against the nafs. It is a sign that he has not committed some sort of political apostasy towards the freedom struggle, or cultural apostasy towards Black people. Rather, he has discovered that this materialism and lack of spiritual ethic guiding the freedom struggle can be purified and best applied when put into Islamic guidelines.

For Muslims, this is an especially important text. It reminds them to fulfill the basic obligations of their religion and the evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah for fulfilling these basic obligations. It also connects to a figure who is seldom forgotten. Many know of Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, but few know of the Imam Jamil Al-Amin. In addition, the Dar Al Islam movement which he was a leader in provides a model for dawah and Islamic institution building. But moreover, Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s book exemplifies to the reader that purification of the self does not have to take place in a vacuum of political quietism. Rather, in purifying themselves, the reader too can purify the community around them. Revolution by the Book is a seminal text representing a seminal figure.

Both Imam Jamil Al-Amin and his manifesto will be etched in the American Muslim imagination for years to come as symbols for purification of self, and the purification of society, insha Allah.

Buy the book here


Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, California’s longest serving Black Panther, still incarcerated

Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, California’s longest serving Black Panther, still incarcerated

A young Chip Fitzgerald. |

Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, a former member of the Black Panther Party, has served 50 years within the California State Department of Corrections. He is the longest-incarcerated Black Panther in U.S. history. Fitzgerald entered the state prison as a young man when he was in his teens. He is now 70 years old and a great-grandfather. He suffered a stroke, is in ill health, and gets around with the use of a cane and a wheelchair, if and when he can. It is clear he is no longer a risk to society. So why is Chip Fitzgerald still in prison?

A recent photo of Chip Fitzgerald. |

Community members are asking just that. Many other prisoners have been released who had similar sentences. Yet Chip remains in prison. Why? Friends and family members have set out to free Chip Fitzgerald with the sole purpose of getting information out about his circumstances and getting to the bottom of why he is still incarcerated while others walk free. Petition signature gathering, community presentations, letters, and direct appeals to the State Board of Parole and governor have been organized. But time is running out.

In the turbulent 1960s, the Black Panther Party was being organized in cities throughout the country. Fitzgerald was one of many young Black men interested in participating in this new community organization. In this time of anti-war protest and inner-city riots, Chip, like many others, turned to the Black Panther Party for answers and looked up to its founders as role models. This decision shaped his life.

Chip grew up in the Watts and Compton areas, in the community that was known as South Central Los Angeles (now more often called South Los Angeles). Along with many Black men and women, and influenced by the civil rights movement, he became interested in the activities of the Panthers. At the time, the BPP had a community empowerment program. This is important because there is a need to understand the significance of what the party meant to the community. It provided an outlet to express anger over the mistreatment of Blacks in the past and a way to stand up to the status quo. It was an empowering movement that for the first time allowed Black men and women to have a voice.

Chip would later become involved in the Panthers’ community breakfast program. He was committed to the party. Nothing like this was ever developed in the Black community, by the community. However, it was no secret that COINTELPRO and the FBI sought to destroy the Black Panthers. Chip Fitzgerald was one of those who got caught up in the movement of the time, for which any paid a heavy price.

On a breezy, hot summer night in 1969, three young Black Panther members were driving down the streets of South Central L.A. A bright red light shined in the rearview of their car. The car was pulled over. The sweltering heat made the men sweat even more. Each one knew that the Black Panthers were not welcomed by any of the police authorities. But they were not about to give an inch to what they considered an oppressive police force.

A tense situation was about to unfold. A California Highway Patrol officer walked up to the car. The men inside complied with all the police demands. Shouting began. Something wrong happened. Within a few minutes, a struggle took over the streets. No one really knows what happened that night. There was, of course, the Highway Patrol version and the Black Panther version. But whatever happened, the situation turned violent. Within a very short time span, Chip was wounded, as was the officer in brief shootout. Chip escaped but was arrested weeks later. The two others in the car also escaped but were later captured. According to the police, the car was stopped because it had a broken taillight.

Chip Fitzgerald on the cover of the Black Panther Party’s newspaper.

Upon his arrest, Chip pleaded not guilty to the charge of attempted murder of a CHP officer. But there was something else in play against Chip. During the days before his arrest, Chip was accused of being involved in the death of a security guard. Although the evidence against him was weak, and Chip has denied any involvement, he was still convicted and sentenced to death. Chip, however, never gave up on his principles of struggle and due process.

Though Chip was sentenced to death, the California Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty in 1972. He and others on Death Row had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole, but he has been denied parole over a dozen times.

During his 50 years of confinement, he’s been housed at every major California prison. He was recently moved from R. J. Donovan Correctional Facility San Diego and returned to Lancaster State Prison.

The system in which Chip has served time is no country club. Chip has served many years in what is considered a maximum-security prison. The infamous Security/Special Housing Unit where he was once housed is known as a mental and physical torture chamber. It was meant to degrade and break inmates. In the main population, inmate on inmate violence often occurred. Prison guards also commonly inflicted violence on inmates. Conditions were so bad that the entire California prison system in 2006 was placed under federal receivership because the state failed to provide a constitutional level of medical care.

Chip Fitzgerald has survived under some very harsh conditions. No one claims that Chip is a saint, but neither is he an evil man. He has continued to say he has remorse but not in a begging way or pleading forgiveness. He only seeks due process for release and says he is not a menace to society. Chip’s parents’ dying wish was to see Romaine free, but they both passed with this wish unfulfilled. Romaine has one son, eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and 15 nephews and nieces whom he seeks to be united with.

One of many appeals written on behalf of Chip Fitzgerald to the governor states: “Scores of other prisoners convicted of the same offenses as Romaine at around the same time (1969) have since been paroled. There is no logical reason, justifiable or legal reason to continue to incarcerate Romaine….”

So why is Romaine Chip Fitzgerald still in prison? Many believe that he is still in prison due to his past political beliefs and activism as a member of the Black Panther Party some 50 years ago.

To learn more, go to:




Statement on passing of Tom Manning, by Ray Luc Levasseur



Tom Manning’s death on July 30 has me in the grip of an emotional riptide.
I feel like part of me died with him.

Tom was imprisoned at USP-Hazelton, WV at the time of his death. The
ostensible cause of death, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, was
a heart attack.

I received Tom’s last letter on July 15. He wrote that he was in dire
circumstances, his medical needs treated with deliberate indifference,
delays in receiving necessary medication, his body weak from lack of
oxygen. Supporters scrambled to get a lawyer in to see him, but death
arrived first.

Tom battled the Bureau of Prisons criminal negligence of his medical needs
for the past 10 years, beginning when he almost died from an untreated knee
infection while at USP-Coleman, FL. As a result of that infection, most of
his knee was surgically removed and he was wheelchair bound for the rest of
his days.

But he was not through fighting.

When he arrived at FMC-Butner, NC for further medical treatment he was kept
in solitary confinement under abysmal conditions for 3 years. Much-needed
knee and shoulder surgeries were repeatedly delayed until pressure from
Tom’s supporters forced the BOP to act. But the surgeries came too late,
and combined with the lack of necessary rehab insured that Tom remained in
a wheelchair.

Tom always had the warrior spirit, right to his last breath. Many more like
him, and the ruling class would tremble. The ache in my heart over his
passing will be forever.

In remembrance, I offer words I wrote in 2014 for Tom’s book “For Love and
Liberty,” a collection of his paintings:

“When Tom Manning and I first met 40 years ago, we were 27 years old and veterans of mule jobs, the Viet Nam war, and fighting our way through
American prisons. We also harbored an intense hatred of oppression and a
burning desire to organize resistance.

As members of a community action group called SCAR, we worked its
‘survival programs’ including a community bail fund, prison visitation
program, and a radical bookstore. The Red Star North bookstore drew the
venom of police – surveillance, harassment, raid and assault.

Tom and I disappeared underground in the midst of this and COINTELPRO revelations. We remained underground for near 10 years, much of it on the FBI’s ten most wanted list. We were tagged as ‘terrorist’ and ‘extremely dangerous’ because as ‘members of a revolutionary group’ we used explosives against targets of empire: predators of apartheid South Africa, Puerto Rico’s colonialism, and the slaughter in Central America.*

We considered our work anti-terrorist. It was a time, you see, when
activists were killed, imprisoned, tortured and exiled. ‘Winter in America’
as Gil Scott-Heron put it, and raging hell in El Salvador. It was a time
when the U.S. subcontracted its terrorism and if you were on the wrong end of it – you died.

Sometimes when we met underground I noticed Tom sketched on scraps of paper. I was impressed with how well he drew. I said to him – man, you got talent, why not do landscapes, portraits, big pictures! His response – no time for that, for our priority was taking down this wretched system that
disrespects and destroys life.

The government’s mandate is that Tom die in prison, as our comrade Richard Williams did in 2005 after a long period of medical neglect and solitary confinement.

Tom has risen beyond the gulag’s attempt to strip his humanity. You can
feel the dignity and spirit of resistance in his paintings. He is one of
those carrying heavy burdens, be they the ‘sans-culottes’ of the world, a
Haitian health care provider, or a victim of police bullets.

Political prisoners do not exist in a vacuum. They emerge from political
and social conflicts. The ruling class and media attempt to criminalize,
demonize and marginalize these prisoners, because recognition of political
prisoners is de facto admission that serious conflicts exist and remain

In 2006 an exhibit of Tom Manning’s paintings – ‘Can’t Jail the Spirit’ –
opened at the University of Southern Maine. Police organizations throughout the Northeast conducted an intense ‘shut it down’ campaign. The police were particularly disturbed with the characterization of Tom as a ‘political prisoner’ and his painting of Assata Shakur on display. When the police got to the university’s corporate funders, the USM president capitulated and the exhibit was ordered shut down. The exhibit’s supporters then carried Tom’s paintings through the city streets and rallied at Congress Square.

‘There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard,’ reads
Psalm 19:3 and the gravestone of Black freedom fighters Jonathan and George Jackson. Voice, through its many forms, articulates vision. Call it
subversive art, liberating art, art that challenges the one-dimensional.
Tom’s art is a voice among the dispossessed that transcends concrete and
razor wire with an affirmation of life.

The paintings of Tom Manning and American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier; the creative work of Puerto Rican Independista Oscar Lopez Rivera; the poetry of anti-imperialist Marilyn Buck, which lives on; and the Earth defender poems of Marius Mason; the spoken word of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Mutulu Shakur. They are the voices of our political prisoners, principled and honorable men and women who communicate from isolation and suffering.

We must not let their voices be suppressed. They need to be heard and
celebrated by freedom loving people everywhere.”

I extend deep gratitude to all those who provided some measure of support
and solidarity to Tom during his 34 years in prison.

With Tom’s passing, Jaan Laaman remains the sole United Freedom Front
prisoner. It’s time to bring Jaan home.


Ray Luc Levasseur
Black August
August 1, 2019


Dr. Mutulu Shakur


Happy bornday


See the source image

August 8,1950