This Month's Action
Title: The Struggle Continues! Hands Off Assata
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.
If you live in New York, read the whole alert, then click here.
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,
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 You Should Do Now:
- Add your organization's name to our list of endorsers/Take
- Contact your Congressperson. Demand that he/she
rescind House Resolution #254 and ask them to support congressional
hearings on COINTELPRO. You can use a Congressional email service
to look up your rep's email: http://www.house.gov/writerep
- Download and print the "Hands
Off Assata Shakur" Flyer
- Plan a showing of the film Eyes of the Rainbow
(1997). This film portrays the life and current struggles of Assata
Shakur. Contact HOA for this: email@example.com
- Keep visiting www.assatashakur.org for current HOA-Campaign Info.
- Organize a Hands Off Assata Shakur Campaign
Rally and Teach In in your respective cities and towns
- Send contributions: FTP Movement, P.O. Box 1720,
Stone Mountain, Ga. 30086 (towards hosting costs, community events and support of other action alerts.)
- Contact us at www.assatashakur.org using the contact us form.
- Link to this site.
- Get an Hands
off Assata Action Alert RSS Feed
- Participate in future monthly Action Alerts
Please link your Site to Assata Speaks!
||Download "Hands Off" flier (english)
||Download "Hands Off" flier (spanish)
||Download "Real Facts" flier (english)
||Download "Real Facts"
flier (spanish) COMING SOON
||Un mensaje para nuestros hermanos y hermanas caribeños
||Read Instructions on how to use flier
Assata Shakur from capture
Increase Public Awareness of the plight of exiles, political prisoners and grassroots activists.
that the New Jersey State Police tell the truth about Assata's trial.
Expose the damage caused by COINTELPRO.
Continued freedom for Assata.
Acknowledgement of the sacrifice of our freedom fighters.
Truthful look at actions of NJ State Police Dept. and united states gov't.
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