Black August is a time for us to recenter ourselves in our mission to end the imprisonment and caging of our people, and to uplift those who need the support of our community now.
In 1979, a group of incarcerated people in California came together to remember George and Jonathan Jackson and other freedom fighters, for a commemoration that became known as Black August. Over time, Black August expanded beyond prisons. Organizations like the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) joined in the call to honor Black political prisoners and activists killed by the state, bring awareness to harsh prison conditions, and highlight the radical tradition of Black resistance against anti-Black state violence and systemic oppression.
This week, in partnership with our comrades at MXGM, we’re highlighting five current Black political prisoners to raise awareness and support for these warriors. We’re calling on you to sign petitions, write letters, donate, and spread the word, as we advocate for the release of all prisoners and the abolition of the prison industrial complex.
Join us in supporting the following Black political prisoners currently experiencing the indignity and harm of incarceration:
Dr. Mutulu Shakur is a father, grandfather, healer, and human-rights activist who has been in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons for more than 35 years. He is now 72 years old and has suffered two strokes, glaucoma, and stage 3 bone-marrow cancer for the last 4 ½ years. Dr. Shakur was sentenced to 60 years in prison because of actions based on his political beliefs. He was targeted and victimized by the now-infamous Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) as early as 1968. Sign this petition to call on President Biden to release Dr. Shakur, a Black elder who has spent his life advocating for our community. Donate to support Dr. Shakur’s fight for freedom here.
Mumia Abu-Jamal is an internationally celebrated Black writer and radio journalist, author of six books and hundreds of columns and articles, organizer and inspiration for the prison lawyers movement, former leader of the Black Panther Party, and supporter of Philadelphia’s radical MOVE organization who has spent the last 40 years in prison, the majority of it in solitary confinement on Pennsylvania’s Death Row. His case is widely regarded as an unfair trial, and his demand for a new trial and freedom is supported by leaders, activists, and public figures across the globe. Mumia is a human being, with a family and a network of friends and family who value his life. His case and struggle are important—first of all, because of the threat to the life and dignity he bears simply as a human being. He is a husband, father, and grandfather who, despite his isolation from his own family, has maintained an extraordinary sense of humane care and advocacy for them and many others. Donate here to support Mumia in his fight for freedom.
Kamau Sadiki is a father and a grandfather. As an original member of the Black Panther Party, he worked out of the Jamaica, Queens office. Kamau promoted the Ten-Point Program, worked in the Free Breakfast Program, sold the Black Panther newspaper, worked on community-education programs, organized tenants, and helped mothers in need. He was targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO efforts to stop these social programs and the popularity they earned the Black Panther Party. Kamau Sadiki is a loved and loving family man. Kamau’s two daughters and grandchildren are devastated by the absence of their loving, hard-working father, and are active in efforts to release him. Donate here to support their efforts to free him.
Imam Jamil Al Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, a Black revolutionary, civil-rights icon, and human-rights activist, has been wrongfully imprisoned for the past 22 years. Imam Jamil was the fifth chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Minister of Justice for the Black Panther Party during the civil-rights movement. Imam Jamil was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2002 for a crime he did not commit. Another man has since confessed to the crime, but this and other evidence have been left out of trials. Imam Jamil has been intentionally targeted for his powerful revolutionary work, deemed as a threat to the establishment. With a new district attorney, Imam Jamil has a new opportunity for justice and needs our urgent help for a new legal defense. Donate here to support his legal defense fund, then email key members of Congress with these easy templates to demand his transfer back to Atlanta.
Ed Poindexter is a civil-rights activist, writer, and leader within his community. In addition to working as a leader of the National Committee to Combat Fascism (NCCF), Poindexter has been previously elected as a delegate to the Douglas County Democratic Party convention. He has remained in custody since his arrest in 1970 and is serving a lifetime sentence. Wrongfully charged with the death of an Omaha police officer, Poindexter had witnesses who testified that he was nowhere near the bombing where the officer died. The prosecution vilified him over conspiracy claims. Due to his political work and being in the midst of cultural wars over racism, the nearly all-white jury found him guilty. Fifty years later, Poindexter has earned several college degrees, wrote courses for and taught self-improvement and anti-violence classes to youth, and has served as a role model to his fellow prisoners. At age 77, Poindexter is at high risk for COVID-related health complications. Sign this petition demanding that Ed Poindexter be released from prison immediately.
We are not free until we are all free, and we will not leave our comrades, elders, and freedom fighters behind. Join us in taking action today to send them the love, support, and hope they deserve.
We’ll continue uplifting more of our imprisoned freedom fighters as the month continues. There are more Black political prisoners in need of your support; check out this more expansive list from The Jericho Movement here.
For more on the history of Black August, check out this piece by Mama Ayaana, Co-Founder of the Oakland Chapter of MXGM.
In rage, love, and solidarity,
Movement for Black Lives & Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
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