Tonight: From Jerry Koch to Assata Shakur: Legacies of Political Repression

We’ll be attending a political prisoner letter-writing potluck tonight at the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community & Student Center at the City College of New York (CCNY).

We hope to share information about our comrade Jerry Koch, and connect with other radical organizers in New York City doing support work for long-term political prisoners.

Wednesday, June 12th 2013, 6:30PM
Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community & Student Center
City College of New York, NAC – Building: Room 3-201
West 138th Street, between Amsterdam & Convent Avenues, 10031
(Bring Photo ID & Use W.140th Street/Amsterdam Ave. Entrance)

Jerry Koch is a New York City anarchist known for his jail and legal support, who is currently being held in Manhattan’s federal prison, the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Since May 21st Jerry has been detained indefinitely on contempt charges for refusing to cooperate with a federal grand jury.

Assata Shakur (1947-) was a member of the Black Panther Party’s Harlem branch, and later the Black Liberation Army. She was imprisoned from 1973-1979 from an incident on the New Jersey Turnpike in May 1973 that left her comrade Zayd Mailk Shakur and a State Trooper dead. Following her escape from New Jersey’s Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in November 1979 she went underground, before being granted political asylum in Cuba in 1984. Assata: An Autobiography was published in 1987, and in 1993 she co-wrote, along with Dhoruba bin Wahad (1945-) and Mumia Abu-Jamal (1954-), Still Black, Still Strong. In 2005 Shakur was classified as a domestic terrorist, and a $1 million bounty was put on her head. On May 2nd of this year, that number was increased to $2 million, and she was added to the FBI’s list of Most Wanted Terrorists, the first woman to be put on the list.

Occurring monthly, the “George L. Jackson/Mumia Abu Jamal: Political Prisoner Film/Update/Birthday Card Signing & Letter Writing Dinner In Harlem” is organized with the Safiya Bukhari & Albert ‘Nuh’ Washington Foundation, and the People’s Survival Program. Along with the Anarchist Black Cross, the Jericho Movement, and Resistance in Brooklyn, they’ve been a constant presence here in New York, maintaining this work and conversation.

In our solidarity statement with Jerry from 5/23, “Keeping Jerry and all prisoners in our hearts”, we wrote: “Although Jerry’s imprisonment hits close to home, let us not ignore or forget the millions of others locked away in prisons worldwide. In the United States alone there are over 2 million people currently locked up, which is both the highest incarceration rate and total prison population of any nation in the world. If you include those on probation or parole in the U.S., the number is closer to 7 million, almost the equivalent of the entire New York City population caught up in our prison system. Since 2002 the United States has operated a concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay with over 500 inmates, many now on hunger strike, and the single largest prison in the world remains New York City’s own Rikers Island, which currently holds 14,000 inmates in cages. As we write these words, Jerry is at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, now the largest federal prison in the country, along with almost 3,000 people.”

We’d like to now engage more seriously with the history of political repression in our country, even our own city, by focusing on the lives and legacies of our political prisoners, our prisoners of war, and learning from their support committees and networks. In March we put together a kit for writing recently locked-up anarchist political prisoners like the NATO 3, Cleveland 4, G20 protestors, environmental and animal rights activists, and others. This includes hacker and cyberactivist Jeremy Hammond, who has been held at MCC since March 2012. But most of America’s political prisoners are militants who were active in the ’60s and ’70s, largely as part of Black liberation struggles, many who were based here in New York. As a brief beginning and incomplete overview:

The Community and Student Center hosting tonight’s event is named for Assata Shakur and Guillermo Morales, former students at City College who were later held as political prisoners, who both escaped from prison, and who both currently live in exile in Cuba. The Center was started in 1989, as a result of student struggles around CUNY tuition hikes.

The People’s Survival Program (PSP) has the mission to advance the vision and legacy of the Black Panther Movement, including know your rights trainings, cop watch patrols, food and clothing shares, and cultural & education programs. It is a grassroots community formation and a project of Safiya-Nuh Foundation/IFCO which currently receives ALL of it’s primary resources directly from the very same Black & Latino community that we serve. The Safiya Bukhari-Albert ‘Nuh’ Washington Foundation is a non-profit, grant making organization whose Committee, Advisory Board, and Board of Directors are all individuals who have come together to provide assistance to numerous groups and families who work on behalf of Political Prisoners.

Guillermo Morales (1950-) was involved in the 1969 student strike and occupation at City College where hundreds of Black and Puerto Rican students occupied more than 17 buildings on campus for over two weeks in the struggle for Open Admissions. Morales was later a member of the FALN (Armed Forces for National Liberation), fighting for the liberation of Puerto Rico. He injured himself while making a bomb in Queens in 1978, and was taken from Rikers Island to Bellevue Hospital for surgery, when he escaped in May 1979. He has lived in exile in Cuba since 1988.

Still Black, Still Strong co-author Dhoruba bin Wahad (1945-) was a part of the New York Panther 21 arrested in April 1969 on conspiracy charges, and later part of the Black Liberation Army. He was released from prison in 1990, after serving 19 years. Wahad was the subject of the 1993 documentary film Passin’ It On, by John Valadez, Peter Miller, and Susan Rostock.

Safiya Bukhari (1950-2003) was active in the Black Panther Party here in New York, and later the Black Liberation Army. She was a political prisoner for over 8 years, before her release in 1983. She was a co-founder of the New York Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition. A collection of Bukhari’s writings, The War Before, was published in 2010, edited by Laura Whitehorn (1945-), with an introduction by Angela Y. Davis (1944-), and an afterword by Mumia Abu-Jamal (1954-).

Albert ‘Nuh’ Washington (1941-2000) was arrested in San Franscisco in August 1971, one week after the death of George Jackson, for the murder of two New York police officers in May 1971. Along with Jalil Muntaqim (1951-) and Herman Bell (1948-) he was one of the so-called New York 3, although active primarily in San Francisco as a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army. Washington died of liver cancer while at New York’s Coxsackie Correctional Facility. Muntaqim, a former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army, is currently held at New York’s Attica Correctional Facility. Bell, a former member of the Black Panther Party, is currently held at New York’s Sullivan Correctional Facility

George Jackson (1941-1971) was a revolutionary prisoner, serving time at California’s Soledad and San Quentin prisons. He was the author of Soledad Brother (1970) and Blood in My Eye (1971). He was killed by guards in August 1971 during a prison uprising. Last August we screened the World in Action 1971 documentary on Jackson, Death of a Revolutionary, and wrote to Hugo Pinell (1945-) and Ruchell Cinque Magee (1939-). Pinell was one of the so-called San Quentin Six for conspiracy charges related to the incident that led to Jackson’s death. Of the original 6, only Pinell remains locked-up, currently at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison. Magee was involved in the August 1970 attempt to free the Soledad Brothers by Jackson’s younger brother Jonathan. Magee is the longest held political prisoner in the United States, having been locked-up since 1963. He is currently at California State Prison, Corcoran.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former member of the Black Panther Party in Philadelphia, is held in Pennsylvania’s State Correctional Institution, Mahony for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer.

Jerry Resists
Assata Shakur
Assata: An Autobiography (1987)
People’s Survival Program
People’s Survival Program
The Safiya Bukhari-Albert ‘Nuh’ Washington Foundation
Safiya Bukhari
New York City Anarchist Black Cross
New York City Jericho Movement
Free Herman Bell
Free Jalil Muntaqim
Free Hugo Pinell
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

from the original announcement:

The Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Center Presents Its Monthly George L. Jackson/Mumia Abu Jamal: Political Prisoner Film/Update/Birthday Card Signing & Letter Writing Dinner In Harlem

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 7:00pm – 9:00pm SHARP!
(Doors Open & PP/POW Film Begins At 6:30pm)

Guillermo Morales- Assata Shakur Center @ CCNY
NAC – Building: Room 3-201
W.138th Street – Bet. Amsterdam & Convent Avenues
(Bring Photo ID & Use W.140th Street/Amsterdam Ave. Entrance)
Info. Contact- Bro. Shep: (212) 650-5008 or

Wednesday’s PP/POW Harlem Support Schedule

– PP/POW Film Screening On Assata Shakur Begins and “Pot Luck” Dinner Is Served (Please Try To Bring “Something” To Share)

– Discussion On Assata Shakur Film, The Signing Of June Birthday Cards To Political Prisoners/POW’s

– Organizing & Planning For The Hands Off Assata Committee-NYC
– Campaign Report Updates, Upcoming Event Announcements & General Information On All US Government Held PP/POW’s

The (5) U.S. Captured Political Prisoners/POW’S Whose Birthdays Are In June Are:

Hernández, Gerardo #58739-004
USP Victorville, P.O. Box 3900, Adelanto, CA 92301
Birthday: June 4, 1965

Majid, Abdullah (Anthony Laborde) #83-A-0483
Elmira Correctional Facility
PO Box 500, 1879 Davis St, Elmira, New York 14902-0500
Birthday: June 25, 1949

Manning, Thomas #10373-016
FMC Butner, P.O. Box 1600, Butner, NC 27509
Birthday: June 28, 19466

Medina, Luís #58734-004
(envelope is addressed to Luis Medina, letter to Ramón Labañino)
USP Atlanta, P.O. Box 150160, Atlanta, GA 30315
Birthday: June 9, 1963

Odinga, Sekou #09A3775
Clinton Correctional Facility,
P.O. Box 2001, Dannemora, NY 12929
Birthday: June 17, 1944

If you can not join us on Wednesday to sign the special group cards; You can still send your own personal cards or letters to these political prisoners. It’s an easy way to help remind these freedom fighters that they aren’t forgotten. If you make one, remember—don’t use anything like white-out, stickers, tape or glitter on it. We also recommend that you put their name, address, and prisoner I.D. number on the card, lest the authorities “lose” the envelope and/or “forget” where it is going.