Summary of day one of The Feminist Wire’s Forum on Assata Shakur
On May 16, 2013, The Feminist Wire (TFW) launched our two-day forum on Black Woman Revolutionary Activist Assata Shakur, who was recently (May 3, 2013) and unjustly (my words) put on the FBI list —of the Ten Most Wanted Criminals. We join the international chorus who demand justice for Assata Shakur. #HandsOFFAssata
TFW’s Co-Founder and Managing Editor Tamura A. Lomax is on righteous fire in her introduction to the two-day forum.
An Introduction to TFW’s Forum on Assata Shakur: America’s Grammar Book on Black Women and Terrorism
"…[Assata] Shakur has long been a marked woman. And now she stands as a “Miss Ebony First” for the FBI. But what is her name? It certainly isn’t “terrorist.” However, today, she is “Most Wanted.” What about Shakur causes such fear and trembling? And why does America seem to need her at this moment in time? Is it because the latest terrorists had white skin? Is it to bring social, cultural and political meaning back into balance where, as Frantz Fanon once posited, the black is the symbol of evil? Did the Boston bombers disrupt our “national treasury” of rhetorical racial plenitude? Is Shakur being marked with terrorism to once again center America’s civilized/primitive dialectic or lies about its colonial mission? Is it to at once put in check youthful revolutionaries whose activist work might in fact lead to social, cultural or political change, as Angela Y. Davis recently suggested? Is it an attempt to reimagine every political prisoner in the United States as an evil terrorist straightaway? Or, is this a joint venture to hypothesize international crisis with Cuba as the target? Is it all of the above?…"
In her exclusive short essay for TFW, internationally renowned activist, scholar, and author Angela Y. Davis says, Hands Off Assata
"…Many years ago, I was similarly shocked to learn that I myself had been placed on an FBI list – of the Ten Most Wanted Criminals. This only began to make sense to me when I realized that I was not the exclusive target: through me, the FBI was transmitting a message to all revolutionary activists that they would be marked as criminals and that, in fact, our movements against imperialism and for racial and gender justice would be generally criminalized.
Today, forty years after Assata was arrested (and later convicted) for a crime she could not have committed, she has emerged as a symbol of continuing resistance to racism, gender repression, and contemporary challenges to U.S. empire. I personally feel compelled to defend and protect Assata because I love and respect her as an individual and know her commitment and compassion to be exemplary…
Assata Shakur’s 1987 poem Affirmation —reprinted today in TFW—is timeless:
"…I have been locked by the lawless.
Handcuffed by the haters.
Gagged by the greedy.
And, if i know any thing at all,
it’s that a wall is just a wall
and nothing more at all.
It can be broken down.
I believe in living.
I believe in birth.
I believe in the sweat of love
and in the fire of truth…”
TFW Collective Member Alexis Pauline Gumbs’ poem “Here" celebrates Assata Shakur and (one of her many namesakes) Assata Amira Nakati Carter-Goff on her tenth birthday.
"call down the name freedom call
up the spirit of no matter what now call
your shared name liberation veins steel will
fierce focus shielding sacred smile laugh…”
THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE of BLACK LAWYERS (NCBL) CONDEMNS THE FBI’S CONTINUED ATTACKS ON ACTIVIST ASSATA SHAKUR
Because TFW is committed to providing space for critical dialogue, we are reprinting NCBL’s statement in its entirety with the express purpose of offering such space.
“The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) condemns the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s recent placement of activist Assata Shakur on its Most Wanted Terrorists list, and its increase of the reward for her capture to $2 million. These actions by the FBI should alarm everyone in the United States as they only serve to criminalize the right of people to disagree with governmental policies. These actions intimidate activists and recklessly expand the use and meaning of the word ‘terrorist.’… “