Today (May 17, 2013), The Feminist Wire concludes our two-day mini forum on Sister Assata Shakur.
Our Sister, Assata Shakur: Life, Struggle, Justice, and Love
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.’… “
Charges dropped against Florida teen over amateur science experiment — MSNBC -
The 16-year-old [Black girl] high school student who was arrested after causing a small explosion on school grounds will not be charged with a crime.
10 Ways Men Can End Violence Against Women -
By Sacchi Patel ~ As I checked my Twitter feed on the morning of Tuesday, April 30, 2013, I expected to find mostly depressing news, as I follow folks who speak out about Violence Against Women. What I found was even more disturbing than I had anticipated. I read several tweets about an “Ex-Girlfriend Target” that bleeds when shot. I clicked links to articles written about this and what I read was deeply troubling. As I continued to read more responses to the target, I found myself moving from total disappointment towards anger, an emotion that I’ve been intentional about not expressing in unhealthy ways since entering the Men’s Anti-Violence Movement. This target that was being sold online is obviously terrible for many reasons. Ultimately, it supports a hierarchy where men are in power and use women as target practice to keep our stronghold over them. Zombie Industries, the producer of the “Ex-Girlfriend Target,” is encouraging men to take out […]
“…If it isn’t clear yet, violence against women directly hurts men, too. We are trained to allow our bodies to be tools to perpetuate cycles of violence and contribute to a system that not only remains silent about, but actually celebrates and makes games out of killing women. Living in a culture of violence produces men and boys who can’t express real emotions other than anger, stripping us of the full potential of our humanity…”
Please be sure to join The Feminist Wire (http://thefeministwire.com) on Thursday (May 16, 2013) and Friday (May 17, 2013) for our mini forum on Assata Shakur
Ms. Fit Manifesto -
Are you as sick as we are of mainstream health and fitness magazines that front like they are all about you looking and feeling great but never make you feel great? Are you annoyed because nobody i…
“In a world where women and queer folks are shamed about who they are, about who they love, about liking or disliking sex, about liking food, about their bodies, about their addictions and their recovery; where access to health care is used for political leverage or considered governmental benevolence instead of a fucking basic human right; we recognize that being strong and healthy is an act of political defiance against those who would like to see us weak; and that we all deserve the right to thrive.”
I am a lesbian woman of Color whose children eat regularly because I work in a university. If their full bellies make me fail to recognize my commonality with a woman of Color whose children do not eat because she cannot find work, or who has no children because her insides are rotted from home abortions and sterilization; if I fail to recognize the lesbian who chooses not to have children, the woman who remains closeted because her homophobic community is her only life support, the woman who chooses silence instead of another death, the woman who is terrified lest my anger trigger the explosion of hers; if I fail to recognize them as other faces of myself, then I am contributing not only to each of their oppressions but also to my own, and the anger which stands between us, then must be used for clarity and mutual empowerment, not for evasion by guilt or for further separation. — Audre Lorde, “The Uses of Anger,” Sister Outsider, p. 123
Savaging Women (and Men) by The Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney -
The festering scab of our rape epidemic has been ripped off (again), revealing the festering flesh underneath. Women and girls snatched off the street and held in chains for years as sex slaves; pr…
“…It is not enough for good men not to rape. It is not enough for people of faith to condemn atrocities after the fact. We must nurture human dignity in each child, each adult; teach and model manhood that is not based on conquest or dominion. The savages among us are savaging the illusion of civilization. No amount of digital technology can prevent the deployment of a weaponized penis yet technological advances and innovations further rape and trafficking. It is far past time to target men and boys and our rape-normative culture with messages of transformation. You are not savages. We will not be savaged.
The time has come for rape-culture to be buried in a grave from which it will never rise again.”
The Rise of Beyoncé, The Fall of Lauryn Hill: A Tale of Two Icons ~ The Feminist Wire -
By Janell Hobson ~ Fifteen years ago, the stardom of then-23-year-old Lauryn Hill had peaked when she released what would become her defining musical legacy. After rising to popularity as part of the hip-hop trio The Fugees, with fellow members Wyclef Jean and Pras, she later released her solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which went on to garner multiplatinum sales and five Grammy Awards for the recognizably brilliant singer-rapper. Such accomplishments made her the first female artist to be nominated for and to win the most Grammys in a single night and her album the first hip-hop-themed work to win the Grammy’s top prize of Album of the Year. Interestingly, the same year of Lauryn’s solo album debut, a 16-year-old who would later be known only by her first name – Beyoncé – also emerged on the pop scene when Destiny’s Child released their self-titled debut album. And in a curious one-degree-of-separation of the two icons, Destiny’s […]
“…Lauryn Hill and Beyoncé may be very different in their image production and in their career and personal choices, but what binds them together is their function under the high-surveillance gaze as public black women who are being disciplined and contained. What we can learn from both, however, is their political maneuverings under such a powerful gaze and how they have circulated their rage against the forces of white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism. Both icons have released some of their angriest expressions on the Internet – Beyoncé’s “Bow Down/I Been On,” coupled with her childhood photo as a teen beauty pageant winner with numerous trophies, and Ms. Hill’s “Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix),” produced under duress at the demand of her record company, SONY, to pay off her fines. In these moments of rage, one might read between the lines and take note of their refusal to be undermined by excessive criticism or to be boxed in by the corporate and mainstream expectations of pop music artists….”
My Racist Encounter at the White House Correspondents' Dinner by Seema Jilani for Huffington Post -
I don’t need you to “tolerate” me. I don’t want you to merely put up with my presence. All I ask, all I have ever asked, is to be treated as a human being, that bigoted jingoism is not injected into every minute facet my life, that there remains at least the illusion of decency.