Last weekend, former Black Panther party leader Sekou Odinga, who spent 33 years behind bars convicted of the attempted murder of police officers in the 1980s, gathered with his advocacy group outside movie theaters in New York City to “educate” audiences of the blockbuster superhero film Black Panther about the real-life Black Panthers.
The UK Guardian reports that the movie, with its all-black cast and message of racial superiority, has revived calls from attorneys, families and civil rights leaders for the release of more than a dozen jailed former members of the Black Panther Party (BPP), the radical group founded in 1966 in Oakland, California.
“Many are in the worst prisons and the worst conditions, and a lot of them are getting older and suffer from health problems,” said Odinga. “This is an opportunity to remind people of the real heroes of the Black Panthers and the conditions they live in today.”
Odinga clearly has a different definition of “heroes” from the one we have at TruthRevolt. We don’t find anything heroic about domestic terrorism, but hey, we’re quirky that way.
The Guardian has more:
“We have to educate people that this has all happened before, and it will happen again if we’re not careful,” said Malkia Cyril, a California activist whose mother was a Black Panther. Kamau Sadiki, a former Black Panther whom Cyril considers an uncle, was convicted decades after the 1971 killing of an officer and is still in prison, where he has maintained his innocence.
“We need people to understand that these are not simply criminals who committed some heinous crime being punished,” said Cyril. “These are black activists who are largely being punished for their activism.”
No, they’re largely being punished for their criminal activities, which stemmed from their radical racial activism against law enforcement and the government, irregardless of the leftist Guardian’s attempt to whitewash the organization’s criminality by touting its “free breakfasts for children, health clinics and ‘liberation’ schools.”
“They all uplifted people,” said former Black Panther leader Ericka Huggins, who hopes that the new film _Black Panther_ spreads a positive message about such fellow radicals as convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, a darling of willfully blind celebrity activists who periodically call for his release.
“Mumia is always focused on working toward the liberation of black people and all oppressed people,” said his lawyer Bret Grote. “He is quite optimistic and brimming with energy and life, and they’ve never been able to diminish that for a moment despite what they’ve put him through.”
Too bad Abu-Jamal’s victim, Philadelphia Police officer Daniel Faulkner, is no longer brimming with life thanks to all that Abu-Jamal put him through – namely, a point-blank execution in 1981, for which Abu-Jamal was unanimously convicted of first-degree murder.
Kietryn Zychal, a Nebraska writer and activist, sees Black Panther as an opportunity to bring attention to the case of incarcerated former Panther member Ed Poindexter, sentenced to life for a bombing that killed another police officer. Monifa Akinwole-Bandele, whose father was a Black Panther, said incarcerated BPP members are repeatedly denied parole in the face of pressure from police unions.
Gee, we wonder why.
She said she hoped the presentation of powerful black characters in the new superhero movie could inspire audiences in the same way that the BPP inspired her. Hopefully it will inspire audiences in exactly the opposite way that the BPP inspired some to hate and murder.
For more on the Black Panther Party, check out the BPP’s profile page at the Freedom Center’s invaluable resource page, Discover the Networks.