Sisters & Brothers,
Tomorrow, June 22, 2010, will mark the 10th anniversary of the murder of our Brother Shaka Sankofa (Gary Graham).
The 10-year battle waged to save his life and expose the white supremacist system encompassed local, national and international formations from every social, political, economic and religious stratum.
One of the aspects of this struggle perhaps most impressive to me was it touched the grassroots youth of our community locally.
Our home grown Hip-Hop community and street soldiers supported in different ways the struggle to save his life. This fact eludes many efforts today.
The support from the youth can be partially credited to Sister Krystal Muhammad. She helped take it right to the streets.
In addition, Shaka had an uncanny way of reaching people from death row.
I can remember on at least two occasions when Sister Krystal and I entered clubs with Hip-Hop artists, music banging, drugs flowing, and people partying hard.
But then, we witnessed silence and respect coming over the audience when we, representing on Shaka's behalf, took to the stage to call for support. We left with trash bags full of donations.
As I stated before, a broad spectrum in our community engaged to one extent or another in this battle.
The following are excerpts from a letter Shaka wrote me dated July 18, 1999.
"I embrace you in the spirit of African brotherhood and solidarity. On behalf of myself and my family and all of the many people fighting to achieve justice in this historic cause, I am writing personally to convey our gratitude and deep appreciation for the committed and uncompromising support of yourself and all the wonderful sisters and brothers of the National Black United Front who has played a vital role in this historic struggle against genocide and national oppression, while protesting and raising hell in the streets to prevent my legal lynching and execution. My brother, let us be clear about the fact that I am alive today only because socially conscious people like yourself spoke out loudly against this racism and injustice-for no other reason. The genocidal obstacles that we face in our struggle for the freedom and liberation of oppressed people is great but even greater are the power of the people. Let us also be conscious of the fact that the real power to liberate myself and all political prisoners from this injustice and oppression exists not in racist capitalist courtrooms of america but in the ability of our sisters and brothers and allies to build powerful grassroots progressive and revolutionary movements in the streets."