RSN August 14 Fundraising
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

writing for godot

The Black Panther Party’s Living Legacy: Touring Oakland & Berkeley with Billy X Jennings

Print
Written by Angola 3 News   
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 16:13

http://youtu.be/vB2eSULbNag

The Black Panther Party’s Living Legacy
--Touring Oakland and Berkeley with Billy X Jennings
(Part One)

By Angola 3 News

This month, over twenty students enrolled in the “Dismantling Racism” class offered by St. Catherine University in Minnesota traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area. The class focused primarily on California’s prisons and what anti-prison activists are doing to challenge the human rights violations and racism endemic to California’s infamous prison system.

Last week, the class was taken around on a Black Panther History Tour in Oakland and Berkeley, led by Billy X Jennings from It’s About Time BPP Alumni & Legacy. Along with ongoing BPP history exhibits at the Alameda County Law Library in downtown Oakland and the window of Rasputin Music on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley is a new photo exhibit running until February 28, entitled Louder Than Words, at La Peña Cultural Center (3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley). An important friend and ally of the International Coalition to Free the Angola 3, Billy X Jennings’ work was previously spotlighted in an interview with Angola 3 News, entitled We Called Ourselves the Children of Malcolm.

The college class was co-led by Professor Nancy Heitzeg, of the Sociology and Critical Studies of Race and Ethnicity departments at St. Catherine University. Heitzeg was first featured in an interview with Angola 3 News about having taken a similar class on a tour at Angola State Prison in Louisiana, entitled Visiting a Modern-Day Slave Plantation. We have since done three more interviews with her: The Racialization of Crime and Punishment and Abolishing the Prison Industrial Complex (parts one and two). Heitzeg is also the editor and frequent contributor to the Criminal Injustice series at Critical Mass Progress, with her most recent articles focusing on Angola Prison & the broader Louisiana 'justice' system, as well as the January 26 protest at Chowchilla women's prison in central California.

Co-instructor William W. Smith IV is a juvenile correctional officer and community consultant on the prison industrial complex & the school to prison pipeline. Following the tour, he told Angola 3 News that he thought "the tour was very well done, with lots of information. We were extremely lucky to have that opportunity to talk and walk with Billy X Jennings. I wish more young people could be exposed to this because it was truly powerful. This information can change your mind, and it can enhance your lifestyle. Race still matters in criminal justice and all things. This tour reminds us of events/stories they want us to forget. We will not turn our backs."

Professor Heitzeg reflected on the recent tour, telling Angola 3 News:
(the rest of the article is Heitzeg's quote)

The Black Panther History tour with Billy X Jennings was an incredible experience. The discussion of the history at the site of key locations was very powerful. Students commented on how much they learned about this often hidden history; others noted how the tour undid the stereotypes and mis-education they had received about the Panthers from the mainstream. This was transformational for them.

As someone who was deeply influenced by the BPP vision at a very young age, this tour was invaluable. It was extraordinary to experience this living history through the words of Billy X. Much credit to the City of Oakland for acknowledging the legacy of the BPP through street signs and various public displays of the position of the Party and its many community programs. Certainly the living legacy of the BPP is continually expressed in a variety of programs -- breakfast programs for kids, community health clinics, and more - they we now accept as a given. We all owe them a debt of gratitude and a place of honor in our history.

The BPP's early critique of capitalism, of police brutality, of racism/exclusion in the criminal injustice system is foundational for all those of us who continue to challenge what we now call the "prison industrial complex". They were true visionaries whose call for a rainbow coalition, intersectionality and community empowerment continues to guide our work. What We Want/What We Believe - including "land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace" - has not changed at all.

(Stay tuned for part two, touring Berkeley and downtown Oakland!)

--Angola 3 News is a project of the International Coalition to Free the Angola 3. Our website is www.angola3news.com where we provide the latest news about the Angola 3. We are also creating our own media projects, which spotlight the issues central to the story of the Angola 3, like racism, repression, prisons, human rights, solitary confinement as torture, and more.

 

Comments   

We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation.

General guidelines: Avoid personal attacks on other forum members; Avoid remarks that are ethnically derogatory; Do not advocate violence, or any illegal activity.

Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action.

- The RSN Team

 
0 # angola3news 2013-01-31 16:55
Also, here is our previous interview with Billy X Jennings:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II6Q-Oom1B4
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN