Your Struggle is My Struggle
BY PIRU UMOJA
I want to first apologize for my long and unforeseen absence in communication. The struggle has not departed me. In fact, the struggle to overcome oppression has intensified.
My brothers and sisters, my temporary absence has been occupied in the ongoing fight with our oppressive judicial system. Recently, I received “material” evidence establishing my innocence. Such evidence was intentionally withheld by overzealous prosecutors in Brooklyn, NY; under the guise that said information that is favorable to my defense was miraculously misplaced. (How convenient for the prosecutor!) The great oppressor chooses to continue fighting without a care in the world other than to keep an innocent person incarcerated from family and friends. So, again my brothers and sisters, I apologize for my absence.
Now, upon reviewing the latest 4SM issue 22: Spring 2013, I was elated by some articles and unfortunately truly disturbed by quite a few articles. I will be addressing quite a few matters within this missive.
- Our beloved sister and komrade Lynne Stewart will continue to be held dear to my heart. My sister, you will remain within my thoughts. You are indeed loved, my sister. Though I have no access to internet or email, I promise you, my sister, that I will write to the white house personally (let’s hope it makes it there) as well as encourage others to do the same. You will never be forgotten, my beloved sister. I pray that upon you reading my words, they bring some form of upliftment within you, letting you know that despite these unfortunate circumstances, the fight for liberation has not been given up on. Stay strong, my sister. In solidarity. You’re loved dearly.
- Our beloved brothers Seth Hayes and Sundiata Acoli. You’ve both become pivotal figures within the history of combating oppression. You’ve both endured hardships beyond measure, that one can only begin to envision before cringing. You’ve both paved the way for us young souljahs. To not acknowledge either of you historical figures still standing firm and combating oppression under your circumstances would be a slap to the face; you’ve both sacrificed in the combat of transforming a harsher yesterday into a better today for us young souljahs and souljah’ettes to make a greater tomorrow. You both are truly loved and the fight for liberation will never end until an end has come to oppression.
- The “No Justice When Women Fight Back” article by Victoria Law was very powerful and piercing. I am very familiar with Patreese Johnson’s and her friends’ case. Though already incarcerated, I followed her ordeal via newspapers. As for our beloved sister Marissa Alexander. My sister, how troubling. Your ordeal has touched me. Now not only were you failed and denied the protection you so much needed, but so were your children, by a system that ultimately preys on and seeks to weaken the strong and, of course, our strong women. You are truly thought of, my sister. Despite my incarceration, I pray that my words touch you and continue to strengthen you, knowing you are not fighting this struggle alone. It truly disturbs me at how flawed the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida is. Raising such a defense that is supported by surmountable evidence isn’t privileged to young black women or minority individuals (how convenient for the oppressor); yet on July 13, 2013, the same state allowed a jury to return a verdict of not guilty in the matter of George Zimmerman in which an unarmed 17-year-old black kid was murdered. This oppressive judicial system is designed to restrict us of our soul. Failure is not an option, my sister, and thus far, you’re a winner because you’ve chosen to keep fighting for your liberation and that’s the importance of a revolutionary. Because, in order to overthrow the oppressor or any entity occupied by the oppressor, we must first overthrow ourselves and engulf ourselves with the ideals of change for progress. My sister, sadly many presume strength to be in numbers. You, my sister, among so many of our beloved sisters (e.g., Harriet Tubman, Lolita Lebrón, Marilyn Buck, Assata Shakur, Amelia Weston, Inez García, Patreese Johnson, Rosa Parks, Elaine Brown, Silvia Baraldini, et al.), are the epitome of strength. You’ve all encountered individual hardships that at times were beyond measure. The struggle you’ve all endured individually coupled with the ability to not lay down on your back content, but rather exhibit the courage of a warriorette to stand and fight back without compromise is none other than strength. I commend you, my sister. As a brother to you in struggle, my sister, your struggle is my struggle. The fight can’t and never will be over until oppression is over. All praises are due to your first husband, Lincoln Alexander, and your sister Helena Jenkins for supporting you throughout such an unfortunate ordeal that at times tend to break an already weakened individual spirit to fight. In solidarity. You are loved sincerely, my sister.
- Brother Rashid Johnson. Your ordeal was very troublesome indeed to learn. My brother, through your extensive knowledge and understanding of these agents provocateur, never forget as Komrade Jaan Laaman stated: “Our eating partners/circle should be close people who we have trust and some history with.”
Death was recently at your front door to end your fight against oppression. You survived such an ordeal for a reason, as the great oppressor stood around “waiting, wanting and watched” for you to succumb to such an unfortunate encounter. You’ve prevailed such an ordeal and marveled others while the great oppressor sought your ultimate demise. Allow such an unfortunate encounter to become the eye opener you may have needed to prevent you from becoming gullible to those who present themselves to be a mirror of you in their on-going pursuit to capture your trust only to bring about your unfortunate demise.
This goes for all my brothers and sisters in struggle. Scrutinize those who eagerly seek to embrace you without research. As sad as it is, this is what caused the unfortunate and untimely physical death of our brothers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. An informant for the police who infiltrated the Black Panthers and excelled unnoticed thereafter, becoming brother Fred Hampton’s bodyguard, gave police a complete layout of brother Fred’s apartment, including the room where he’d be resting with his beautiful wife who was pregnant with Fred Hampton, Jr.
Brother Rashid, as well as my other beloved brothers and sisters in this ongoing fight for liberation, don’t allow yourself to become the victim of tactics orchestrated by the great oppressor, yet employed by those who seek to embrace you in hopes of causing your demise. This is something to think about, brothers and sisters.
Brother Rashid, it’s a warming pleasure to learn that you’re back and also healthy. We want you to stay healthy. Keeping the grass cut low will give you the advantage to see these agents provocateur coming a mile away. Real talk!
Now, as we all know or shall know at least, this is the Revolutionary Month of Black August (the month I was born, August 13, 1979).
August 21, 1831 is the day many who had yet to learn he existed soon gravitated to his cause. His battle was not for just himself, but rather, for the liberty of the oppressed. Oppression was not ignored by our beloved brother, who is known as Nat Turner. His uprising was in Virginia, where racism was of great worry to the weak and oppressed. In spirit, Nat Turner is to live on and never be forgotten.
August 7, 1970. Physical age, he was still a child. In spirit and commitment, he was a man, which led him to being named “manchild.” Our beloved brother Jonathan Jackson engulfed himself with the much-needed energy to seek an end to oppression. Though the spirit of resistance against oppression already existed within him, he had not yet understood the purpose of his existence until communicating with his oldest brother. Jonathan Jackson did not hesitate in seeking to liberate brothers William Christmas, James McClain and Ruchell Magee, known as the Soledad Brothers (his brother wasn’t present, though he was a Soledad Brother as well), from Marin County Courthouse, where he was gunned down ultimately, not for himself, but more so, for the liberation of the people who would have made the ultimate sacrifice for him without hesitation. He learned that in struggle, his life was no longer his, but rather the People’s, who he stood up for diligently despite his early and untimely return to the essence physically. In spirit, Komrade Jonathan Jackson lives on.
August 21, 1971. Exactly 140 years from the date of the Nat Turner Virginia uprising. Our beloved brother and Komrade George Jackson was brutally gunned down by overzealous prison guards in their oppressive attempt to eliminate the souljahs who failed to compromise their principles and morals for personal gratification. This atrocity was felt and troubled so many lives everywhere, which ultimately led to many other uprisings, namely the Attica uprising from September 9, 1971 to September 13, 1971. The call was clear. We either fight the oppressor to end oppression or we succumb to the oppressor and continue to be oppressed.
The many uprisings to purge oppression cannot be ignored. Though we may be in a different era in which our youth are easily led astray from productive growth, it is the duty of “us” who know the struggle and its ramifications to teach the youth and keep them from going astray, landing in the pitfalls of the great oppressor. We are still subjected to the conditions of oppression and, to overcome such oppressive conditions, we must stand firm within our belief system and fight to end oppression, not fight to end each other over verbal nonsense that can be resolved diplomatically or a color that will still exist long after we are gone. Let’s get it together, brothers and sisters. Because this struggle is real. There’s nothing fake about this ongoing fight to end struggle and undue hardships and burdens.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution in values.” This statement is so imperative in order to birth a better tomorrow for our youth.
August is so monumental in history. The revolutionary history of August thus far dates back to August 16, 1768.
Never forget, brothers and sisters, the aim is to win. Refusing to speak up or sitting down doing nothing will never make us winners. To win, we must stand up, rise up to the occasion, stand firm in our beliefs and never succumb.
Salutes to all my brothers and sisters who are fighting to end oppression the way you know how to fight. I applaud my politically intelligent revolutionary unit and black liberators overcoming our oppression sincerely.
I look forward to hearing from anyone who seeks to build and destroy. I have no access to the internet or email services. My contact is as follows:
Attica Correctional Facility, PO Box 149
Attica, New York 14011-0149