by The People’s Minister of Information JR
Founded in Oakland California by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, in October of 1966, the Black Panther Party is one of the monumental eras in the history of the United States when Black people organized to provide much needed services to the Black community and to fight a sustained battle against this genocidal system that sees the masses of the Black community as wage slaves, prison slaves or walking targets.
Steve Long was in his teens when he joined the Black Panther Party in New York City in ‘69. Today Long is the communications director of the National Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party and is gearing up for the annual Tupac Shakur Birthday Tribute/NAABPP fundraiser, which will be held on June 14 at Yoshi’s in San Francisco.
Check out what Steve Long has to say in his own words about the Black Panther Party and The National Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party …
M.O.I. JR: When, where and how did you get involved with the Black Panther Party?
Steve Long: I was born and raised in Brooklyn, in Fort Greene projects. I joined the Black Panther Party in August of 1969. I was fresh out of high school. I had been hearing about the Panthers while still in high school and went to some rallies for the NY 21 at 1 Center St. I started out working on the free breakfast for school children program and selling the party’s newspaper, The Black Panther.
M.O.I. JR: What were the greatest contributions of the Black Panther Party?
Steve Long: I believe one of the greatest contributions of the Party was the 10 Point Platform and Program. This document speaks to lots of the ills of the country and offered up solutions. Many of the issues raised in the 10 Point Program are still very applicable today, a prime example of which is the rise of police murders of Black, Brown and poor people.
The implementation of the Party’s survival programs, i.e. free breakfast for school children, free clothing and shoes programs, free pest control, free health clinics, busing to prisons, etc. were based on that platform and program. These programs were carried out by dedicated young men and women – lots of us were only teenagers – some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice and some of whom are wrongly incarcerated; collectively, BPP political prisoners and prisoners of war have served over 800 years. There were many programs in many of the major cities around the country.
The Party’s survival programs were carried out by dedicated young men and women – lots of us were only teenagers – some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice and some of whom are wrongly incarcerated; collectively, BPP political prisoners and prisoners of war have served over 800 years.
M.O.I. JR: What is the National Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party? When was it founded? And by who?
Steve Long: The National Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party was an idea put forth by several rank and file members along with some of the founding members of the original Black Panther Party. The idea came to fruition on the weekend of Nov. 5-7, 2010, in Oakland, California.
This is our statement of purpose:
The purpose of the National Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party (NAABPP) is to promote and sustain the legacy of the Black Panther Party, to provide information, resources and linkages to advance and promote community organizing, to support social and criminal justice, youth development, education initiatives, advocacy and programs. The NAABPP will create resource development strategies to support ongoing and future programs and projects and to contribute to advancing the work and support of incarcerated individuals and affected families.
Our slogan is: UNFINISHED BUSINESS.
M.O.I. JR: What kind of work does the National Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party do?
Steve Long: Many of our members are connected to other organizations, providing leadership and direction and organizing expertise. We believe we are in a unique position to help with these national and local endeavors because of our years of community organizing experience.
M.O.I. JR: Why does the National Association of the Black Panther Party organize a fundraiser in San Francisco annually, on the birthday of legendary rapper Tupac Shakur?
Steve Long: My business partner, good friend and comrade for over 40 years, Bobby McCall, the father of Money B, was approached by Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother, to organize something to commemorate her son. Tupac is what we affectionately refer to as a Panther Cub.
Bobby asked me to get involved and I did. We are thankful that Yoshi’s San Francisco, 1330 Fillmore St., agreed to be the venue for the inaugural fundraiser. The Yoshi’s location is in almost the exact spot of our San Francisco office – the home of Black Panther Party Central Distribution. The party’s newspaper was printed at Howard Quinn’s at 16th and Alabama, now out of business, trucked to 1336 Fillmore, our office address, where it was broken down into shipment lots to the various chapters and branches of the party and all of the newspaper’s subscribers from around the country and the world.
The Yoshi’s location is in almost the exact spot of our San Francisco office – the home of Black Panther Party Central Distribution, where The Black Panther newspaper was broken down into shipment lots to the various chapters and branches of the party and all of the newspaper’s subscribers from around the country and the world.
M.O.I. JR: How have these Tupac parties panned out?
Steve Long: This is the third annual celebration. The first year was wonderful. We had a fantastic performance by the Bay Area legends Digital Underground with appearances by special guests. The celebration was well attended and we were able to raise some much needed funding to help the NAABPP continue to flourish.
We are raising funds for our Panther political prisoners, to provide commissary money, stamps, paper and other things to help with getting information on the plights of our comrades, many of whom have spent over 40 years locked down. We are also in the early planning stages for a 50th year reunion and celebration of the founding of the Black Panther Party in Oakland in 2016.
M.O.I. JR: What can people do to further aid the NAABPP?
Steve Long: People can get involved in their communities. There is so much to get involved with at this time. So many young people being murdered by the police and each other, hunger, homelessness etc. Just do something.
As far as the NAABPP is concerned, material contributions are always welcome; we are a 501c3 organization. BPP memorabilia is being gathered for display, with the long term goal of establishing a permanent exhibit or museum for people to learn about the history of the BPP.
M.O.I. JR: How could people keep up with the NAABPP online?
Steve Long: The NAABPP’s official web site is naabpp.org – I am the website manager – and we have an official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NAABPP. We recently published a booklet called “Over 800 Years” that identifies the Black Panthers who are presently incarcerated and those who are exiled and those who perished in the dungeons of this country. It can be obtained for $10 plus $3 shipping and handling, with the proceeds going to the political prisoners fund, by contacting me, Steve Long, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for the opportunity to do this.
The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and the newly released “Unfinished Business: Block Reportin’ 2” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe” and “Block Reportin’ 101,” available, along with many more interviews, at www.blockreportradio.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.