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On the front page of USA Today for Dec. 27, 2018, we saw a shocking headline: “Grave discovery unearths legacy of Black convict labor.” The unmarked graves of 95 “prison slaves” were found on a construction site in Sugar Land, Texas. These Black men, ages 14 to 70 years old, were our ancestors and the first victims of what we have come to know as prison slavery in Amerika! These contract convict laborers were subjected to this form of slavery because the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution still allows slavery. Only the name has been changed. Slavery is still alive!
It’s Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. I am trapped inside a Texas prison known as the Eastham Ad-Seg Unit. Eastham is the oldest maximum security prison in Texas. The water has been shut completely off for four days! We can’t shower, we can’t wash our hands, and worst of all – we can’t flush our toilets, which are full of human excrement. By Day 2, the pungent odor of human waste pervades the entire building.
My sisters and brothers, we are coming up on our 12th anniversary of Black August and it is at this time we remember our Comrade Hugo “Yogi” Pinell, murdered Aug. 12, 2015, while in the custody of the state of California. We remember our Minister of Human Rights Hasan Shakur, who was murdered on Aug. 31, 2006, while in the custody of the state of Texas. The New Afrikan Black Panther Party, Prison Chapter, calls on you to remember Black August and the people’s martyrs.
Let’s touch upon the phrase, I AM WE. It is an ancient African saying. To me it means: What affects you affects me. It means: We are together; we are one. I AM WE means that with unity, solidarity and agape love for one another, we can overcome any obstacle and achieve any goal! By applying I AM WE, together we can crush imperialism, eradicate white supremacy, destroy patriarchy, change misogynistic attitudes and save our planet!
From behind the enemy lines of the California State Prison System, from within the “belly of the beast” that is the Amerikan injustice system, I greet you all and call for your full attention to the annual commemoration of Black August and invite all prisoners and families throughout Amerika to join us in honoring our beloved martyrs with fasting, studying and sharing respect and unity with Panther love and knowledge in the spirit of our fallen comrades.
My sisters and brothers and all New Afrikan Black Panther Party comrades, we are coming up on our 11th anniversary of Black August. As the NABPP-PC minister of justice, I take observance of Black August very seriously. Many people have been killed or placed into prison in our struggle. Let us not be slack in honoring them. Let us rise together to break our chains of injustice and slavery! We will not have any peace until there is justice!
The concept of Black August grew out of the need to expose to the light of day the glorious and heroic deeds of Afrikan women and men who recognized and fought injustice. We consecrate this month to those who have been taken from us but who will never be forgotten – for the love of freedom which their lives were dedicated to.
As minister of justice, my message to all the members of the NABPP-PC is long live the Panther! Empower yourselves: Don’t fear freedom. To clear our minds, I propose that we eat one meal a day throughout the month of August – and fast completely on Aug. 7 in honor of Jonathan Jackson, again on Aug. 21 in honor of George Jackson and again on Aug. 31 in honor of Hasan Shakur and all other true revolutionary comrades who have fallen in the struggle.