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On Jan. 21, 2018, our loved elder, revolutionary leader and teacher Hon. Richard “Mafundi” Lake joined the Ancestors. For the many of us who had the privilege of being in the classroom of life with Ancestor Mafundi, let his transition serve as yet another lesson to us of the immediacy of our situation behind these walls and serve as a reminder of why we can’t wait to commit our all to the struggle to end slavery in America. We are, without any doubt, still slaves and chattel here in America for no reason other than the color of our skin.
The tragic news came to the Bay View from Taharka Omowale that Black Panther Political Prisoner Richard “Mafundi” Lake had joined the ancestors. Mafundi’s decades of schooling the youth in Alabama prisons makes him the progenitor of the Free Alabama Movement and the current, burgeoning prison abolition movement across the country. The Bay View invites you, if your life was touched by Mafundi, to write a brief tribute for publication.
As we continue to raise awareness and lift up our voices so that we may be heard on the issues of systemic racism and economic exploitation in the criminal justice system, as well as prison slavery and police killings and brutality, we continue to see an evil and determined enemy dig in its heels in the name of White Supremacy. In October 2017, it was reported that the Trump administration is seeking more immigration jails and detention facilities to house more immigrants that they plan to arrest.
I started writing this series and planning this Campaign to Redistribute the Pain with the intention of getting everyone’s understanding up on the importance and power of economics to our struggle. We can’t march and protest our way to freedom. Instead, we have to bankrupt the corporate enterprise that was created by the 13th Amendment. I don’t make this statement lightly: The approximately 3 million people in U.S. prisons are or represent the most powerful group of labor in this country.
We write to ask your assistance in securing compassionate release from prison for an elderly, disabled prisoner in poor health. Richard (Mafundi) Lake is serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole in an Alabama state prison – the mandatory term under the state’s “three strikes and you’re out” policy. Now 76, Mafundi is in poor health in an overcrowded prison that is inadequately heated during the cold weather and without air conditioning in the stifling Alabama summers.
I am a cadre of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter, currently incarcerated at Red Onion Prison in the southwest corner of Virginia. I’ve been a subscriber to SF Bayview for 14 months. I recently received the August 2016 issue, which came as a pleasant surprise. Prior to that, my copies of Bayview were arbitrarily disapproved with the pseudo-justification that “content could be detrimental to offenders’ rehabilitation efforts.”
My message is not just to the men and women in these solitary holes. I myself am in one right now. My message is to the whole 2.5 million victims of mass incarceration and prison slavery. Everyone! All of us around the country, let’s just shut down. Wherever you are, just stop working. If you are in solitary confinement, spread the word to those rotating in and out. When they try to lock up those who organize and lead the shutdowns in population, don’t even give up.
Abdul Olugbala Shakur and M. Ajanaku are in the process of collecting essays written by New Afrikan Black political prisoners and political prisoners of war for a book titled “In the Spirit of George Jackson.” Proceeds from sale of the book will be donated to the San Francisco Bay View and the New Afrikan Criminology Academy (NACA).