Liberated territory for decolonization: Reflections on the 12th Street Reunion
by Kwame “Beans” Shakur, Chairman and Co-Founder of New Afrikan Liberation Collective and National Director of Prison Lives Matter
This is a manifestation of our mandate to Free The Land, a tangible form of FROLINAN’s (Front for the Liberation of the New Afrikan Nation) decolonization programs. Leading up to the event, i advised the people to begin to question or challenge everything under capitalist – colonial – rule and in regards to freeing the land.
How or why are we being exploited and extorted by the state for land or property that we have already bought? One of the things that NALC (New Afrikan Liberation Collective) and the Social and Cultural Development Fund are organizing the community around is demanding that the city erase the back taxes on the land on which we are building The New Afrikan People’s Center.
Once we overstand who we are as a people and our international human rights, we have to begin to operate as a sovereign people in an autonomous manner.
Knowing that the oppressor nation and the state have no real jurisdiction over us, the united states government only exists in a 10-mile parcel of land known as the District of Columbia. These institutions that have been created in order to extort the people out of property taxes are fabricated.
The land belongs to the people and was all stolen from the Indigenous natives to these shores. We have to acknowledge these forms of institutionalized white supremacy colonization and genocide for what they are.
Comrade Jalil Muntaqim traveled to Terre Haute, Ind., to step foot on the land and speak to the community about the significance of FROLINAN and The New Afrikan People’s Center for Decolonization and also to speak to the entire NAIM (New Afrikan Independence Movement) and our human rights campaigns through Prison Lives Matter and Spirit of Mandela to highlight the fact that The New Afrikan People’s Center is so much bigger than Terre Haute and NALC.
This is a central organizing hub for the entire movement. This is for cadre training and development. The New Afrikan People’s Center is infrastructure to employ RNA (Republic of New Afrika) governmental workers to rebuild our nation and activate the national strategy for FROLINAN.
It’s about building community and establishing liberated territory; it’s about combating the socio-cultural genocide our people are suffering from in Terre Haute. It’s about turning theory into applicable forms of practice and action.
In order for this to be successful we have to destroy the neo-colonial mentality that even our revolutionary comrades suffer from, meaning: We have to act like a group of people who are truly striving to rebuild a nation and establish concrete programs for decolonization. There is too much rhetoric and not enough infrastructure being put in place.
Rebuild to Win! We Are Our Own Liberators!
by Kwame Shakur Freedom Campaign
During the 1960s and ‘70s, Kwame’s grandfather, Robert Joyner Sr., was one of the leading revolutionary activists in Terre Haute. As vice chairman of his formation, he and his comrades founded the Hyte Center, now known as the Booker T. Washington Community Center, in 1970 to serve as a community liberation center and survival program.
“Anytime we have buildings in our community, they should be embedded with the idea that the purpose they serve is for independence to relieve ourselves from the conditions of white supremacy in all its facets,” Muntaqim stated.
“These community centers should be liberation centers, the means in which we should educate and organize our people with the goal and objective of liberation. We need to take these buildings back and put them back in the hands of the people of the community.
“This center, as many people know, used to be in the hands of and the property of the Joyner family. This was Kwame Shakur’s grandfather’s property. Over a period of time, as often happens in New Afrikan communities, the property was taken away.
“We have to fight to get them back – and that is what Kwame is doing today. He is trying to get back what is his own legacy and use it for the purpose of the community. We should give him recognition for that.”
12th Street Reunion
The land where the New Afrikan People’s Center will be built and which hosted the 12th Street Reunion on May 21, 2022, is at the corner of South 12th and Cruft, across from the Booker T. Washington Community Center. That facility is now run by a man of European descent and with the support of neo-colonized agents. The event was primarily organized by Kwame and his mother, Kelly Oxendine.
“What’s going on here in Terre Haute is an example of what needs to happen across the country. I am talking about decolonization programs, building FROLINAN. Kwame has taken the lead in regard to building these areas, as well as Abbas Muntaqim in California’s Bay Area. What we are doing here is establishing the basis from which we call liberated territory,” Muntaqim pointed out.
“Wherever New Afrikans are, we want to build toward these liberated territories. This is the foundation. He is building a community center in the heart of Terre Haute for the purpose of, and under the name of, New Afrika. He is changing the narrative in regard to our struggle … here in Terre Haute and across the country.”
The start of the event was delayed three hours by rain, but supporters continued showing up throughout. Kwame’s family members prepared food both for the event and for houseless members of the community nearby.
The meal was capped off by two special-design cakes, one with a photo of Kwame and the words “Free the Land” and “Free Kwame” and the other with a “My Block” design and the 12th and Cruft sign – the same design as a tattoo both Kwame and his father sport.
Muntaqim, who traveled from Rochester, New York, and longtime freedom fighter Jabari Tidmore, of the Re-Build Collective from Chicago, were the featured speakers. Four members of the Kwame Shakur Freedom Campaign traveled to the event and spoke with two people coming from Illinois and two from Ohio. They were joined on the panel by a local supporter, musician and videographer.
Words from Kwame’s supporters
“Kwame Shakur. Remember that name,” declared Jalil Muntaqim. “The brother is incarcerated. We need to free him. We need to free Lil’ Beans. We need him in the streets. The course of action we are taking is following his lead in terms of Prison Lives Matter. Keep that in mind at all times.
“That’s how I came out. I got out of prison after doing almost 50 years in the state penitentiary. We need to have all our comrades out, all our brothers and sisters who are political prisoners. We need to fight to get them out so they can do this kind of work,” advised Muntaqim.
“This brother is doing the work inside of the penitentiary. He reminds me of me, what I was doing when I was in the penitentiary, and I’m out here continuing the work. We need brothers and sisters to come out here and continue to do the work.
“Free Kwame! Free Lil’ Beans! Build the New Afrikan People’s Center in Terre Haute. It is our future. We are tired of living under a system of white supremacy. We are going to build out from under that. This is one of the processes, building decolonization programs across the country. Do the work, bruh, do the work. We got you. All power to the people!”
Muntaqim spoke first before a focused and attentive crowd about the importance of decolonization programs and the work Kwame is doing before honoring Oxendine for her tireless work on behalf of her son, presenting her with a copy of the newest edition of his groundbreaking book, “We Are Our Own Liberators.”
Oxendine thanked Muntaqim and all those working on Kwame’s behalf before introducing four of his staunchest supporters, including Andy Williams Jr., who leads the legal and research team of the Freedom Campaign.
“I’ve been telling Kwame about the united states as a criminal enterprise. It is literally a RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization] criminal enterprise, and the racket is slavery,” Williams remarked.
“Jalil wrote the book [about what we need to do]. The book is here. Follow that so our kids and their kids won’t be defending their rights, but they will be living because it’s right!” Williams passed the microphone to comrades Timothy Farrell and Keshawn Walker from Cleveland.
“You’ve seen all the things that he does. His heart has never left the community. His spirit, his soul has never left the community. He’s not only doing this from prison, but from the prison inside the prison,” commented Farrell, who serves on the outreach committee of the Freedom Campaign.
“We are in a state of war.”
“He’s in the hole [solitary confinement] and he’s been in the hole for the last six years. He’s still getting this work done every day. I trust in the people and in Andy that Kwame is coming home.”
“There’s no reason that everyone here in Terre Haute should not be taking what we are saying and telling that to somebody else. That’s how the (Black) Panthers pushed their education,” Walker informed the crowd.
“10-10-10. The 10 people that hear it tell another 10, who tell another 10. We may not be as structured as those brothers, but even one-to-one, push this thing. We are heavily colonized, but we can work with that. This thing benefits the people and who am I looking at right now? The people. I am the people. We are the people.”
Jabari Tidmore completed the speaking portion of the event by stressing the nature of the fight we are in. “We are in a state of war. The Black Liberation Army was a response to that war against Afrikan people. Today, we have brothers and sisters incarcerated that are a part of that war,” he illuminated.
“We all have a part to play in this warfare. In this space that brought all of us together to support Kwame Shakur, we are on land that can be used to do something. We want to come back to this space and see that something more is being done to develop this place of liberation.”
‘T.H.U.G L.I.F.E – From Gangster to Growth’
The following day, Walker and fellow Cleveland comrade Sir Champagne filmed Muntaqim for his part in Kwame’s documentary, ‘T.H.U.G L.I.F.E – From Gangster to Growth,’ at Oxendine’s home.
Muntaqim compared Kwame to powerful revolutionaries of the past. “George Jackson was an individual doing the same kind of work. The Soledad Brothers, the San Quentin Six, the Marion 11 and many more across the country who were engaged in resisting the oppression that is representative of this government while they are inside prison.
“There is a legacy which Kwame Shakur is adhering to, supporting and building toward, creating his own legacy with regard to resistance,” he explained. “Particularly coming from where he did as a gang member to a revolutionary, that evolution makes him an example to others of what is possible and what needs to happen.
“I give kudos to Kwame Shakur. I honor the brother in the sacrifices he has made to be a contributing factor in our overall struggle moving forward. He is one of the great ones.”
While Kwame spends the overwhelming majority of his phone calls from inside organizing and focused on others, Muntaqim makes sure to remind him not to lose focus on his own case, which led to the formation of the Kwame Shakur Freedom Campaign.
“Before I get off any call with Kwame, I say: ‘What are you doing about your case? When are we going to get you out of there?’ I’m ready to go sit in a rocking chair,” he laughed. “Just kidding. I’m a long way from getting in a rocking chair. Even when I do get in a rocking chair, I need someone to rock that chair for me and that’s going to be Kwame.”
Kwame Shakur Freedom Campaign goal: to free Kwame Shakur
Committees: The work of each committee must align with the overarching goal of freeing Kwame “Lil’ Beans” Shakur from his enslavement – imprisonment. Committees will meet separately, but they will all come together fully for regularly scheduled meetings and maintain consistent communication with one another toward the goal.
- Communications and Networking
The committee will be responsible for reaching out to other groups, organizations and people to support Kwame’s release. The focus will be on building relationships with others to build a strong network to support Kwame and commit to working toward his release. The committee will also be responsible for email management, specifically in responding to emails.
- Legal and Research
Research information on Kwame’s case and other cases, laws and precedents to support his release. While some people will have more legal knowledge than others, no knowledge is required to do important research. This also includes researching local and state laws that pertain particularly to Kwame’s case and the people and institutions who captured him and are currently enslaving him.
- Outreach – Social Media and Media Subcommittees
- Social Media: Responsibilities include monitoring and posting on all social media accounts associated with Kwame, website management, flyers and developing promotional materials for events and Kwame’s defense.
- Media: Responsibilities include working with print newspapers and magazines, podcasts and webinars. Will also work with photography and video production.
- Fundraising: Raising money specifically for Kwame’s defense and for any support that will benefit our efforts in Kwame gaining his freedom. The initial responsibility will be selecting a platform for donations and a structure for financial accounting and accountability. The committee will engage with other committees as it develops platforms and strategies for raising money.
- Direct Action: “Boots on the Ground” work which includes community action in Terre Haute and Indianapolis. The actions can be anything that has an effective strategy with a specific ask or goal. This may include demonstrations, disruptions – sit-ins, blockades – events etc. In addition to running the actions, the committee will be responsible for building a group of local supporters for the events.
Kwame Shakur is a New Afrikan political prisoner currently enslaved in solitary confinement at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. He is the chairman and co-founder, with Shaka Shakur, of the New Afrikan Liberation Collective and is the national director of Prison Lives Matter. To get involved with his Freedom Campaign, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Donate to the New Afrikan People’s Center here. Send our brother some love and light: Kwame Shakur, 149677, WVCF, P.O. Box 1111, Carlisle, IN 47838.