by Comrade Bobby Dixon
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 your attention to the annual commemoration of Black August.
I invite my fellow prisoners and their families throughout Amerika to join in honoring our beloved martyrs with fasting, studying and sharing Panther Love and knowledge, in the spirit of our fallen comrades.
As we mourn our comrades and the masses brutally murdered by the racist, fascist police this Black August, we are encouraged by the dramatic rise in awareness following the murders of George Floyd in Minnesota, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. The documentation that cell phone videos have made public and the outcry by many who have heretofore remained on the sidelines may signal a shift in consciousness that promises change.
The first enslaved Africans were brought to America in August.
Real change in institutionalized racist policies is the only way to truly honor our lost sisters and brothers. We must stand together as one, a united people determined to win our liberation in this century.
Black August was born out of prison resistance movements in the 1970s, as freedom fighters like George Jackson and the San Quentin Six fought for liberation. In solidarity and in contrast to February’s Black History Month, we celebrate August as a more radical Black history observation.
August is a potent month historically: The first enslaved Africans were brought to America in August. The deaths of W.E.B. Du Bois, the Jackson brothers and Mike Brown happened in August, as well as the births of Marcus Garvey and Fred Hampton.
Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, the Underground Railroad, the March on Washington and Ferguson’s rebellions all started in August, too. In the words of Mumia Abu Jamal, “August is a month of meaning, of repression and radical resistance, of injustice and divine justice, of righteous rebellion, of individual and collective efforts to free the slaves and break the chains that bind us.”
The deaths of W.E.B. Du Bois, the Jackson brothers and Mike Brown happened in August.
Thus the concept of Black August grew out of the need to expose to the masses the heroic deeds of those Afrikan women and men who recognized and fought against the injustices heaped upon people of color on a daily basis in America.
To clear our minds this Black August, I propose that we eat but one meal a day throughout the month, and fast completely on Aug. 7 in honor of Jonathan Jackson and on Aug. 21 in honor of George Jackson and again on Aug. 31 in honor of Hasan Shakur, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Gus Rugley, Alan Bluford, Trayvon Martin and the many young people killed by the cops and gang violence – and in loving memory of El Hajj Malcolm and Ramarley Graham.
During this month of fasting, the veterans of the struggle and elders should make a special effort to reach out and teach the youth our history and the lessons of our peoples’ struggle. We should strengthen our commitment to practicing Panther Love and throw away old grudges and resentments in order to initiate new friendships. We draw those around us closer and build the bonds of brotherhood, of sisterhood, between us.
August was the month of the births of Marcus Garvey and Fred Hampton.
If you know your enemy and know yourself, then the battle will be won. We must understand the truth and hold our friends close, those who can be trusted.
Besides fasting, comrades should work out their minds, as well as their bodies. I recommend you read the following books:
- “Like Your Life Depends on It” by Art Lewin
- “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander
- “We Are Our Own Liberators” by Jalil Muntaqim
- “Race in 21st Century America” by Darlene Clark Hine
- “Power Politics and Conflict in Organizations” by Joseph Carrer
- “Revolutionary Notes” by Julius Lester
- “Power to the People” by Bobby M. Dixon
Here is a partial listing of “Black August Martyrs”: We remember the execution of Troy Davis, Sept. 20, 2011, in Jackson, Georgia; 18-year-old Michael Brown, Aug. 9, 2014, by Ferguson, Missouri, police; Ezell Ford, killed by Los Angeles police in his Florence neighborhood, Aug. 13, 2014; Eric Garner, killed in a chokehold by police on Staten Island, New York, July 2014; Omar Abrego, father of two, killed Aug. 2, 2014, by Los Angeles police using batons at a traffic stop; John Crawford III, killed by Dayton, Ohio, cops while shopping at Walmart Aug. 5, 2014; Renisha McBride, 19, killed Nov. 2, 2013, by a white Dearborn, Michigan, homeowner when she asked for assistance after a car accident; Panther Lil’ Bobby Hutton, killed by Oakland, California, police April 6, 1968, shortly before his 18th birthday; Freddie Carlos Gray Jr., killed by Baltimore police, tased and shot in the back as he attempted to run away at a traffic stop on April 12, 2015; Malcolm Latif Shabazz, beaten to death in Mexico City, Mexico, May 9, 2013, by two club waiters over a dispute over entertainment and bar tab during a tour to demand more rights for Mexican construction workers relocated to the US.
We also remember many more people of color killed at the hands of police in the USA. The killings continue as I write these words. Thanks to cell phone videos, many more are being seen!
Send our brother some love and light: Bobby M. Dixon, C-41652, C1B-115B, P.O. Box 213040, Stockton CA 95213. We are republishing this story, written in July 2020, at Bobby’s request, and we are publishing it in July so readers will be prepared in advance this year to celebrate Black August. Read the original here: https://sfbayview.com/2020/08/black-august-2020-all-eyes-on-us-to-save-our-youth/.