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Melvin Dickson made the transition to join his ancestors on Oct. 25, 2018, in Berkeley, California. He was 77 years old. Melvin was a long-time and dedicated member of the Black Panther Party, which shaped his thinking and commitment to the interests of all people for the rest of his life. As we honor Melvin’s life and legacy, we hope that you will join us for this very special celebration: All Power to the People! Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, 2-6 p.m., at Met West High School.
I really enjoyed the few times we exchanged ideas about the new Black Liberation Movement. I was a little surprised when you told me that you consider yourself to be a Black revolutionary because most young brothers who gangbang don’t identify themselves as such; and that’s because being one requires opposing and resisting racism and other systems of oppression, which is a huge burden and responsibility. Others simply don’t understand the concept of a revolutionary.
When I first met Elder, he was introduced to me as Kojo. He served his time with the dignity and the spirit of a caged Panther. I know that spirit, as it was reflected by the many other Panthers who were serving time in San Quentin, like Geronimo ji jaga, the indomitable Chip Fitzgerald and many others. Back in the ‘70s, San Quentin was a dangerous prison, where someone could lose his life in the blink, yet Kojo/Elder walked the main yard with no fear.
As we move into the next solar return, there is much to look forward to despite the stasis that seems to infect this nation with the disease of white supremacy or racial domination. OK OK, perhaps the silver lining is a bit too buried to find Osumare’s twinkle beyond any pots of gold you’ve stumbled upon recently. The knowledge that no matter how it looks, the Creator is in charge and the bad guys just look like they are always winning is what sustains us.
Lifelong freedom fighter and field secretary and founding member of the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party Ronald Elder Freeman made his transition on Oct. 8, 2014, after a long and valiant battle with cancer. Ironically, Elder Freeman’s brother, Roland Freeman – the two were born only a year apart and were, they say, as close as twins – died exactly a week after Elder as he was preparing to bring Elder’s ashes back to California.
At Legal Services for Prisoners with Children’s 35th Anniversary Celebration on Oct. 19, headlined by Dr. Angela Y. Davis and Michelle Alexander, I noticed immediately the “logo,” a phoenix rising from the ashes, the theme for California Coalition for Women Prisoners’ 15th Anniversary celebration of the Fire Inside two years ago. All of Us or None is 10 years old now, and LSPC at 35 is the parent of CCWP.
I am happy to report that our beloved Elder Ronald Freeman, veteran L.A. Chapter Black Panther Party founding member and deacon in the African Orthodox Church, is doing a lot better. Keep praying for him, ‘cause he wants to go home and get to Cuba. Send him cards at All of Us or None, c/o LSPC, 1540 Market St., Suite 490, San Francisco, CA 94102.
Cynthia McKinney’s fundraiser tour for the SF Bay View was a huge success up and down California, hitting San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland and Santa Rosa. The tour, which was titled “Latin America, Africa, and Obama,” coincided with the release of McKinney’s second book, “Ain’t Nothing Like Freedom,” an autobiography about her years as a six-term Congress member from Georgia.
A now famous quote from Ernesto Che Guevara says, “At the risk of sounding ridiculous, the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” The legacy of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense has proven this repeatedly, even though the city in which the party was born continues to shower those who struggle within her boundaries with the most heinous disrespect.
In an earlier statement, I said that Richard Aoki is and was my respected friend, comrade, mentor and crime partner. I received the feedback that I had used fine words but had given no examples to show what I meant. I accept that criticism and the following is my response. I hope that you can see what kind of cat the brotha was.
Richard Aoki lived a full life, as dictated by the four winds and the revolutionary party that he served. He was indeed a revolutionary in every sense of the word. Well done, Field Marshal Richard Aoki. Please ride the four winds in dashing splendor, as only you can, so that young people will breathe in the essence of your courage.
Denise, Marilyn, Anna and I, with Harriett at the wheel, left West Oakland BART in the second carpool wave for Sacramento Tuesday, Aug. 23, at 9:30 a.m. to attend a pre-rally for the historic California Assembly Hearing on Solitary Confinement.