By Black Panther Party/B.L.A. Political Prisoner Sundiata Acoli
Statement in Tribute to Zayd Malik Shakur
Greetings to all,
This is the type of speech i’m always happy to make: talking about comrades who’ve stood at the “Scratch line.” In case you’re not familiar with the term, “Standing at the Scratch line,” it is a gritty book by Guy Johnson, son of the late great actress/poet, Maya Angelou. The book is a Black-favorite of revolutionaries, prisoners, gangsters, communities of color, etc., that tells of the lives, trials, tribulations and triumphs of a Black New Orleans family over three generations, somewhat similar to the “Empire” series on TV today.
“Scratch line” is also the name of an old game played by Black kids down South in which they draw a line on the ground and the pack tries to drag anyone who stands on the line off, by whatever means. The last one standing unchallenged on the scratch line is the winner.
In Texas the same game is called “Downing Ground.” It has the same purpose: to be the last one standing as the rest of the pack tries to knock you or anyone standing off their feet by any means necessary. Anything goes: flying tackles, blind siding, elbows, crack back-tripping or whatever. One must either get down on one knee or get knocked down.
There is a passage in the book in which a family character says: “City Hall’s trying every way they can to kill us and all we’re doing is trying to stand at the scratchline.” Well that was Zayd Malik Shakur.
He was a fly young urban brother who stood at the scratchline day-in and day-out for his people, his family, his comrades and anyone who would stand with him. To him/us that was the Black Panther Party. Zayd was the Minister of Information for the Bronx NY, BPP. i was the Finance Officer for the Harlem NY BPP. Though we lived and operated in different boroughs, we regularly bumped into each other as we circulated thru out the City engaged in Panther activities.
Zayd Shakur was the blood brother of the late Lumumba Shakur, the Harlem NY BPP’s Defense Captain, beloved and respected by all – and the main reason so many activists then and now are named Shakur, including his wife, the late Afeni Shakur, ( later mother of Tupac Shakur), Assata Shakur (Tupac’s Comrade-Aunt), Mutulu Shakur (Tupac’s step-father), his earlier wife, Saadia (not sure if name is spelled correctly) Shakur and her children – and many many other non-related Shakurs’.
Lumumba, Afeni, other Panthers and i were arrested in the “Panther 21” round-up. Sekou Odinga evaded arrest and went underground. Zayd Shakur was not charged and continued to provide leadership to the NY BPP. For the next 2 years while we were in jail and on trial Zayd and the replacement leadership held the NY BPP together and helped raise enough money to get Panther 21 members: Dhoruba bin Wahad, the late Michael Cetewayo Tabor,Afeni Shakur and Joan Bird, out on bail. The rest of us remained in jail and on trial for 2 years before all Panther 21 defendants were acquitted on all counts in less than 2 hours jury-deliberation.
Upon our release from jail the police quadrupled their surveillance, harassment and provocation campaign against us. i was not able to get a job in the professional computer field and was ultimately driven underground where i eventually met Zayd again along with other harried Panthers who had also been driven under. Zayd was his same old urban self whose light hearted ripostes or retorts kept everyone’s spirited and on their toes. He was a master teacher who taught without actually “teaching.” He also knew i was new to the underground lifestyle but never let on that he was mentoring me. He simply began dropping by my apartment almost daily, getting me out of the house and into hanging out with him all day. He was a great talker, easy going and fun but serious about struggle. My pre-school daughter loved him, so did her mom. Meanwhile i learned primarily by watching him and “keeping my eyes and ears open, and my mouth shut;” and then by “monkey see, monkey do.” Soon i was moving among the people like a fish in the sea.
The last time i saw Zayd he had been hit by a bullet thru his lung, spleen and kidney that exited the muscle tissue of his back. He knew he was dying, but didn’t panic and was lucent, at peace… and a teacher to the end.
Zayd Malik Shakur was the brother i didn’t have but wished for and he answered the call. For that i am forever grateful. May he Rest in Peace and May his Spirit Live Forever. i thank you.
SAVE THE DATE
The Universal Zulu Nation in association with Veterans Of The Black Panther Party Presents:
A 44th Commemoration Day Tribute For Harlem’s Own Fallen Black Panther Party/BLA Leader & Comrade, Brother Zayd Malik Shakur.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017 @ 7:00 PM
The National Black Theater
2031 Fifth Avenue, Harlem, New York 10035
(bet. 125th/126th Streets)
Take the 4,5,6 or 2,3 train to 125th Street Station Stop
Free Admission – Culture – Food –
Raffle – Information
Raffle – Information
Music By Zulu DJ Yoda X
– A Panel Of Veteran NYC Panthers & Young Lords Who Knew & Worked With Zayd
– Written Statements From Zayd’s Still Captured, Exiled & Surviving Comrades
– Performance of the “Harlem BPP Office Scene” from the play BLACK PANTHER WOMEN
– An Authentic BPP Harlem Branch History & Memorabilia Exhibit
Plus MXCC/UZN Bus Tickets Will Also Be Available To This Years Friday, May 19th
“Malcolm X 92nd Birthday” Pilgrimage For His Annual Ancestor Burial Ground Ceremony.
For More Information Contact Zulu King Bro.Shep: Panthershepcat@aol.com
THIS EVENT IS PROTECTED BY: