In light of American law enforcement’s continued harassment of sister Assata Shakur, this article is dedicated to her. Below you will find the petition I started calling upon the FBI and New Jersey State Attorney General’s Office to drop all criminal charges and investigations against her. You can sign that online petition here, and I strongly encourage you to share it.
First however are a few clips to better acquaint you with the issue:
A beautiful song for Assata, by Common:
Jeffrey Chiesa, New Jersey Attorney General
Robert Mueller, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
On May 2, 1973, Assata Shakur, then known as Joanne Chesimard, was convicted in 1977 of the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster.Her arrest and conviction was upheld despite the fact that forensic evidence proved Ms. Shakur could not have killed the Trooper. Shakur was shot in the back with her hands up. The bullet went through her back and shattered her clavicle. At that point, she was physically unable to raise her hand, much less shoot a gun. Additionally, no gun residue was found on her hands or her person. Despite this overwhelming evidence, Ms. Shakur was then sentenced to life in prison.In 1979, Ms. Shakur escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility in Clinton, New Jersey and later arrived in Cuba where she has since lived ever as a professor, advocate for social justice and human rights and political exile.On Thursday, May 2 2013, Aaron Ford, special agent of the FBI’s Newark, New Jersey office announced that Ms. Shakur was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist’s List, (Shakur is the first woman in history so designated) and that the reward for assistance in her capture was doubled to $2 million. At this press conference, Ford mentioned that “While there is no new threat from Chesimard, she is considered a “domestic terrorist.”
This new decree, announced some 40 years after initial her arrest, gives open license and motivation for Cuban residents or anyone else to abduct Ms. Shakur and deliver her to Federal authorities to answer for crimes she did not commit. In effect, Ms. Shakur committed no crimes. The crimes in fact were committed against her.
In an effort to remedy this clear and shameful miscarriage of justice, we concerned citizens of America and humanity demand that all charges against Assata Shakur be dropped, that her status as a “Most Wanted Terrorist” be rescinded, and that she be officially deemed an American citizen in good standing.
Agyei Tyehimba is a former NYC public schoolteacher, co-founder of KAPPA Middle School 215 in the Bronx, NY, and co-author of the Essence Bestselling book, Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler, published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster. Agyei has appeared on C-Span, NY1 News, and most recently on the A&E documentary, “The Mayor of Harlem: Alberto ‘Alpo’ Martinez.” Mr. Tyehimba is a professional consultant and public speaker providing political advice and direction for Black college student organizations, community activist groups, and nonprofit organizations. If you are interested in bringing Agyei to speak or provide consultation for your organization, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.