In 1969 Fred Hampton Sr, the 21-year-old charismatic chairman of the Chicago Black Panther Party, was targeted and killed by the FBI in a raid organized by the Cook County State Attorney. Law enforcement carried out the raid and murders after several months of media coverage blasting the the Black Panther Party as “Wild Beasts”, and the FBI issuance of internal memos deeming them a “major threat” to the country. The FBI was committed to dismantling the Black Panther Party “by any means necessary.”
We look back at that time and those events in disgust and awe. However, we know that targeted repression of Black resistance is unquestionably NOT a thing of the past. We need only look at a 2017 FBI internal report entitled “Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Law Enforcement Officers” which seems to have been used to justify surveilling and jailing a black activist — severely disrupting his life — based solely on his Facebook posts calling out police brutality.
With the bold acceleration of white supremacy in U.S. politics, the resurgence of white nationalists in our communities, and the ever-present deadly racist tactics used by local law enforcement, Community Ready Corps (CRC), a Black liberation organization based in Oakland, is responding with one primary objective: Black Solidarity. They work to build and contribute to self determination in disenfranchised communities, with a focus on 9 areas of self determination: Politics, Economics, Family, Health, Education, Art, Media, Traditions & Ways, and Self Defense.
This year, CRC boldly organized the first annual Black Solidarity Week beginning on February 17, Minister Huey P. Newton’s birthday, with a march through East Oakland attended by over 1,000 Black folks, and ending on February 21, the anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X. Black Solidarity Week was a huge and promising success, hosting several events and introducing the first-of-its-kind Black Solidarity Fund. This extraordinary fund was established with the goal of issuing $500 grants to 20 local, primarily Black organizations working toward Black self-determination. CRC has already raised $5000 toward this fund, distributed 3 grants, and set the fundraising goal for 2019 at $30,000.
Another standout event during Black Solidarity Week was “Surviving Smash & Grab,” a political education panel on the repression of Black dissidents featuring distinguished panel members Chairman Fred Hampton Jr and his mother Mama Akua Njeri (son and widow of Chairman Fred Hampton Sr.), bringing the Black solidarity movement full circle. Over 100 people showed up for an evening of radical truth telling, solidarity building and self defense.
SURJ Bay Area has been honored to work in solidarity with CRC this year by raising funds, supporting CRC Liberation Logistics for the MLK Day march, providing logistical support for Black Solidarity Week, and using CRC’s expert guidance in organizing community security for our anti-fascist work.
We look forward to CRC hosting their second annual Black Solidarity Week in February of 2019. As white folks working as Allies and Accomplices, CRC has generously advised us on exactly how to show up in solidarity through the essential and concise 5 Methods of Divestment & Weaponization of White Power and Privilege:
As we close out this year of hard work and move strongly into the the next, we invite you to join our #12DaysToShowUp campaign and show your solidarity in the following ways:
During the #12DaysToShowUp campaign, 75% of all the funds raised will go to local Black, Indigenous, and People of Color led organizations like Community Ready Corps. The remaining 25% will be sent to under-resourced rural SURJ chapters mobilizing white people throughout the U.S to support racial justice.