On Thursday May 2, 2013, the FBI announced that it was increasing its bounty for the capture of Assata Shakur (born JoAnne Deborah Byron) from 1 million to 2 million dollars. The agency also included Assata on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list, the first time that a woman has ever appeared on the list. Forty years earlier, a shootout occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike, which left Assata wounded, a state trooper, Werner Foerster, and her companion, Zayd Shakur, dead.
Listen to Assata Shakur describe the incident in her own words:
She has written:
“My name is Assata (“she who struggles”) Shakur (“the thankful one”), and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984. I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. Because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it “greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.”
Join us during the week of June 2 through June 9 for teach-ins about Assata Shakur’s life and her case. Find a list of all scheduled teach-ins here.
When you have completed your event, please send all of your documentation to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can post it on this site.
Join with us to say “HANDS OFF ASSATA.”