I recall being a 20-year-old St. Pete native spending most of my life here. I’m in the city and I had recently been arrested on a false charge that was really cooked up by the government. I should have known better, but such was the time. The fighting crime bill had recently been enacted about two years earlier which we have come to see has been a significant escalation in the so-called war on drugs and it’s documented and proven that it was a rebranding of Jim Crow and continued to be really a war on black America.
When I reflect on that time, I can’t really remember a whole lot of people or organizations who were calling out and addressing the systems that were at play in the root causes of what myself and so many others in my community was experiencing and the two that I can really recall that were
vanguards were the Nation of Islam and the Uhuru Movement. And really the Uhuru Movement was closer to me because growing up here, being here, right around the corner, right down the street, I always had a love and affinity for them in the way that the Uhuru Movement and the Chairman specifically defended, elevated the consciousness and really protected our community.
And I gravitated towards the movement. While I eventually would join the Nation of Islam, again I always had that deep respect for InPDUM and that’s why I’m happy to be here today to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters and comrades and the struggles.
Just a quick note about a statement that I made that actually, it’s kind of interesting. You know, as a part of this appointment process. It became more clear to me how there are those in leadership who like to pick our friends for us and choose our leaders and it reminded me of how black leaders who are not approved by the white ruling class are often victims of well-funded, highly coordinated character assassinations.
Most of the time when black leaders are attacked and vilified by the mainstream media, there’s hardly an outcry from the very folks who have benefited from the work of our courageous leaders. So we keep in mind that is now common knowledge and I’ve seen it stated so I won’t be redundant. but I’ve seen it stated by the Uhuru Movement, but it is common knowledge for those who are paying attention that the U.S government through its Federal Bureau of Investigation targeted for destruction black leaders and movements that they lead.
Through reviewing the government’s hand and the destruction of black movements and black leaders we see that character assassination has always paved the way for physical assassination once the leader is sufficiently smeared through the media, once their name and reputation has been effectively scandalized, they are ripe targets for assassination and there will be no public outcry from those who they serve.
So with that in mind, we couldn’t sit by, we couldn’t stand by and watch the FBI attack our brothers and sisters in the struggle, who we have seen work on behalf of our people for years over 50 years.
I know I’m not that old, but I remember growing up just seeing the work.
So we reaffirm our support for the Uhuru Movement. We unite with the mission to free our people and to free African people all over, all around the world.
And we are awaiting the outcome and resolution of this case. But we definitely know that the American government’s hand and destabilization and destruction of our movements is a very real thing. And so it’s not with any illusion as to what we’re witnessing and what we’re seeing and we’re happy to stand here today and represent and say, “Hands Off!”
Your brother John