By Dorsey Nunn
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
On Saturday, August 21, we hope you’ll all join us at the Community BBQ for our Oakland Rejects Slavery campaign at Lil’ Bobby Hutton Park.
Every aspect of this event is connected to Black August and the rich history of Movement that stretches over the past 50 years, and that LSPC / All of Us or None is proud to continue.
This year marks the 55th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California. We are honored to continue the rich legacy of serving and feeding our own by hosting the free Community BBQ at Lil’ Bobby Hutton Park, named after the teenage Panther who was murdered by Oakland police on April 6, 1968.
August 21 will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of George Jackson inside San Quentin State Prison. The author of Soledad Brother and co-founder of the Black Guerrilla Family, Jackson was adamant about upholding the humanity of people in prison, and his inside organizing inspired and influenced many, including the Black Panthers.
The morning after Comrade Jackson’s murder in California, over 800 incarcerated people staged a silent show of solidarity in a prison in upstate New York. The all-white corrections staff retaliated with brutal acts of violence and withholding food. Less than a month later, Attica erupted in the Uprising that forced the inhumane treatment and deplorable conditions of prisons onto the national stage. After the initial takeover, incarcerated organizer L.D. Barkley issued a statement that echoes both the writing of Jackson and the future foundation of All of Us or None: “We are men,” Barkley said. “We are not beasts, and we do not intend to be beaten or driven as such.”
In the spring of 1978, 13 years after the death of Malcolm X, incarcerated brothers in the San Quentin Adjustment Center convened a general meeting to identify the need to preserve and maintain the history of incarcerated people’s struggle, including honoring and recognizing people who had made the supreme sacrifices for movement. 1979 was the birth of what we now commemorate as BLACK AUGUST.
We continue the work to end the modern-day slavery that’s still practiced in prisons today, legally embedded in our governing documents at both the state and federal levels. Our Community BBQ—open to everyone—is hosted by Oakland Rejects Slavery, part of our Abolish Bondage Collectively campaign to remove the vestiges of slavery and involuntary servitude from both Article 1, Section 6 of the California Constitution as well as in the “Exception Clause” in the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
We have made so much progress in the past 50 years. Through the 1970’s incarcerated women were invisible or dehumanized to the point where prisons programmatically sterilized them or forced them to give birth shackled to beds and stirrups. Millions of people were stripped of the right to vote and denied jobs and housing due to their conviction histories. Since Ellen Barry founded LSPC in 1978 to specifically support incarcerated women, LSPC and our organizing project All of Us or None (founded 2003) have worked to end the shackling of pregnant women in prisons, restore voting rights for all Californians outside of prisons, and to remove “The Box” from applications for employment, housing, and education.
With the purchase of the Freedom & Movement Center in 2017, we put real roots back in North Oakland and created the infrastructure to serve our community for decades to come. We are proud to continue the legacy of organizing our people and of feeding our community for free. We advance the idea that if Black Lives Matter, then we should demand that our people stop shooting up parks, churches, and community events such as Juneteenth. Let us come together to build together—build on a rich legacy already laid down by our inspiring predecessors.
We hope that you join us on Saturday, August 21 in Lil’ Bobby Hutton Park to celebrate our humanity in our community.