Remembering Safiya Bukhari—an interview with Laura Whitehorn

SafiyaI met Safiya in the visiting room of the Federal Correctional Institution (for women) in Dublin, California, in 1997—but when we embraced, it felt as if I’d known her all my life. At the time, Safiya was traveling to various prisons, visiting political prisoners to talk with us about Jericho ’98, the national campaign, beginning with a march rally to the White House, that she was organizing (with Herman and Iyaluua Ferguson, political prisoner Jalil Muntaqim, and others). I was in Dublin, along with six other women political prisoners… Remembering Safiya Bukhari—an interview with Laura Whitehorn

By Angola 3 News

Former political prisoner Laura Whitehorn has edited the new book, The War Before: The True Life Story of Becoming a Black Panther, Keeping the Faith in Prison, & Fighting for Those Left Behind (The Feminist Press, 2010). The War Before features the writings of the late Safiya Bukhari, who was born in New York City and joined the Black Panther Party in 1969. Imprisoned for nine years, for charges related to the Black Liberation Army, Bukhari was released in 1983 and went on to co-found the New York Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition and other organizations advocating for the release of political prisoners. She died in 2003 at the age of 53 years of age.

A preface by Wonda Jones (Bukhari’s daughter), a foreword by Angela Y. Davis, an afterword by Mumia Abu-Jamal, and an introduction by Whitehorn are also featured alongside Bukhari’s writings. Just released this month, the website http://www.safiyabukhari.com states: “The War Before traces Bukhari’s lifelong commitment as an advocate for the rights of the oppressed. Following her journey from middle-class student to Black Panther to political prisoner, these writings provide an intimate view of a woman wrestling with the issues of her time—the troubled legacy of the Panthers, misogyny in the movement, her decision to convert to Islam, the incarceration of out spoken radicals, and the families left behind. Her account unfolds with immediacy and passion, showing how the struggles of social justice movements have paved the way for the progress of today.”
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