Panther Power: Afeni Shakur and the ‘New York 21’

By Lamont Lilly

On April 2, 1969, twenty-one members of the Harlem Chapter of the Black Panther Party were formally indicted and charged with 156 counts of “conspiracy” to blow up subway and police stations, five local department stores, six railroads, and the Bronx based New York Botanical Garden.

By the early morning hours of April 3, mass sweeps were conducted city wide by combat squads of armed police. Law enforcement agencies ranging from the CIA, FBI, U.S. Marshalls and NY state police worked simultaneously to coordinate assaults on panther homes and community based offices. After numerous raids, ten panther men and two panther women were formally arrested, processed and quickly jailed. To anyone who supported radical politics of the 1960’s, there was no doubt that the indictment of the Panther ‘New York 21’ was a political and racist frame-up to not only “disrupt, discredit and destroy,” but to utterly dismantle the Black Panther Party from the inside out.

Komen, Just in Case you decide Once Again to Screw Planned Parenthood: Some Helpful Sisterly Advice, Hell No!!


Dear Sister (i.e. Komen Organization),

Like many of your supporters, I was utterly disheartened by your hasty decision to severe ties with Planned Parenthood because of the unfounded legal witch hunt of Pro-life Congressman Cliff Stearns launched. As one of the few national health organizations that support women and girl’s health, it deeply saddens me that you, like a fearful child afraid of scolding, scurried blindly away from another sister health organization in her time of epic crisis. Though your mission may not explicitly say “sisterhood” or seek to build “sisterhood” among women, your focus on women’s breast implicitly makes that claim. So, I am writing you this letter as a sister holding another sister albeit sister organization (i.e. Komen Organization) accountable for how she treats another sister organization (i.e. Planned Parenthood).

Let me just say this point blank, you don’t get to scurry away from Planned Parenthood. As a sister, you dig your heels into the ground and say,

“These are my boundaries, you can talk about my Jesus . . . the clothes I have on, but HELL NO don’t you dare talk about my sister (i.e. Planned Parenthood) . . . for if you cross that line I will not cower away and lick my wounds . . . I will fight you. Do you hear me? I will fight you.”

It is this spirit of fighting for your sister organization, Planned Parenthood, which you seem to lack even though you rescinded your decision not to fund Planned Parenthood. And, let me also say that no man, Congressman Cliff Stearns, or institution, the Right, should be able to take you, a national women’s organization that touts support among thousands of women in the US, away from your sister organization Planned Parenthood. For if they are able to do so, you become no better than the many backstabbing melodramas that confound women on reality TV shows like Mob Wives or Atlanta House Wives. You become another example of women not being able to work together. You become what men have always thought women to be “weak.” Honestly, you do more harm to womankind than the breast cancer you work to