Former Black Panther Party Members Receive Support From Mutual Aid Fund

Source: David Fenton / Getty

FFifty-five years after the founding of the Black Panther Party, a group is raising funds to support veterans of the movement. A self-help program set up to support Black Panther Party veterans recently announced that it has raised nearly $ 5,000 in the past two months by providing financial support to 10 veterans this month alone.

Supported by the Community Movement Builders of Atlanta, mutual aid for veteran members of the Black Panther Party is self-determination in action. Many of those who were once young organizers are now of old age, some spending much of their lives as political prisoners.

As the site explains:

The Panthers are more popular now than at any time in their history. Yet many of the people who formed the Black Panther Party are now struggling to meet their most basic needs. From medical care and rentals to buying groceries and just enjoying the pleasures of everyday life, it’s a struggle for all but a few.

The fund is currently managed by Patreon, with 363 patrons donating a total of $ 2,795 per month at the time of writing. So far, more than 20 veteran members of the Black Panther Party have received financial support.

Kamau Franklin, advocate for the movement and co-founder of Community Movement Builders, explained that the popularity and influence of the panthers does not reflect the reality of many movement elders.

“While others champion the image and style of the Black Panther Party and profit from it financially, many Panthers who have defended our right to food, clothing and shelter are now unable to do so themselves.” , he said in a statement.

He also cited a April 2021 article in the New Republic which highlighted the popularity of the Black Panther Party and notable members, but the relatively unknown status of most living members. Launched in May, a year after the massive mobilization of one of the most important social movements in history, the fund operates with the authorization and support of the Panther Support Committee.

“Since May, we’ve raised over 15,000 to support these veteran Black Panthers strictly through local methods,” Franklin told NewsOne. “I think it’s important for us to support the Panthers because a lot of us got involved in this work because of our inspiration. “

Supported veterans include Dhoruba Bin Wahad, Ashanti Alston, Bilal Sunni Ali, Jalil Muntaqim, Sekou Odinga, Arthur League, “Njinga” Patricia Jenkins, Yasmeen Majid, Naima Gentry Major, Russel “Maroon” Shoats, Malik Rahim and William Brown.

Franklin said the group has a goal of $ 5,000 per month for 2022.

Veteran member of the Black Panther Party and supporter / beneficiary of the fund, Jalil Muntaqim, was released from prison last year after spending more than 40 years of his life behind bars. A founder of the Jericho National Movement, a movement focused on “amnesty and freedom for political prisoners,” Muntaqim helped lead the charge even while incarcerated.

“This is important because no one has ever created a general fund to support Panthers veterans,” Muntaqim said. “You cannot raise money off our backs and support the veterans of your movement. Our people are putting our lives in danger and mutual aid is needed.

Those interested in supporting the fund can make a contribution here.

See also:

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