WE MOURN THE LOSS OF SAFIYA BUKHARI
by Sally O'Brien, co-producer, co-host,
Where We Live, WBAI
August 24, 2003
Dedicated, nationally known Black liberation fighter,
longtime WBAI producer (Where We Live), and Co-Chair of The Jericho
Movement, Safiya Bukhari,
died in the early hours of the morning Sunday, August 24, 2003 from
complications due to prolonged
illness. She was only 53.
Safiya joined the Black Panther Party in 1969
after witnessing a vicious police beating of another Panther standing
on a Harlem street corner selling the Party's newspaper. "I
tell people straight up that it was the New York Police Department
that made me decide to join the Black Panther Party." She said, "In
college I supported the war in Vietnam. I was so far to the right
it was ridiculous. But by the time the summer of 1969 was over, in
November, I was in the Party."
A disciplined and dedicated revolutionary, Safiya went on to join
the Black Liberation Army. She spent close to nine years in prison
for clandestine actions on behalf of the BLA.
After her release, Safiya dedicated her life to
the freedom of her comrades she left behind, and used every means
at her disposal. She wrote prolifically about individual cases, designed
and made political prisoner T-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, and
mouse pads, wrote fact sheets on each individual case and in 1992
co-founded the New York Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition which she
co-chaired until her death. She also served as Vice President in
the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika, an organization
working towards the formation of a separate Black nation comprised
of five states -- South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi,
and Louisiana, states built on the backs of enslaved Africans.
In 1998, Safiya became the co-chair of The Jericho
Movement to Free U.S. Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War. She
co-chaired the historic Tear Down the Walls March on Washington,
DC. She established a website and
traveled throughout the country organizing people to the cause of
those behind the walls. Coming from a strong family spiritual tradition,
Safiya came to embrace Islam.
Safiya Asia Bukhari, Revolutionary, Mother, Grandmother,
singer, writer, comrade, sister and friend. Our loss reverberates
throughout the ages.