It is with great sadness that we join the different organizations that have paid tribute to Brother Bashir Hameed who made his transition this past Saturday night, August 29th. Some of us first met Bashir in these last months of his life and were moved by his spiritual strength, intellectual clarity, and love for his family and people. We had hoped that the video that Bashir so wanted to do would be approved by the Department of Corrections before he passed, but that was not to happen.
Bashir's history as a militant activist in the Black Panther Party parallels so many of the other histories of our political prisoners of African descent. Born in New Jersey, after confronting the racism of the colleges he attended and that of the US Army, he moved to the Bay Area and in his own words "fell in love with the Black Panther Party". Later, he was sent back to New Jersey to try to rebuild the BPP which had already been decimated by the US government and local police. Within two years, he was either in jail or facing imprisonment for up to 20 years, all for doing regular BPP work, distribution of the party newspaper, the breakfast program, and political education. He ended up spending four years in Trenton State Prison and upon release was immediately again targeted. The Queens 2 case, which included Abdul Majid and himself, involved the alleged killing of two policemen in Queens. Their first trial ended in a hung jury, the second was declared a mistrial with 8 to 4 for "not guilty", and the last involved very questionable witnesses and finally led to the conviction the state wanted, and a sentence of 30+ years to life, with the recommendation that Bashir and Abdul never be paroled.
We say to Bashir's family, to his wife, and to all those who loved and admired him, that Bashir will not be forgotten. Just this past Sunday, at the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement hip hop concert, hundreds of young people learned about who Bashir is, were very moved by Brother Dhoruba's tribute to him, and cheered with great respect as each hip hop artist began his/ her performance with an individual dedication to Bashir. Would that Bashir had heard this in his lifetime, but he knew he would be remembered, and showed that confidence in his last days. Revolutionaries never die!
We extend our condolences to Bashir's devoted mother, Mrs. York, to his son, his sister, his niece (who became a doctor with the encouragement and prodding of her incarcerated uncle and who monitored his medical care in the last years of his life when he faced several serious medical conditions), and to his wife, Florence, who left her home in Texas to spend these last months by her husband's side.
In loving revolutionary memory,
International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC)