By Dara Cooper, Contributing Editor, Environment, Food, & Sustainability
This past November 2nd was the 35th anniversary of a day celebrated by many as Assata Shakur Liberation Day. It is the day former Black Panther Assata Shakur was liberated from a maximum-security prison, a day many acknowledge as a celebration of freedom fighters, political prisoners and exiles.
Although Shakur is widely lauded as an activist, freedom fighter, artist, and important public intellectual, the U.S. government persistently characterizes her as an enemy of the state, a terrorist. In May 2013, the FBI placed Shakur on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list and doubled the bounty for her capture to an outrageous $2 million, even though she has been granted political asylum in Cuba. But, as Mos Def eloquently declares with the title of his essay about Shakur: “The Government’s Terrorist is Our Community’s Heroine.”
“Viewed through the lens of U.S. law enforcement, Shakur is an escaped cop-killer,” Mos Def explains. “Viewed through the lens of many Black people, including me, she is a wrongly convicted woman and a hero of epic proportions.”