“On October 27, 1981, with several airplanes and helicopters hovering overhead, two army tanks standing in adjacent cow pastures, and over 200 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers scrambling throughout the yard and bushes, Fulani Sunni Ali , Jerry Gaines, and fourteen children were put under arrest. “It looked like they were ready for war,” said Jerry Gaines in an interview with the Jackson Advocate after they were taken to an FBI center in Gallman, Mississippi, just thirty miles south of the state’s capital in Jackson. At approximately six in the morning, the U.S. government had launched a predawn raid on Gaines’s home. Initially, the charges claimed that Fulani Sunni Ali was wanted in connection with a Brink’s robbery in Rockland County, New York, which took place on October 20, 1981. She was allegedly working with the Black Liberation Army, which included white and black radicals, and was working to acquire appropriated funds to support their revolutionary cause for social justice. However, after a car mechanic proved she was in New Orleans and therefore not in New Jersey, she was cleared of robbery charges. After the Brink’s charges were dropped, on the same day, Fulani Sunni Ali was served a grand jury subpoena to provide additional information about the Brink’s job. Using silence as a means of resistance, Fulani and other grand jury resist- ers refused to provide information to government officials. For this she was jailed again. Fulani Sunni Ali was finally released a year and a half later on October 19, 1983 from the Metropolitan Correctional Facility in New York City,.
Fulani’s ability to forge such a commitment of silence for a revolutionary cause was not only a part of her twenty-something years of activist experience, but also an example of the complicated tradition of black women’s resistance. For almost half a century, Fulani Sunni Ali has been a citizen of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Africa (PGRNA), which has historically sought to create a black nation in the five southern states of Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida. She took the oath under her father, Alajo Adegbalola, who held various offices in the PGRNA that ranged from Minister of Defense (1970) to first Vice President (1971-1972). She was born in New Rochelle, New York and completed her primary education in that state. Since the early age of nineteen in 1967, she developed as a vocalist, educator, PGRNA government worker, and ultimately the Minister of Information for the PGRNA. After starting her community involvement with Blue Hill Christian Center (a community center that helped mentor and tutor youth) as a liaison and consulting leader for young teen mothers, she broadened her activism by joining the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s. As a Party member, she not only sang with Miriam Makeba, a South African female singer, but she also protected Stokely Carmichael, one of the Black Panther Party leaders. For four years, she and Makeba performed professionally as singers around the world. She eventually became in- volved in developing and teaching as a volunteer instructor and taught courses on black history. As one of the earliest citizens of the PGRNA, Fulani has experienced the building of black nationhood over several decades, and, from a citizen-Minister point of view, she has invaluable in- sights and lessons on nation-building and some of its challenges and successes. Over time, while she revolutionized herself and the world, she was a wife, mother, spiritual leader, and community elder”.
*Courtesy of Rondee Gaines
On Friday June 17, 2016 at 6:21am, Iya Fulani one of my Closest Comrades, Teachers and Leaders made her transition. It was nothing short of the highest honor to sit at her feet and learn some of the most invaluable lessons. We pray that she continues to Rise In Power as her Spirit travels into the realm of the Ancestors and that her name and work continue to inspire the countless warriors who will continue to resist after her. -Kalonji Jama Changa