To those of us who have dedicated our lives to the liberation of Black people, who have dared to say, “We shall have our freedom or the earth will be leveled by our attempts to gain it,” death is a common occurrence. It is something we had to accept, for we knew that in waging struggle to free ourselves from the chains of slavery, our choices are small, either to be jailed or assassinated – but we had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

We know that where there is struggle there is sacrifice. The death of Zayd Malik Shakur was a sacrifice, for in our struggle some deaths are lighter than a feather and others are as weighty as a mountain. The death of Zayd Malik Shakur was/as is the death of all revolutionaries and freedom fighters/weightier than a mountain, for Zayd not only practiced the principles of revolutionary warfare – he taught others to do the same.

Zayd used to say, “A revolutionary is a professional, so you must be a professional revolutionary.” In his life and death Zayd said:

I may – if you wish – lose my livelihood
I may sell my shirt and bed,
I may work as a stonecutter,
A street sweeper, a porter.
I may clean your stores
Or rummage your garbage for food.
I may lay down hungry,
O enemy of the Sun,
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist.

You may take the last strip of my land,
Feed my youth to prison cells.
You may plunder my heritage,
You may burn my books, my poems
Or feed my flesh to the dogs.
You may spread a web of terror
On the roofs of my village,
O Enemy of the Sun,
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist.

You may put out the light in my eyes.
You may deprive me of my mother’s kisses.
You may curse my father, my People,
You may distort my history,
You may deprive my children of a smile
And of life’s necessities.
You may fool my friends with a borrowed face.
You may build walls of hatred around me.
You may glue my eyes to humiliations,
O Enemy of the Sun,
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist.

O Enemy of the Sun
The decorations are raised at the port.
The ejaculations fill the air,
A glow in the hearts,
And in the horizon
A sail is seen
Challenging the wind
And the depths.
It is Field Marshall Dedan Kamathi (Mau Mau)
Returning home
From the sea of loss.

It is the return of the Sun,
Of my exiled ones
And for her sake, and his
I swear
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist,
Resist–and resist.

Zayd Malik Shakur
A Spark in the Prairie Fire
Black Panther Party

Mutulu Shakur Speaks on Zayd Shakur, Lumumba Shakur, Sekou Odinga, Sundiata Acoli & Assata

Zayd was one of the main activists in the struggle against the overwhelming epidemic of heroin addiction in Harlem and the South Bronx. Also, Michael “Cetawayo” Tabor and his pamphlet Capitalism Plus Drugs Equals Genocide, gave us guidance. At that time, sometimes one in four members of the Black and Puerto Rican community were addicted to this drug. The community talent and resilience was being drained by this scourge. And with all this, there was only one drug rehabilitation center available for this army of addicts, and this center only offered Methadone as the answer to this condition. As we found out from medical researchers and supporters, this Methadone, a derivative of heroin, had a devastating effect on the health of the addicts even to the point of impacting their bone marrow, and causing great pain.

Zayd and his crew were with us when we decided we needed to demand an effective drug rehabilitation center in the community which used community education and community service along with acupuncture and more progressive measures and methodologies that would truly help addicts make the necessary life changes to help others and themselves in the community. Panama, Butch (Wilfred Ford) Our two activist addicts, and myself, along with the help of the leadership of the Young Lords, the Harlem Branch of the Black Panther Party, and the Think Lincoln Committee, decided the best course of action would be to seize the auditorium of the Lincoln Hospital Mental Health Center and demand the establishment of a real drug rehabilitation center. But to be sure it would be done correctly we began the program right there and then with the assistance of our medical colleagues and supporters. This is an amazing story because the Lincoln Hospital Drug Rehabilitation Center is still open and in operation in 2017. There is much more to this story and how Zayd and the brilliant and determined Harlem Branch of the Black Panther Party, The Young Lords Party, HRUM and many other community activists began and continued the struggle for healthcare as a right for all people. I would be remiss if I omitted the impact and influence of comrades like Brother Sundiata Acoli, the New York 21, (the leadership of the Harlem Branch) Sister Assata Shakur, and Brother Mutulu Shakur who served as Director of the Lincoln Detox program.


Where there is struggle there is sacrifice and death is a common occurrence” The Black Liberation Army

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