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ASSATA'S DAUGHTERS (AD) Printer Friendly Page

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See also:   Assata Shakur   Black Lives Matter

Established in March 2015 and headquartered in the historically black Washington Park neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, Assata's Daughters (AD) identifies itself as “a grassroots intergenerational collective of radical Black women” who seek to “carr[y] on the tradition of radical liberatory activism encompassed by Assata Shakur,” the committed Communist, former Black Panther, convicted cop-killer, and longtime fugitive who has been living in Cuba for decades.

To fulfill their “duty to fight for [their] freedom,” AD members “come together in struggle as radical Black feminists and organizers, under the shared respect, love and study of Assata Shakur.” Central to their activism is a demand that more taxpayer dollars be allocated to the funding of “quality public schools,” “healthcare for all,” and social welfare programs that promote “economic stability for all Black people,” thereby cultivating “well-resourced communities that keep people safe and make police and prisons obsolete.”

Depicting America as a nation awash in racism and sexism, AD seeks to “abolish anti-Blackness and all forms of oppression,” and to “fight for a world where women and femmes can live without fear of physical or sexual violence.” AD's “struggle for liberation,” moreover, is informed by “a radical ... approach to intersectionality,” the notion
that the members of various groups which are harmed by societal injustices – e.g., blacks, Hispanics, women, LGBT people, Muslims, and the poor – should draw a sense of unity from their shared status as victims of oppression and discrimination. Further, the concept of intersectionality maintains that the hardships experienced by people who can be classified into more than one of these groups – e.g., black lesbians – are greatly compounded. In recognition of those hardships, AD strives not only “to celebrate, explore, stretch, shatter, re-build, re-create, and re-imagine Black girlhood and womanhood,” but also to “work through those in an expansive community.”

In the pursuit of its radical agendas, AD seeks to “escalate, deepen, and sustain the larger Black Lives Matter movement.” Specifically:

(a) EscalateEmphasizing “resistance and … the power of civil disobedience,” AD's “angry” and “confrontational” campaigns of “direct action” aim to “address the many injustices in our city and the world”; “transform the relations of power”; “build up alternative institutions and the means for self-determination”; and “agitate the status quo and directly confront the systems of our oppression” with “demands,” and “not requests,” that “are an assertion of Black power.” 

(b) Deepen: On the premise that “mass movements are built by organizing local communities,” AD fights against “gentrification and police violence” in its South Chicago environs, and seeks to “win material improvements in people's lives.”

(c) Sustain: Asserting that “Black liberation requires long-term commitment & strategy,” AD strives to develop future radical activists by training young people, ages 4-19, “in the Black queer feminist tradition and in the spirit of Assata.” 

AD currently administers four major programs:

(1) The Akerele program (ah-keh-REH-leh, meaning “one who is strong in spite of being small”) introduces young girls, ages 4 to 12, to “Assata Shakur and her revolutionary politic and love of Black people.” The children in this program participate in workshops that “teach them about power and oppression”; “help them understand their role in a long history of Black freedom fighting”; and encourage them to “tap into their skills as leaders and future organizers in the larger movement for Black liberation.”

(2) The Ominira program (oh-mee-nee-rah, meaning “freedom” or “independence”) is a year-long project that introduces teenage girls to the fundamentals of organizing, such as “strategy development, power mapping, [and] base-building.” In addition to hands-on skills development, the Ominira program also explores “black feminist herstory,” “the abolitionist roots of the Movement for Black Lives,” and the evils of “the modern Prison Industrial Complex.”

(3) The Community Garden program allows young people to grow their own food, emphasizing “self-sustainability as an integral part of Black liberation” and as “a tool of resistance.”

(4) The Copwatch program exhorts African Americans to videotape police officers while the latter are involved in contacts or altercations with civilians, so as to ensure that any mistakes made by the police can be widely publicized on Internet video forums. Copwatch also urges blacks to refrain from complying with police orders or instructions. Toward that end, the program provides small, wallet-sized cards that people can refer to if they are stopped and questioned by an officer. For instance, these cards remind the bearer that he should “remain silent” and “[does] not need to show an ID.” The cards also provide standard phrases that a person can say to a police officer who stops him, such as: “I do not consent to a search”; “I will not talk”; and “I want my lawyer.” 

To supplement the various training methods and instructional materials that AD utilizes in its work, the organization also urges its ideological allies to learn as much as they can from two additional entities in particular:

(a) Training for Change, which “
builds capacity for powerful training and education among activists and organizers

(b) Teaching For Change, which aims to 
transform America into a more “equitable, multicultural society” populated with “active global citizens” by turning K-12 classrooms into centers of political indoctrination



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