Would You Have Been A Black Panther?

“Where most boys had…you know…under their mattresses, I had Black Panther revolutionary material.” – Jamal Joseph

History remembers the Black Panthers as a “huge threat to national security”, maybe they were — I don’t know. What I do know, is that Jamal Joseph, a former Black Panther, spoke at the Salt Lake City Main library last night and his message was beautiful.

He talked about how the weapons of a revolution are “food and books” – people having their basic needs met, their minds filled with knowledge, and an opportunity to create and change their own worlds.

He talked about the need for unity among all people, that “Black Power” can’t exist without “White Power”, “Yellow Power”, “Red Power”, “Brown Power” — meaning, the end goal is unified human power.

He talked about how in recent years more prisons have been built in California than institutions of learning.

He talked about how there are more Black  men in prison now than there were Black male slaves at the height of slavery in the 1800s.

So what can we do?

These statistics were humbling because these aren’t just Brothas and Sistas –people who share a skin color — but they’re my actual brothers, and actual sisters, and we share a God in heaven who is our Father. A God who loves them just as much as he loves me, who loves them just as much as he loves President Monson, President Hinkley, my baby niece Sofia, my wonderful parents, your nieces, your children, your parents, your siblings, my siblings…

So what do we do? What can we do? How do we help? What can help? Who can help? Is it our job to help? Is it our privilege to help?

I feel filled with questions!

Below is a recording of the last half of his remarks — what questions do you have? Better yet, what solutions can we come up with?





2 thoughts on “Would You Have Been A Black Panther?

  1. Hi Angela. I have written on the Black Panther Party in my most. As I stated in my post, I feel in my heart that I would have been afraid. I don’t think I would have had the fortitude to deal with pressure from the government or ostracization from my community.

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