Home > What We Do > Tuesday, May 5th – Letter Writing for Sundiata Acoli & Dr. Mutulu Shakur

Tuesday, May 5th – Letter Writing for Sundiata Acoli & Dr. Mutulu Shakur

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

COST: Free


Normally around this time of year, NYC ABC would be printing May Day cards for our every-other-week political prisoner letter-writing dinners. Clearly, times have changed.  We are also excited to be collaboratively organizing letter-writing nights with Page One Collective. And while the events will be collaboratively organized, instead of coming together at The Base in Brooklyn, we are asking folks to keep letter-writing on your minds and keep prisoners from being more alienated than they already are by writing from home. Please post a photo of your addressed envelope on social media and tag us (with your return address blurred out) and we will share it, building digital community while our analog community stays indoors and washes its hands. This week we turn our focus to Sundiata Acoli and Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Black Panther Party members serving time for charges connected to Assata Shakur and/or her successful 1979 prison break and escape.

A New York Black Panther, Sundiata Acoli endured two years of prison awaiting trial for the Panther 21 Conspiracy Case. He and his comrades were eventually acquitted on all the bogus charges. The case was historic and a classic example of police and government attempting to neutralize organizations by incarcerating their leadership. As a result of this political attack and because of the immense pressure and surveillance from the FBI and local police Sundiata, like many other Panther leaders went “underground.”  On May 2, 1973, Sundiata Acoli, Assata Shakur and Zayd Shakur were ambushed and attacked by state troopers on the New Jersey Turnpike. Assata was wounded and Zayd was killed. During the gun battle a state trooper was shot and killed in self defense. Sundiata was tried in an environment of mass hysteria and convicted, although there was no credible evidence that he killed the trooper or had been involved in the shooting. He was sentenced to thirty years. Sundiata was ordered released on parole by a state appeals court in New Jersey in September 2014 when the court ruled the parole board had “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” when it previously denied him parole. The State of New Jersey appealed the decision and won. More information: sundiataacoli.org

In 1987 Dr. Mutulu Shakur was sentenced to 60 years imprisonment for his role in the Black Liberation Movement. In March 1982, Dr. Shakur and 10 others were indicted by a federal grand jury under a set of U.S. conspiracy laws called Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) laws. These conspiracy laws were ostensibly developed to aid the government in its prosecution of organized crime figures; however, they have been used with varying degrees of success against revolutionary organizations. Dr. Shakur was charged with conspiracy and participation in the Black Liberation Army, a group that carried out actual and attempted expropriations from several banks. Eight incidents were alleged to have occurred between December 1976 to October 1981. In addition, he was charged with participation in the 1979 prison escape of Assata Shakur, who is now in exile in Cuba. After five years underground, Dr. Shakur was arrested on February 12, 1986. While he was on the street, Dr. Shakur challenged the use of methadone as a tool of recovery for addicts. He believed in natural remedies instead and, based on those beliefs, founded the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America. Many people credit Shakur with saving their lives. Dr. Shakur has worked to free political prisoners and to expose government abuses against political organizers. While in prison, he has struggled to create peace between rival gangs. More information: mutulushakur.com

Please take the time to write a letter to Sundiata and Mutulu (and share a photo of your completed envelopes with us online):
Sundiata Acoli* #39794-066
FCI Cumberland
Federal Correctional Institution
Post Office Box 1000
Cumberland, Maryland 21501
*Address envelope to Clark Squire

Dr. Mutulu Shakur #83205-012
FMC Lexington
Post Office Box 14500
Lexington, Kentucky 40512

  1. Dolores Baldasare
    5 May 2020 at 6:51 pm

    While I am beyond sad and angry to know that these 2 beautiful men, Dr. Mutulu Shakur and Sundiata Acoli, have been wrongfully thrown-and-kept behind bars, I am proud to be among YOU who CARE to keep them in the forefronts of our hearts and minds, and to do what we can to FREE ‘EM ALL!

    With hopes-and-actions for justice and in solidarity,
    Dolores Baldasare

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