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The Black Panther Party’s Living Legacy: Touring Oakland & Berkeley with Billy X Jennings
Last week, the "Dismantling Racism" class from St. Catherine University in Minnesota was taken on a Black Panther History Tour in Oakland and Berkeley, led by Billy X Jennings from It's AboutTime BPP Alumni & Legacy. Angola 3 News came along and filmed the tour. This is part one.
The Black Panther Party’s Living Legacy
--Touring Oakland and Berkeley with Billy X Jennings
By Angola 3 News
This month, over twenty students enrolled in the “Dismantling Racism” class offered by St. Catherine University in Minnesota traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area. The class focused primarily on California’s prisons and what anti-prison activists are doing to challenge the human rights violations and racism endemic to California’s infamous prison system.
Last week, the class was taken around on a Black Panther History Tour in Oakland and Berkeley, led by Billy X Jennings from It’s AboutTime BPP Alumni & Legacy. Along with ongoing BPP history exhibits at the Alameda County Law Library in downtown Oakland and the window of Rasputin Music on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley is a new photo exhibit running until February 28, entitled Louder Than Words, at La Peña Cultural Center (3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley). An important friend and ally of the International Coalition to Free the Angola 3, Billy X Jennings’ work was previously spotlighted in an interview with Angola 3 News, entitled We Called Ourselves the Childrenof Malcolm.
The college class was co-led by Professor Nancy Heitzeg, of the Sociology and Critical Studies of Race and Ethnicity departments at St. Catherine University. Heitzeg was first featured in an interview with Angola 3 News about having taken a similar class on a tour at Angola State Prison in Louisiana, entitled Visiting a Modern-Day Slave Plantion. We have since done three more interviews with her: The Racialization of Crime and Punishment and Abolishing the Prison Industrial Complex (parts one and two). Heitzeg is also the editor and frequent contributor to the Criminal Injustice series at Critical Mass Progress, with her most recent articles focusing on Angola Prison & the broader Louisiana 'justice' system, as well as the January 26 protest at Chowchilla women's prison in central California.
Co-instructor William W. Smith IV is a juvenile correctional officer and community consultant on the prison industrial complex & the school to prison pipeline. Following the tour, he told Angola 3 News that he thought "the tour was very well done, with lots of information. We were extremely lucky to have that opportunity to talk and walk with Billy X Jennings. I wish more young people could be exposed to this because it was truly powerful. This information can change your mind, and it can enhance your lifestyle. Race still matters in criminal justice and all things. This tour reminds us of events/stories they want us to forget. We will not turn our backs."
Professor Heitzeg reflected on the recent tour, telling Angola 3 News:
(Stay tuned for part two, touring Berkeley and downtown Oakland!)
--Angola 3 News is a project of the International Coalition to Free the Angola 3. Our website is www.angola3news.com where we provide the latest news about the Angola 3. We are also creating our own media projects, which spotlight the issues central to the story of the Angola 3, like racism, repression, prisons, human rights, solitary confinement as torture, and more.