Who is Assata Shakur?
During the recent Chicago teachers strike, a controversy broke out between the Chicago police and the Chicago Teachers Union after a teacher rose to the rally podium and gave a “profanity-laced tirade”, which included “F-ck the Police!”
Here’s the video:
The Chicago Sun Times is reporting that the Fraternal Order of Police is demanding that the Chicago Teachers Union condemn the remarks. That hasn’t happened yet. As the Sun Times puts it:
A union spokesman said that the CTU never expected such profanity from Page May, of Assata’s Daughters, a collective of black women perhaps best known for protesting Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. The spokesman confirmed that May is not a CTU member nor a teacher in Chicago’s public schools.
May could not be reached either. She took the stage late Friday afternoon, right after Lewis revved up the crowd to march to Grant Park. May ended an impassioned call for justice with a profanity-laced tirade against CPD, the FOP and Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority, saying ‘F— the police, and everybody f— with ’em.’
If the Chicago Teachers Union organizers knew that Page May was a part of Assata’s Daughters, which seems likely, how could they not expect something like that to happen?
Assata’s Daughters is a reference to Assata Shakur. If you don’t know that name, you should. She has become quite the icon for radicals these days. You’ll regularly see activists at colleges and #BlackLivesMatter events sporting shirts or signs referencing her. Some examples are shown below:
What did Assata teach them? If it was her example of violence, we should be deeply troubled. The New York Daily News provides background on Assata Shakur, formerly JoAnne Chesimard:
The Queens-born Chesimard, now a 67-year-old fugitive granted political asylum by Fidel Castro, was a member of the Black Panthers and Black Liberation Army who went on a spree of city robberies and attacks on cops when she pulled the trigger and killed a New Jersey state trooper on May 2, 1973.
[Werner] Foerster, 34, was shot twice in the head with his own sidearm after the car Chesimard and two others were in was pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike. Chesimard was captured, tried and slapped with a life sentence, but escaped in 1979 and fled to the communist island nation.
The FBI put Chesimard on its Most Wanted Terrorists list in 2013 — a first for a woman — and doubled the reward money to $2 million. Now the path to justice may be open.
Here is a picture of New Jersey State Trooper Foerster:
He left behind a wife and two kids. Foerster also wasn’t the only police officer killed by members of the Black Liberation Army, of which Assata Shakur was a member.
The Black Liberation Army was a violent, radical group that attempted to fight for independence from the United States government in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The BLA was responsible for the murders of more than 10 police officers around the country. They were also responsible for violent attacks around the country that left many police officers wounded.
You can generally judge a person or group by the company they keep and, especially, by who they allow to speak at an event. Understandably, at times mistakes happen and someone who shouldn’t speak is allowed to do so. If that’s the case, then the Chicago Teachers Union should simply denounce Page May’s comments and distance itself from association with Assata’s Daughters. That the union hasn’t done so yet, raises some serious questions about the beliefs of some of its leadership.
Furthermore, while many are concerned about police violence, shouldn’t we also be concerned by a seemingly large number of individuals who are openly celebrating the execution of a police officer? How is there not a national outcry against such clothing and signs? If some white kid was sporting a shirt that celebrated lynching a black man, the outcry would be deafening — and rightly so! The same standard should be used for those who celebrate Assata Shakur.