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Support the Mutual Aid Fund For Veteran Black Panther Members!

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By JR Valrey, The People’s Minister of Information

The Black Panther Party founded in Oakland California by Minister of Defense Huey P. Newton and Chairman Bobby Seale, in 1966 was the most revolutionary mass organization for Black people to exist on the shores of North America. At one point, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called it the single most important threat to the internal security of the United States, because of its survival programs coupled with its self defense of the Black community. 

Since the FBI’s CounterIntelligence Program destroyed the Black Panther Party by lying in trials, assassinating key leaders, exploiting contradictions, sabotaging organizing plans and more, many members of the Black Panther Party that survived outside of being political prisoners of war were eventually faced with contending with the price of being elderly, in a capitalist economy. 

The Black Panther Party is an organization of people who have given key portions of their lives for the betterment of the Black community, and many paid a heavy price. When we honor Black veterans, we must remember those people who served in the Black army fighting against poverty, police aggression, government exploitation, ignorance, racism, self-hate and more; and the best way to do that is to show our appreciation by putting our money where our mouth is. Check out New York Black Panther alumni Bill Johnson as he talks about what the Mutual Aid Fund For Veteran Black Panther Members has been doing for him and his comrades. Please support it, if you can. Free the Black Panther political prisoners of war!

JR Valrey: What does the Mutual Aid Fund For Veteran Black Panther Members provide for alumni of the Black Panther Party?

Bill Johnson: Financial Support. 

JR Valrey: How did you get hooked up with the Mutual Aid Fund For Veteran Black Panther Members?

Bill Johnson: A veteran Panther sister called me, and got my address. A few months later a check was in the mail.

JR Valrey: What is the history of the Mutual Aid Fund For Veteran Black Panther Members? Who created it? 

Bill Johnson: It was created by Community Movement Builders. (CMB) is a member based collective of Black people dedicated to being a force for creating sustainable, self-determining communities through cooperative economic advancement and collective community organizing. Their mission is rooted in Black love and equity. Black Panther Veterans Fund is just one of their many programs. Check them out, Community Movement Builders.

JR Valrey: Why should our people support the Mutual Aid Fund For Veteran Black Panther Members?

Bill Johnson: The Panthers are more popular now than at any point in their history. Yet many of the individuals who formed the Black Panther Party are now struggling to take care of their most basic needs. From medical care and paying rent, to groceries and just enjoying everyday life pleasures, it is a struggle for all but a prominent few. As others hold up the image and style of the Black Panther Party and benefit financially, many of the Panthers who defended our right to “food, clothes and shelter” are now unable to provide that for themselves.

JR Valrey: Can you describe some of the work that the Black Panther Party did, all over the nation, in Black communities?

Bill Johnson: We had a lot of survival programs for the community. It would take me a few pages to list. I will cover a few that exist today. Because of the Panthers “Free Breakfast for School Children”, if you received breakfast in schools, it was because of the Panthers. We started the “Free Breakfast for School Children Program”.  As a result parents all across the country were saying, “The Panthers can’t be as bad as they are saying, they are feeding our children”. FBI Director Hoover went to the president and convinced him to start a free breakfast program, in all the schools in Amerikkka, in an effort to curtail our community support.

In the free medical clinics, doctors and nurses would volunteer to treat community members for free. It is the basis of some free clinics today, if I am not mistaken there are 3 of our free clinics in existence today: Seattle, Chicago, and New Orleans, which was very busy before and after Katrina. I was there before and after, and saw this firsthand.

With the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation it was the Panthers that forced the powers at be to recognize Sickle Cell as a deadly disease that mostly affected Black people. We performed Sickle Cell Anemia testing in every branch and chapter, located in Amerikkka. We shared our results with the doctors and nurses that were part of our medical clinics. These doctors and nurses sounded the alarm, and along with the Panthers pushed the government to create a Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, created to find a cure. The foundation exists today.

JR Valrey: Can you talk about some of the hardships that veterans of the Black Panther Party are now facing?

Bill Johnson: Many of the veteran Panthers are on a fixed income like me; social security and a pension. The cost for food, housing, gas, medical, and basic needs keep rising, and on our fixed income, it is hard to keep up with the rising cost.

JR Valrey: How can people get more information on the fund? How can people support the Mutual Aid Fund For Veteran Black Panther Members?

Bill Johnson: Mutual Aid for Veteran Black Panther Party Members is creating a Mutual Aid Fund | Patreon

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One thought on “Support the Mutual Aid Fund For Veteran Black Panther Members!

  1. My heroes and sheroes of the Black Panthers I am one of many children who ate meals provided for black children of the 60’s and 70’s. I remember as a child wearing a black tam on my head and holding my fist in the air showing my support as a child. I also remember being in San Quentin at a time when Huey was still there. So today I’d like to support our Black leaders any way I can.

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