“Only the people can liberate themselves:” Black Liberation Party inducts new leadership

“We was the generation that said ‘we can’t breathe,'” Kwame Shakur, Chairman of the newly-formed Black Liberation Party (BLP), told those virtually and physically present at the Party’s April 27 event at the Indianapolis Liberation Center. “But we gon’ breathe this time, you dig what I’m sayin’?” The culminating words of his April 27 speech kicked off the official induction of several new Party leaders.

The Black Liberation Party is, like its earlier iteration, organized around a 10-Point Program. The first and most central point is the demand for freedom and for the Black community’s self-determination. “We believe that Black and oppressed people will not be free until we are able to determine our destinies in our communities ourselves, by fully controlling all the institutions which exist in our communities,” it reads.

Organizing the Indianapolis chapter is is “a big task”

The first leader inducted was one who, Shakur said, faced an enormous project: organizing the branch in Indianapolis. “Indianapolis been scared for a long time,” he said. “There’s a lot of the ones scared of the oppressor. He’s one of the ones who came out of the dungeons,” Shakur continued, referencing his previous bids in prison.

Shakur invited Secretary General Devon Rush who will oversee Indianapolis Party activities. In his brief remarks, Rush spoke about the transformation of his consciousness. Rush said he used to harm his own community and people. “I was poisoning the people,” Rush said. “I woke up, and it really made me sick… Now I’m moving with the collective.”

Daniel Brooks

The Black Liberation Party and the community

Devon Rush

Secretaries General Sonia Harmon and Kiwi were also recognized that night, as was the Party’s Minister of Justice, Zahir Oladunni Mobolaji Touré, and the BLP’s Minister of Culture, Daniel Brooks of Indianapolis. Both Brooks and Rush are active in various struggles in the city, including the fight against police brutality, for community-controlled health care services, as well as Hope Packages.

The Party’s mass-based organization, the Black Liberation Circle, is currently centered in the Midwest. That and Shakur’s long history in the city are two reasons for the location of BLP’s ceremony. “I love the Indy Liberation Center’s new spot, and it’s my home town,” Shakur told the Indianapolis Liberator in an interview days later. “I don’t want my city to feel like I gave up on them.”

Fetaured photo: Black Liberation Party members after the ceremony. Credit: Indianapolis Liberation Center and Black Liberation Party.