Rochester, NY – Every year, communities around the world celebrate Black August, a month dedicated to Black political prisoners, past and present, and the revolutionary agenda of resistance to systemic racial oppression. As Black August comes to a close, Citizen Action Community Organizer Jalil Muntaqim a former Black Panther, reflects on the significance of Black August with the following statement:

“Black August is a month of remembrance, a time for studying, fasting and exercise, to learn and teach the history of the Black liberation movements. It’s a month dedicated to honoring the legacies of political prisoners who sought freedom not only for themselves, but for the generations that follow. At Citizen Action, we use this time to uplift the fight for human dignity and self-determination. Citizen Action upholds these values, and as someone with deep historical ties to the Black liberation movement, I’m proud to have helped bring a comprehensive Black August program to Rochester this year with the Black August Organizing Committee.

“As we witness brazen attacks on our Democracy, with Jim Crow-style voting restrictions being passed by Republicans to suppress Black voter turnout, the time for mobilizing to protect the democratic and human rights of all people is before us. We have been able to use Black August as a conduit for social change and action. As we struggle to overcome the pandemic that has unleashed havoc on already under-resourced communities from New York City to Buffalo, it is imperative that we continue to educate the youth and teach a culturally responsive curriculum in schools so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past, and to further Demand Justice in the criminal (in)justice system.”