Message from Assata on the occasion of Sundiata Acoli’s birthday

By Assata Shakur, 15 January 2000

Happy Birthday Sundiata!
Happy Birthday Sundiata!
Happy Birthday Sundiata!

I want so much for Sundiata Acoli to have a Happy Birthday. I want so much for Sundiata to know how much he is loved and respected. I want him to know how much he is appreciated by revolutionaries all over the world. I want Sundiata to know how much he is cherished by African people, not only in the Americas, but all over the Diaspora. I want him to know how much we admire his strength, his courage, his kindness and compassion. Sundiata loves freedom and we must struggle for the life and freedom of Sundiata. Sundiata has struggled for the life and the freedom of Sundiata.

We wish Sundiata a happy birthday, but we know full well that Sundiata is still in prison. Happy Birthday in prison, means trying to be happy as possible in an unhappy reality. Sundiata has suffered more than 26 years of injustice, and that is 26 years to many. Sundiata has spent more than 26 birthdays in prison and that is 26 birthdays too many. We all know what Sundiata wants for his birthday—Sundiata wants freedom. We all know what Sundiata needs for for his birthday—Sundiata needs freedom. We all know what Sundiata deserves for his birthday—Sundiata deserves freedom! We can not give Sundiata the gift he deserves today, but we can give him the next best thing. We can give him a solemn promise, we can give him a sacred pledge. We can promise that we will work our fingers to the bone, that we will fight tooth and nail, that we will move heaven and earth, to see that this the last birthday he will spend in prison. We must get off the defensive and get on the offensive. We must spread the campaign to free Sundiata into the schools, into the churches, into offices, into factories, into every neighborhood where freedom loves live. We must spread the campaign to free Sundiata all over the world. We must spread the campaign to free Sundiata into every aspect of our lives.

This is a brand new century and we need a brand new spirit and a brand new style. I make a special appeal to young people. I am not only asking you to work hard to free all political prisoners, I am asking you to party hard to free all Political Prisoners. I am asking you to raise your voices wherever you go and to chant, to rap, to sing for the liberation of Sundiata Acoli and all Political Prisoners. I am asking you to bring the spirit of freedom to discos, to nightclubs, to house parties, wherever young people gather. While you are partying and having fun, I ask you to think of political prisoners, and when you’re getting down to the music I ask you to chant his or her name. I want you to chant “Free Sundiata,” I want you to chant “Free Mumia,” Free Leonard Peltier and so on. I want you to chant the names of every political prisoner still behind the walls.

We must make the liberation of political prisoners a number one priority. We must make our voices heard. We must let this government know that we’re tired of oppression, we’re tired of repression and we want our freedom fighters free. We must create the conditions that will insure that next year Sundiata will be able to spend his birthday with his friends and his loved ones, and to be present at his birthday party.

FREE SUNDIATA ACOLI!
FREE MUMIA ABU JAMAL!
FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!

Assata Shakur
Havana, Cuba
January 15, 2000

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