Friday, 4 February
UCSD Price Center Theater
La Jolla, CA
The African American Studies Minor at UC San Diego is thrilled with the opportunity to host a panel featuring recently released Black political prisoner, Sekou Abdullah Odinga and Dr. Johanna Fernández, Professor in the Department of Black and Latino Studies at Baruch College in New York City. The panel will also feature special guests Aaron Harvey and Brandon Duncan, two men from Southeast San Diego who were jailed under California Penal Code 182.5, a racist statute that has been used to arrest a number of young Black men for crimes committed by supposed “gang members.” Since their exoneration, Harvey and Duncan have been leading a local grassroots campaign against Penal Code 182.5, gang injunctions, and the prison industrial complex.
Sekou Abdullah Odinga will be visiting UCSD as a part of his current national tour in support of US political prisoners. He grew up in Jamaica, Queens-New York in a family of nine. He is a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was inspired by the revolutionary principles of Malcolm X when he joined X’s Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), followed later by membership in the Black Panther Party (BPP) and Black Liberation Army (BLA). He is a Muslim, a citizen of the Republic of New Afrika and for thirty-three years was a U.S. held Political Prisoner of War. In 2009, Sekou reached his mandatory release date for his federal conviction in connection to the Liberation of Assata Shakur — who is currently living in exile in Cuba — and was “paroled” to the New York State prison system. After five years, he won a parole hearing and was released on parole on November 25th, 2014 from the New York State penitentiary.
Dr. Johanna Fernández is Professor of Black and Latino Studies at New York City’s Baruch College. She received a PhD in History from Columbia University. Professor Fernández teaches 20th Century U.S. History, the history of social movements, the political economy of American cities, and African-American History. She is a former Scholar-in-Residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem New York. She has written and produced a film dealing with the case of Black political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal entitled, Justice on Trial: The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal (2010). Prof. Fernández is currently working on her forthcoming book on the Young Lords Party, the Puerto Rican counterpart to the Black Panther Party. The manuscript is under contract with Princeton University Press for the Politics and Society in 20th Century America series and is tentatively entitled, When the World Was Their Stage: A History of the Young Lords Party, 1968-1974.