The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.61/No.28           August 25, 1997 
Rallies Celebrate Pratt's Freedom  

LOS ANGELES - More than 1,000 people rallied July 26 at Liemert Park to celebrate the release from prison of former Black Panther leader Geronimo Pratt. Jailed for 27 years on trumped-up charges for a murder he did not commit, Pratt was freed from prison in June after an Orange County judge ruled that he did not get a fair trial.

The rally was organized by supporters of Pratt and was built by the Black-oriented radio station KJLH, which is owned by Stevie Wonder. Among the predominantly Black crowd were numerous high school and college students.

Pratt urged people to learn their history and become disciplined. He urged the audience to dedicate themselves to liberation and work to put an end to crack use, disrespect for elders, and to turn the "gangster mentality into a revolutionary mentality."

Kamal Hassan of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement chaired the event. In introducing Heather Martens, who spoke for the group of Los Angeles youth attending the World Festival of Youth and Students in Havana, Hassan said, "Whenever you hear `Cuba,' you should applaud. Cuba took in Black people who were forced to leave the United States. We have to deal with the beast here so he'll lay off Cuba."

Martens asked for support for the world youth festival. She explained that Cuba has supported the fight for civil rights here and the fight against apartheid in South Africa.

There were also speakers from the Patrice Lumumba Coalition, the New African Peoples Organization, several anti-gang organizations, and U. S. Rep. Maxine Waters. A steel drum band and poetry reading provided entertainment.

Pratt has spoken to large crowds in several cities since his release, including New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home