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New Yorkers shocked by passing of great activist Mayor Chokwe Lumumba 

Nayaba Arinde | 2/27/2014, 10:13 a.m.
Chokwe Lumumba

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the grassroots movement was stunned by the news of the sudden and unexpected loss of warrior attorney and Jackson, Miss., Mayor Chokwe Lumumba at the age of 66.

The nationally known activist died at St. Dominic’s Hospital, reportedly due to heart failure.

Known and beloved throughout the Black nationalist community as an attorney, Lumumba was also a member of the provisional government of the Republic of New Afrika. As a lawyer, he represented the likes of Tupac Shakur many times, and he secured the release of sisters Jamie Scott and Gladys Scott from a controversial Mississippi prison sentence.

City officials were visibly moved as they addressed the press and spoke of the great loss of a man who was elected in July last year.

“It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that our beloved brother, human rights activist and mayor of this great city, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, passed away this afternoon,” said Safiya Omari, Lumumba’s chief of staff.

Bishop Ronnie Crudup prayed at City Hall and declared, “Lord, he was a good man, a man who had vision, vision for the city.”

Lumumba was determined to turn Jackson around. As he fought to address rebuilding the infrastructure of the city, he stressed, “[The] role of solidarity is central … for the economic transition of what is to what must be. We open for business.

“We are the right people in the right place at the right time to make a revolutionary change … that’s where we are,” Lumumba once told Laura Flanders of GRITtv in Jackson City Hall.

While in New York for Councilwoman Inez Barron’s inauguration in January, noting the phenomenal migration of people down South, particularly Atlanta, he encouraged New Yorkers to come down to Jackson help build it and be a part of a new movement. He said, “Jackson is rising.”

“I am shocked and deeply saddened by the passing of my comrade in struggle, the people’s mayor of Jackson, Miss., brother Chokwe Lumumba,” said community activist and former New York City Councilman Charles Barron. “He was a true revolutionary who had an undying passionate love for his people. Brother Chokwe had a humble spirit and a deep uncompromising commitment to our liberation. He was a hard worker.

On behalf of my wife, Councilwoman Inez Barron; my sons, Jawanza and Jalani; and all the brothers and sisters in our movement, we thank you, brother Mayor Chokwe, for coming to New York to be the keynote speaker for Inez’s inauguration. It warmed our hearts to hear you say how much you loved us and how proud you were to be the first mayor of Jackson, Miss., [and] to be the recipient of a New York City proclamation. It is comforting to know as you make your transition, you will be joining your beloved wife, Nubia A. Lumumba; Tupac Shakur, whom you represented; and your hero Malcolm X. Job well done, my brother! Rest in eternal peace! Aluta continua!” [ED: Is “aluta” one word or two? I’ve seen it both ways]