The City College of New York just held its “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” at the Guillermo Morales-Assata Shakur Community and Student Center to continue a dialogue about putting an end to gender violence.
A 23-year-old global campaign initiated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University in New Jersey, the 16 Days movement has been on City College’s campus for two years.
Cleo Silvers, the legendary member of the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords, was a guest speaker at one of the discussions, held Tuesday, Dec. 4, titled “Assata Shakur: Bold Traditions of Warrior Women Fighting for Justice.” The discussion was led by Asantewaa Harris, the co-chair of the CCNY Committee for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.
The community center was filled with guests, students and professors alike to listen to Silvers speak about stories of liberation and the role of women, as well as the community, in educating and liberating Black people.
On the 43rd anniversary of the murder of the deputy chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, Fred Hampton, Silvers said, “He was a brilliant young revolutionary. They had to kill him.”
Silvers touched on various subjects and expressed her feelings on gender violence. “Men engage in violence as a response to pain,” she said.
She also spoke on educating young people and helping them want to receieve knowledge and bring about change. “This is not easy. They don’t believe that positive things can happen. Those of us who do believe have a huge responsibility.”
Silvers made a point to emphasize the harsh realities of being part of a revolution and the effects it had on women of the revolution, including herself and Assata Shakur, who is still classified by the FBI as a domestic terrorist.
“I have experienced tremendous pain. I’ve been disappointed, I’ve had many losses. I’ve lost many jobs. I’ve been poisoned,” she said. “Assata is in hiding and she is living a very difficult life. But she is a strong sister. You gotta be bad, you gotta be tough. You can’t take no s–t from nobody.”
A youth effort in song and culture is important to the movement of ending violence as well, Silvers pointed out. “Throughout our struggle for justice and equality, there has always been a music and cultural background. I would hope that the young hip-hoppers are gonna figure that out and do something about that.”
But aside from the hip-hop stars, Silvers says it has to start in the community. “We cannot be the people that accept any of these trends of violence,” she said.
For more information on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, visit altered livessexualviolenceinconflict.eventbrite.com