Titled, “Love Yourself, Love Your Freedom: Official Welcome Home Celebration for Sekou Odinga,” a standing-room-only auditorium crowd of activists from Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Newark and New York City came to welcome Sekou Odinga back into the community. Odinga, a “previously U.S.-held political prisoner of war,” former member of the Organization for Afro American Unity, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and the Republic of New Afrika, was originally released Nov. 25, 2014. Odinga was charged at the state and federal levels with the liberation of Assata Shakur, the expropriation of a Brinks armored car and the murder of six police officers. He had been incarcerated since 1981.
Hosted by hip-hop artist Hakim Green, the celebration took place this past Sunday at the Malcolm X and Dr. Shabazz Memorial and Education Center in Harlem. The center was originally known as the Audubon Ball room, the place where Malcolm X was assassinated nearly 50 years ago. The program featured screenings of the two films “The Mike Brown Rebellion” by Rebel Diaz and “Afraid of Dark” by Mya B. Performances from local artists such as DJ Revolution, Divine RBG and the Peace Poets kept the audience energized throughout the entire day. Dequi Kioni-sadiki, the wife of Odinga, for all her years of work around political prisoners and mass incarceration, was given an award from the Universal Negro Improvement Association.
Odinga gave the keynote address. He said, “Don’t forget those that are still behind the wall. They deserve to be remembered. They paid the price and continue to pay the price to be remembered, to be supported and to be released, to be free. We need to free our political prisoners.” Odinga plans to continue to advocate on behalf of political prisoners and those falsely incarcerated.
Delise Hampton, a member of the National Black United Front and a Howard University student, who traveled from Washington, D.C., to observe the program, said, “I was completely overwhelmed. I never had been a part of an experience such as this.”
The event was sponsored by Brotherhood SisterSol, Harlem Cop Watch, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, New York Black Panthers, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Rebel Diaz Arts Collective and the Universal Zulu Nation.
Those interested in supporting Odinga and his work around political prisoners can contact the Sekou Odinga Defense Committee, P.O. Box 380-122, Brooklyn, N.Y., 11238 or visit www.sekouodinga.com.