Political Prisoners (182285)
Credit: Contributed

Sunday, Jan. 17, the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee will host the 20th anniversary of its annual tribute to Black political prisoners and their families.

The event will take place at the Martin Luther King Jr., 1199 Labor Center, 310 W. 43rd St., Manhattan, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., with dinner served promptly at 4 p.m.

The theme of the event is “800 Years: Legacy, Commitment, Sacrifice, Honoring Our Captive Black Freedom Fighters.”

The event will be highlighted by guest speakers Sekou Odinga and Lynne Stewart, both recently released “freedom fighters.” Odinga, a veteran of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army, endured 33 years in the New York prison system. Stewart “beloved people’s lawyer,” nearly died in prison of breast cancer but was released as a result of a mass community pressure demanding compassionate release.

“While we are proud to have reached this milestone, with a consistency of effort that our freedom fighters and their families appreciate, with our 20th anniversary dinner tribute, we must underscore that the challenge of our commitment is a consequence of the insidious nature of this issue,” explained Dequi Kioni-Sadiki, the organization’s chair. “It is underscored by the fact that the overwhelming majority of our freedom fighters, after 20, 30, and 40 years, are still in captivity.”

“I’m looking forward to the dinner,” said Iyaluua Ferguson, long-time supporter and political prisoner activist. “Paradoxically, it saddens me that 20th year because means these brothers have been in prison for an extra 20 years.”

The widow of the recently late Herman Ferguson, a one-time “prisoner in exile and former political prisoner,” added, “It seems like there isn’t any light at end of the tunnel. So, while I appreciate the dinner, and love to see the families come, and demand the return of their loved ones, the fact that they are not home yet, takes away from the complete joy of the event.”

Two powerful young artists will perform at this event. Hailing all the way from New Orleans is soulful songstress Mykia Jovan. And no stranger to support for Black freedom fighters is spoken-word artist Verbal Artisan from the Bronx.

TIckets for the event are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. Validated parking will be available.

For more information about the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, please call 718-512-5008 or email mxcc519@verizon.net.