Maliki Shakur Latine was born in the Bronx – a tough neighborhood in a tough city. Seeing the vicious cycle of oppression through planned economic terrorism and ever present violence becoming entrenched in the daily lives of all those around him, he got involved with the Nation of Islam. He learned discipline and realized he was needed to make a change in the seemingly hopeless situation facing people of color in American cities. He soon became involved with the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. He took classes and helped with community projects like the free breakfast and lunch programs, free clothing drives and free day care programs.
The powers that control took notice and it became evident that they had no intention of allowing intelligent, independent-minded black people take control of their own lives.
He had this to say one day from his Upstate New York prison cell: “It was during this period that the U.S. government’s covert hostilities towards the BPP became very overt and direct. Hence, the U.S. government unleashed its strategy of repression in the form of its infamous “COINTELPRO” (Counter Intelligence Program) in its effort to thwart the party’s community-based programs and organizational effectiveness, while at the same time targeting the party’s leadership by way of manufacturing false and fabricated charges in an attempt to criminalize the party’s membership and the BPP itself.”
A stay in Riker’s Island introduced Latine to members of the Panther 21, NYC members of the BPP who were arrested and falsely accused of various criminal charges. They were all cleared but, like many other members of the Black Panthers, were forced underground. This became a way of life for members of the struggle in those days. Latine also went underground determined to continue to better the lives of people around the country.
In 1979, he was involved in an altercation with overzealous members of NYPD in Harlem. He was in a car that was stopped and approached by officers with their guns drawn. A gunfight broke out. Latine and the other three occupants of the car escaped, but all four were eventually arrested over the course of the investigation.
Maliki Latine and Jose (Hamza) Saldana were indicted on charges of attempted first-degree murder, four counts of criminal possession of a weapon, and criminal possession of stolen property. On October 1, 1981, the two of them were sentenced to 25 years to life.
“My arrest and convection were a direct result and retaliation for my Islamic beliefs, political aspirations, and direct association and involvement with the Black Liberation Movement. Nevertheless, I remain firmly and steadfastly committed and dedicated to the struggle for Black Liberation, Independence, and Self-Determination-by any means necessary!”
Maliki Shakur Latine spent more than 35 years behind bars. Once in a while it’s a pleasant surprise to share good news. This arrived from the MumiaNYC website in my email:
New York City Jericho Movement
Maliki Shakur Latine is out of prison after
37 years behind the walls!!!
December 7, 2016 / justiceformaliki
We are pleased to share some good news in troubling times! Through organization, collaboration, and a shared belief that change is possible, Maliki Shakur Latine just walked out of prison on parole after 37 years!! He is finally reunited with his family, friends, and community!
Family and Friends of Maliki Shakur Latine would like to thank the amazing Parole Preparation Project of the National Lawyers Guild-NYC Chapter, our awesome attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen, visionary artist Sophia Dawson, the Sekou Odinga Defense Committee, NYC Anarchist Black Cross, the Anarchist Black Cross Federation, the Jericho Movement, the RAPP Campaign, and everyone who contributed to this People’s Victory! Everyone who has written a letter of support, everyone who donated financially, everyone who shared a post or passed a palmcard, THANK YOU!!! Thank you for all of the work you do for freedom and justice!