Children of Black Panthers to weigh in at Richmond panel discussion

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Children of Black Panthers weigh-in during Richmond panel discussion
Richmond Art Center (Photo by Kathy Chouteau)

By Kathy Chouteau

Get a unique take on the Black Panther Party from the children born into it at “We Were There Too! Year of the Panther Cub” Saturday, April 13 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Richmond Art Center.

Community members can attend a free panel discussion during which six panelists will share “the blessings, challenges and healing of children born into the Black Panther Party.”

On the panel that day will be Meres-Sia Gabriel, daughter of Emory Douglas and “Asali” Dickson and a Richmond resident who’s also the organizer and moderator of the event; Ajuana Black, educator and director of “I Was There Too;” Hiroji and Shona Pratt, children of Geronimo ji Jaga Pratt; Patrice Lumumba, son of Vincent Lynch; and Attica Georges, daughter of Claudia Grayson, a.k.a. Sis Sheba Haven.

“These are complex experiences that we will handle with care and warmth,” Gabriel said about the panel discussion in a Facebook post. She added that all Panther cubs have unique and important stories to tell.

The panel organizer said she received funding from the California Arts Council and Center for Cultural Power to organize programming in Richmond based on her experiences growing up in the Black Panther Party.

Bobby Seale, cofounder of the original Black Panther Party, visited a free weekday breakfast program at Pullman Point in Richmond in 2017 that was inspired by his organization’s Free Breakfast for School Children Program. He shared that, following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death, young people flooded his organization, resulting in rapid growth and new chapters throughout the country. He said the importance of their collective work expanded beyond the programs they initiated.

Seale shared later that day at the Craneway Pavilion, that some of the Black Panther Party’s first community efforts occurred in Richmond. It went on to establish Richmond’s first youth jobs program, he said, as well as other social justice activities, eventually leading the City of Richmond to honor Seale with a proclamation for his work.

The Saturday event will give attendees an opportunity to hear about the Black Panther Party’s work from a unique perspective. Those wanting to submit potential panel questions in advance can do so via Gabriel’s post regarding the panel discussion on Facebook.

The Richmond Art Center is located at 2540 Barrett Ave. in Richmond. Questions? Contact [email protected].