Guest: Jalil Muntaqim
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW
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In this episode, I talk with Jalil Muntaqim, who is a revolutionary and a community organizer with Citizen Action of New York. Jalil is a former member of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and the Black Liberation Army (BLA) and former political prisoner, having served almost 50 years in prison since being arrested when he was 19 years old. He was employed as a social worker at the time. We are celebrating his one-year release from prison! We talk about prison, his involvement in the BPP and BLA, his organizing from within prison, as well as his current organizing. He talks about the repression he experienced for his efforts, including being placed in solitary confinement multiple times, the last time for teaching a history class to prisoners that included teaching about the Black Panther Party. Jalil emphasizes the dehumanizing nature of prison and makes clear that they never broke him. He has never stopped organizing and fighting for Black liberation. During his decades in prison, Jalil earned numerous educational degrees, authored two books, led multiple education programs, and mentored many younger incarcerated men. Jalil talks about the United States being guilty of committing genocide of Black people and Indigenous people and how he is organizing an international tribunal to formally charge the U.S. with these crimes. He provides the definition of genocide, which leads us into a conversation about social work’s complicity with genocide due to being part of the removal of Black children and Indigenous children from their families. I am so honored to have been able to interview him and help share his story and powerful words that always emphasize the need to resist. I hope this conversation inspires you to action.