safeHouse Speakers Bureau
Ashanti Alston is an anarchist activist, speaker, writer, and former member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army (BLA) and a former political prisoner. Ashanti was also the co-chair of the National Jericho Movement (to free U.S. political prisoners.) Ashanti came of age as the political action of the 1960's was hitting its peak. He recalls struggling through Malcolm X’s biography as a teen and feeling awestruck at the 1967 rebellions that saw numerous American neighborhoods temporarily taken over by the people who lived there, including his home town of Plainfield, New Jersey. He joined the Black Panther Party while still in high school, starting a chapter in Plainfield, and later going underground with the Black Liberation Army. For a while, Alston straddled the above ground Panther work of selling newspapers and running breakfast programs with more aggressive underground tactics. In 1974 he was involved in a Connecticut “bank expropriation,” captured and imprisoned for 11 plus years. Today, Ashanti is active in the prison abolition movement (Critical Resistance and the National Jericho Movement), in Anarchist People of Color organizing, and in efforts to connect organizers of colour in the north with the Zapatistas (Estacion Libre) in Mexico.
Viviane Saleh-Hanna is an Assistant Professor of Crime and Justice Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Coptic and Palestinian in origin, Canadian in citizenship and Pan-Africanist in her heart, she identifies as an activist scholar. Prior to moving to the United States, she lived in Nigeria and worked with prisoners in Nigeria, Ghana and the Gambia. Her book Colonial Systems of Control: Criminal Justice in Nigeria is the first publication on prisons in West Africa and the first publication to provide an in-depth look at the life inside African prisons. More recently, her scholarhsip and activism have focused on the role black music plays in black liberation struggles and the fight against modern day slavery through Criminal Justice Institutions and policies. At the root of all her scholarly work is the desire and expressed responsibility to bring forth the voices of those unheard and to promote changes that bring us closer to a society that actually promotes justice, liberty and self-determination.
The emcee/singer/graffiti artist/writer and all around agitator known as (not4)Prophet was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and came up on the streets of East Harlem and the South Bronx, NYC. As a teen-ager he was homeless, and (then) a squatter. He went on to form(ulate) and front the underground anti-corporate political punk/hip hop/salsa/reggae fusion band known as RICANSTRUCTION, as well as the radical agithop group called X-Vandals, and later founded the art and agitation collective called RICANSTRUCTION NETWERK that has over the years organized and mobilized political rallys, demonstrations, benefits and fundraisers in support of worthy (and varied) political causes throughout the US, Latin America and other barrios, favelas, and ghettos around the world. (not4)Prophet's goal (and plan) is to create autonomous and revolutionary (Hip Hop) communties throughout the (Black) planet.
Emcee/ Freedom Singer spiritchild was born in Harlem, NYC and Raised in the South Bronx, NYC. As lead(er) of Mental Notes, an xSpiritMental hip hop fusion band, spiritchild has worked with various artists and has performed in Egypt, Mumbai and New Delhi, Germany, France and Amsterdam as well as throughout the u.s.. spiritchild is also co-founder of Movement in Motion artist & activist collective, an international autonomous collective which disseminates information through cultural mediums and attempts to build alternatives to mainstream media and propaganda by cultivating and documenting a culture of resistance.
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