Safiya Bukhari

Photo of Safiya BukhariSafiya Bukhari was a dedicated community activist and former political prisoner. She joined the Black Panther Party in November of 1969. She and other activists formed the National Committee to Defend Political Prisoners. She later joined the Black Liberation Army (BLA). In 1974, Safiyah was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in a case against the BLA. Safiyah refused to testify and went underground. In January 1975, she was captured, convicted and sentenced to 40 years. On December 31, 1976 Safiyah escaped from the Virginia Correctional Center for Women. She was re-captured on February 21, 1977 and returned to prison. On August 22 1983, Safiyah made parole. Since her release, she has worked on the cases of political prisoners, including the New York 3 and Mumia Abu-Jamal. She was a founder of the Jericho Amnesty Movement. By 1998 she, along with others, founded the Jericho Movement to free all political prisoners. She was also a member of the Republic of New Afrika and, at one point, was its Vice-President. In the past decade, Safiya took on Islam as her religion and found great strength in the spirituality it embodied. Safiya passed in the early hours of August 24th. She was 53 years old. Her exemplary life and spirit will be a shining light for us for decades to come.