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Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary: Where Do We Go From Here?

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Picture taken by Joy Elan at the Oakland Museum of California

October 2016 was a month long celebration for the Black Panther Party 50th anniversary. A lot of events happened in Oakland with Life Is Living festival at deFremery Park, Joyce Gordon Gallery, and the museum/gala at the Oakland Museum of California. At the Oakland Museum of California, they had conferences and a concert. Then, there was the concert/rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza, which had a host of Oakland hip- hop artists, such as Kev Choice, Nu Dekades, Money B & Young Hump of Digital Underground, Mistah Fab, and so many more.

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Why The Black Panther Party Formed


WIC was initiated by the Black Panther Party

I had a chance to enjoy most of the celebrations. The Life is Living Community Forum with Youth Speaks had a collection of the free breakfast program, African dance lessons, and there were concerts on different stages. On the main stage was The Coup, and Girl 6 (a collection of six female singers from the Bay Area for a Prince tribute) with Kev Choice. That event was free for the community and there were food trucks and vendors. It was a sunny day and people came together to be a part of the legacy that the Black Panther Party left behind. To be at deFremery Park, where the Black Panthers used to host community meetings, was a special place and it seemed like people soaked in the positive vibes.

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Life is Living poster for Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary

The Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary Conference and Gala was October 20th through 23rd and it was a big event at the Oakland Museum with former Black Panther members and conferences. It had a concert on Saturday, the 22nd at night, and some local artists rocked the stage, such as Kev Choice, Martin Luther, Khoree the Poet, and Digital Underground. Also, there was an exhibit at the museum about the Black Panther Party and that exhibit is open until February 12th (information about the Oakland Museum of California: Black Panther Party Exhibit).

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Girl 6 (6 different women music artists from the Bay Area) with Kev Choice at Life Is Living (picture taken by Joy Elan)

Black Panther Party 50th year Anniversary – Rally & Concert! at Frank Ogawa Plaza was a free event for people of all ages. It was hosted on Saturday, October 22nd too and the energy was electrifying. People of all ages and backgrounds were there and the message was that we have to take control of our communities. Hip-hop artists and activists used their platform to speak to the community and to share stories. Some of the DJS were: DJ Pam the Funkstress, Davey D, DJ Toure’ of Hiero, DJ Tabu and DJ Julicio. The speakers were Mistah FAB, Cat Brooks, Shake Anderson, Minister Keith Muhammad, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (Retired NBA Star), Qubilah Shabazz (Daughter of Malcolm X) Saturu “James Mott” Ned (Black Panther Party), John Carlos of 1968 Olympics, and Zachary Norris.

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Power To The People concert and rally poster

Despite what people may say about the Black Panther Party, they were a group who believed in empowering their communities, and the things that they started are still being used to this day (free breakfast programs at schools, health clinics, free food programs, and a few others). Oakland was full of information and excitement. It was an honor to witness and be a part of a celebration of Oakland’s own Black Panther Party. The message of where do we go from here was WE, the people, have the power to change things in our communities. Change starts with us. As June Jordan said, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” All power to the people!

To learn more, you can go to:

Documentary: PBS Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution


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Picture taken by Joy Elan at the Oakland Museum of California

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Joy Elan

Joy Elan

Joy Elan is an award winning author and spoken word artist from Oakland and Berkeley, CA. She received her BA degree in African American Studies at UC Berkeley and her MA degree in Education at Stanford University. Her books are available on (poetry, non-fiction, and fiction genres). For more information, go to