Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Choosing community over chaos: Bobby Seale on the future of Oakland

    When it hit evening on Feb. 27, countless people had gathered at Merritt College to hear Bobby Seale, an Oakland native and a co-founder of the Black Panther party, speak. Before Seale even made it halfway to the stage, the audience was giving him a standing ovation. 
    The event was called “Community and Chaos: Where Do We Go From Here?” hosted by The Barbara Lee & Elihu Harris Lecture Series, and co-produced by Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center and Merritt College.
    Barbara Lee, Eilhu Harris, representatives from the MLK Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center, and Merritt College President Dr. Norma Ambriz-Galaviz all shared motivational speeches to set the mood for the night.

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    Then, Seale began his talk by recalling the flame that ignited the Black Panther Party. 
    Seale remembered brothers and sisters shouting from the corners, “We want black power!” Seale agreed with the sentiment, but mentioned that “we need to have some political power.” 
    Political organization, political power seats, and building actual theories were Seale’s steps to creating history.
    Seale didn’t fail to mention Huey Newton and his work that helped form that history. He described how, during rallies, the Panthers made sure to abide by laws and know their rights with authorities.
    Laney College English Professor Judy Juanita has described Seale as a “down-to-earth, wonderful, nice, and kind person,” having grown to know him through her work in the Black Panthers Party.
    Her experiences in the organization Seale co-founded “helped us envision a viability in revitalizing and connecting to our community versus fleeing into the mainstream, corporate America or the professions as a distanced, glancing downward teacher or social worker,” she wrote in an essay for “The Weeklings.”
    “By the time Nixon was elected my organization had moved from 400 members up and down the west coast to 5,000 members, 49 chapters and branches throughout the U.S.,” said Seale. “That’s how fast we rapidly moved.”
    Seale explained that the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. provoked Mr. Seale’s activism strategies to build a stronger political power.
    At the end of Seale’s lecture, he emphasized giving “power to the people,” referring to “a future world of cooperation, humanism, a continuing liberation struggle,” said Seale. 
    Today, Seale is still fighting for rights of the people and will continue that fight into the 21st century.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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