Fred Hampton Inspires December Action
Written by Kawanus Bailey (California-based College Student)
On Tuesday, December 21, 2010, community activists Kokayi Nosakhere, Stephanie Santos, and five volunteers stood on bustling street corners in freezing weather to help bring awareness to child hunger. Nosakhere, who is the community organizer from Fairview, a “low-income” neighborhood in Anchorage, had everyone hold a sign that read ‘End Child Hunger by 2015.’ When asked the reason behind this action, he stated, “We are bringing awareness that there are currently 13,910 children, at last count, suffering from child hunger during this Christmas break. We are hoping that from this action when the legislative session starts and a new school meals bill is filed, the community will support it.”
This demonstration was also in honor of a former Black Panther leader, Fred Hampton, who was assassinated at the age of 21 by a FBI-organized unit of the Chicago Police Department on December 4, 1969 for running a breakfast program. As a youth, Hampton was gifted academically and athletically, graduating from Proviso East High School in 1966 with honors before enrolling at Triton Junior College where he studied law.
While a student, Hampton became active in the civil rights movement where he joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People(NAACP). Here he was appointed leader of the Youth Council of the organization‘s West Suburban branch. In November 1968, Hampton then founded the Chicago Chapter of the Black Panther Party, where he immediately established a community service program. This program included the provision of free breakfasts for school children and a medical clinic that did not charge patients for treatment.
In January 1969, the first Panther’s Free Breakfast for School Children Program was initiated at St. Augustine’s Church in Oakland. By the end of the year, the Panthers’ set up kitchens across the nation, feeding over 10,000 children everyday before they went to school. Hampton’s program is a main factor that fuels the motivation behind the End Child Hunger Campaign.
Passionately, Stephanie Santos explains what she walked out of the event with. “Raising awareness on such issue is always a good investment of time. Even though it may be an inconvenience, like today because of the cold, the children are worth every shiver! Also, beyond raising awareness, we must relate to people; people like me and you, how they-we, can end child hunger. Equipping people with the acknowledgement of an issue is not enough. We must tell them HOW they can go about to cause change.”
*If you would like to be part of the visual petition, take a photo of yourself holding the sign ‘END CHILD HUNGER’. All photos, questions, or ideas of how you can contribute to this cause can be emailed to Kokayi Nosakhere at firstname.lastname@example.org*