What would the Panthers do in 2016

Beyoncé’s Super bowl performance stirred a lot of controversy in the media about her song “Formation” which touches on the Black Lives matters movement and having her back up dancers dress up like Black Panther Party members.   

The Black Panther Party played an important part in our civil rights history. They were a group whose beliefs closely aligned with Malcolm X in terms of using self-defense to take a stand against oppressing the African American race. 

In October 1966 Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panthers. They were known for breaking barriers and standing up for causes they believed in. 

One of the types of issues they took on was on April 25, 1967 when they marched on the California state capital fully armed protesting when the state outlawed being armed in public. Thirty members were arrested because of this but most importantly they sent a message to the state capital. 

All of this makes me think about what would be some issues that the original Black Panther Party would address if they were still active in 2016. One of the issues they would press is the abundant amount of Black men in jail. 

The ratio of Black men to women is beyond ridiculous. For every 100 black females there are only 83 males because of incarceration. Black power is a message they strongly believed in so this ratio would make them strive to lower these rates. 

Another issue they would closely focus on is gang violence. Not only can this contribute to more Black men going to prison but it adds to the rate of Black on Black crime. Black on black crime is when African Americans kill other African Americans which overall oppresses our race. 

Gang violence is a strong poison that makes our neighborhoods very unsafe. Gangs cause nothing but crime and will hurt innocent people in the process. For example, LA gangs are known to participate in killing 100 people in 100 days. This not only decreases the population unnecessarily but injures or kill people who are not even affiliated with the gang. 

The Black Panthers would find this issue so important because power comes in numbers and the more African Americans out of prison the better. Having a positive influence early in a child’s life makes all the difference. 


Miniya Shabazz is a freshman mass communication major from Laurel, Maryland.