Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Politics

Trump Presidency Inspires Reactivation Of San Diego Black Panther Party

The iconic symbol of the Black Panther Party featured in a news article about the group, December 1968.
SDSU Library
The iconic symbol of the Black Panther Party featured in a news article about the group, December 1968.
Trump Presidency Inspires Reactivation Of San Diego Black Panther Party
GUEST: Amita Sharma, KPBS Investigative Reporter

The long serving tension a police treatment is spawning a resurrection of the Black Panther party. Sharma says members told her the reactivation is met to reach the oppressed across the nation and not just the black community. All power to the people The elderly and young gathered at the cell phone restaurant. These voices are part of the resurgence of the Black Panther party. Old-timers like Wallace reinforce the hallmark and point platform. It is in less formal language. We want bread. We want power and education and justice and peace. The message may have not changed much that the means to rally the people have We have to organize everywhere. The boys club and the girls club, schools, the house, twitter, Facebook, your bill, my book. Price is one of the original founding members of the local panther party launched in 1967 at the Black student Union at San Diego State University. He says the party revival is more vital now than ever. The elephant in the room is the new president of the United States of America. He says people worry about Trump's position on climate change and the push to get rid of Obamacare. The chief strategist and Jeff Sessions have both been accused of racism. The presence in the White House has left African-Americans on edge. They are scared to death. They are scared to death. The biggest fear? The Constitution nation does not contain them. They have no boys. Price as the relationship with the police department remains painful for the community. The San Diego state analysis shows that officers are more likely to search black and Latino drivers. Acknowledges there has been progress since he first became a panther in 1967. There are good police officers and bad police officers. They need to take a deeper look into the interaction with the other cities. Price as the Panthers are worried about deportations of people who are living in the country illegally. This is greatly related and intertwined with the history of the Brown community. We went to school together. We fought together. We are affected by what is happening to our brothers across the border and what is happening to families in the United States. A former Marie and homebuilder is hearing that message is what might prompt him to join the Panthers. There is a concession. They are advocating for everybody. It is everybody. Audrey had the local chapter of the national Association for the advancement of colored people. He welcomes three formation of the Panthers. This is a most appropriate time for people to engage with anti-civil rights organization. The NAACP the ACLU and the Black Panther party if it is in fact committed to assisting people and being peaceful. That party members say they plan to reintroduce the program for children and check for diabetes and sickle cell anemia. Henry Wallace is encouraging people to exercise the second amendment rights. That is in case Trump declares martial. I do not think it will get to that point but then again, people did not think that Mussolini would become a fascist test-taker. People did not think that Hitler was going to do nothing but making Germany great we get. Robert Williams has a last word about Trump. He says he wants the community to unite to help kids remain in school, assist the needy, and hold itself accountable. We need to be active regardless. Is not just simply responding because the rate presidential candidate or election or whatever. Are problems are bigger than Donald Trump. That is the hope -- that is the message he hopes that will resonate. All power to the people. KPBS news. Joining me is Sharma. Welcome. Thank you. It is good to be here. How intertwined was Donald Trump selection and three formation of the Black Panther party is indigo? It is closely intertwined. It is like most people, African-Americans watched the presidential campaign unfold. His campaign for presidency during that time, stories came out about he and his father had been sued in 1970s for refusing to rent to qualified black people. Throughout Barack Obama's presidency, he question whether Obama had been born in United States. People saw that as a racist line of inquiry. He pointed Jeff Sessions, who was rejected earlier for a federal judgeship because of racist comments. The chief strategist is a former head of Breitbart news, which is a headlights like hoisted high and proud the Confederate flag proclaims the glorious heritage. People are paying attention. Trump is not the only reason for the re-formation. In the last three or four years, there is a rash of shootings of our armed black people. We had our own situation here last year. There was a shooting of an unarmed black man by the name of Alfred. I would say that the combination of continued troubled interactions with police as well as the election of Donald Trump to the presidency has contributed to the re-formation of the San Diego Black Panther party. We heard one of your stories about the sometimes violent interactions between the police in the panther party members in the 1960s. The San Diego Police Department did not speak to you for the story. Did you get a stance -- cents from the black party methods -- the members that they have concerns about being treated fairly by law-enforcement? They pointed to a study that was released late last fall I the San Diego State University research department. That report found that lacks and Hispanics were more likely to be searched and questioned after they were pulled over. Price, was the education minister for this he indigo Black Panther party speaking about interactions between the black community and the CMD ago police department. I am hoping they are educated enough. Today, they are -- there are more people of color in the Police Department and political positions. We would hope that they would take kindly to councils ears and pay attention to the necessary changes that need to be made based upon the current treatment of people of color and oppressed people. They have a long way to go. The end that the executive director said this reformation of the Black Panther is coming at a good time. The quote is, if it is in fact committed to a 60 people and being peaceful, did he say what misgivings he has about the group in San Diego? I do not think he had any misgivings. At the time and mood him, he had not heard that the local Black Panther party was reactivating or that the people doing the reactivation were the original founding members. I believe that he wanted to clarify that they were not in any way affiliated to the new Black Panther party, which has been labeled a hate group by the southern party wall center. There is no such group here in San Diego? Back at the we know up. Henry Wallace of the reformulated Panthers in San Diego told you he wants people to exercise the second amendment rights. To be clear, he wants Panthers to arm themselves, isn't that right? He says that they should arm themselves. Yes, he does. Henry Wallace talks about the need to exercise Second Amendment rights in order to promote self-defense and not to go out there and aggressively use the weapons. One member, Robert Williams, told you the group would focus on problems that are heavier than Trump. Where is the group focusing its attention back They want to go back to what they did act in 1967 after they originally formed. They created a breakfast program, a free breakfast program for schoolchildren. They served meals to the elderly. They had health clinics. Price said he would like to see testing for sickle cell anemia and diabetes. It is more linking people who are needy within the community to available resources. They also want people to come together to act as mentors for kids who are still in school, who need to stay in school. I have been speaking with Sharma. Thank you. Thank you.

Trump Presidency Inspires Reactivation Of San Diego Black Panther Party
The group says police practices are also a factor in the resurrection of the party.

“All power to the people,” said San Diego Black Panther party chairman Henry Wallace.

That old but familiar political chant reverberated through Bonnie Jean’s Soul Food Restaurant on a recent Saturday morning.

The audience consisted of the elderly and young alike, some in black berets. And many, part of the San Diego Black Panther Party’s resurgence.

Video Part 2: Trump Presidency Inspires Reactivation Of San Diego Black Panther Party

The old timers like Wallace recited the Panther Party’s hallmark 10-point platform, albeit in less formal language.

“We want land,” Wallace said. “We want bread. We want housing, education and justice and peace.”

The message may not have changed much over time, but the means to rally the people are different.

San Diego Black Panther Party Chairman Henry Wallace recites the group’s 10-point platform at recent meeting, February 18, 2017.
Matthew Bowler
San Diego Black Panther Party Chairman Henry Wallace recites the group’s 10-point platform at recent meeting, February 18, 2017.

“We have to organize everywhere,” said Panther education minister Trunnell Price. “On the playground. The boys club. The girls club. The YMCA. The school. Friend’s house. Twitter. Snapshot. Facebook. Your book. My book. That’s what life is all about — moving forward in a positive way.”

Price is one of the original founding members of the local party launched by the Black Student Union in 1967 at San Diego State University. The San Diego chapter of the Black Panther Party disintegrated in the early 1970s, wounded by an FBI program known as COINTELPRO which sought to negate the group’s influence through raids and encouraging animosity with rival groups.

Price said revival of the party is more vital now than ever.

RELATED: History Of San Diego’s Black Panther Party Marked By Social Work And Police Clashes

“The elephant in the room is the new president of the United States of America,” he said.

Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have both been accused of espousing racism. Their presence in the White House has left African-Americans on edge.

“They’re scared to death,” Price said. “They’re literally scared to death.”

Their biggest fear?

“They have no power, that the Constitution doesn’t pertain to them, that their liberties can be taken away from them, that they have no voice,” Price said.

The relationship with the San Diego Police Department also remains painful.

A San Diego State analysis from 2016 showed that officers are more likely to search black and Latino drivers. Price acknowledged there’s been progress since he first became a Black Panther 50 years ago. He said back then, some officers would detain black teens if they had veered outside of their neighborhood and rough them up.

“There are good police officers and there are bad police officers,” Price said. “They need to and I’m sure they’re trying to take a deeper look into their interactions with inner cities, with minorities and the oppressed.”

Since the report came out, the department has announced plans to step up training and revamp traffic stop rules.

Price said Panthers also want “constructive dialogue” with police in making changes. KPBS reached out to the police department for comment, but they did not respond to interview requests.

Price said the Panthers are also worried about Trump’s executive order banning immigrants temporarily from six Muslim countries, his disbelief in climate change, the replacement of Obamacare and the deportations of undocumented immigrants.

“The history of San Diego is greatly related and intertwined with the brown community in San Diego,” Price said. “We went to school together. We played together. We fought together. So we are affected by what’s happening to our brothers across the border and what’s happening to their families here in the United States without a doubt.”

Former Marine Will Haynes attended a recent San Diego Black Panther Meeting to learn more about the group, February 18, 2017.
Matthew Bowler
Former Marine Will Haynes attended a recent San Diego Black Panther Meeting to learn more about the group, February 18, 2017.

To 26-year-old former Marine and home builder Will Haynes, hearing that message is what might prompt him to join the Black Panthers.

“They’re advocating for the people, for everybody,” Haynes said. “That’s what I’m for. I’m for everybody.”

Andre Branch, head of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, welcomed the reformation of the Panthers in San Diego.

“This is a most appropriate time for people to engage with any civil rights organization: the NAACP, the ACLU, the Black Panther Party, if it is in fact committed to assisting people and being peaceful,” Branch said.

Party members said they plan to re-introduce their breakfast program for children and checks for diabetes and sickle cell anemia.

As for peace?

Panther chairman Henry Wallace has encouraged people to exercise their Second Amendment right to self-defense. That’s in case, Wallace said, Trump declares martial law.

“I don’t think it’s going to get to that point,” Wallace said. “But then again, people didn’t think Mussolini would become a fascist dictator either.”

Panther party member Robert Williams said he is unworried by Trump.

He said his focus is for people to unite to help kids remain in school and assist the needy. Ultimately, he wants the community to hold itself accountable.

“Our problems are heavier than Trump,” Williams said.