CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted a request Saturday to journalists traveling to Cuba: Track down Assata Shakur for an interview.
Shakur is a cop-killing fugitive who escaped from prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba in 1984, where she received political asylum. Though Shakur, a former Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army member, has been in exile since before many Black Lives Matter activists were born, she has been hailed as a “freedom fighter,” her named invoked as a symbol of social justice.
What’s Behind The Renewed Attacks On African American Freedom Fighter Assata Shakur?— Famous Naija (@Famous Naija) 1458416700.0
“Assata Taught Me” hoodies are also prominent at BLM protests.
Yassss! I just bought my Assata Taught Me Tee ✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿 Only available for the next 6 days. Go get you one! ----> https://t.co/raFfJGc0Zs— Antoinette “Asst (To The) Regional Manager” Childs (@Antoinette “Asst (To The) Regional Manager” Childs) 1430415636.0
Disturbing new liberal trend: Idiots wearing "Assata taught me" shirts celebrating cop-killing run-away Assata Shakur pic.twitter.com/4R6yg0yjRx— #NeverTrump (@DefendWallSt) April 30, 2015
Marquette University painted a mural of Shakur on the wall of its Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, which was removed last year following public outcry.
Melissa Harris-Perry walked away from her own show on MSNBC last month in response to MSNBC’s pre-emption of her program for much of February for coverage of the presidential race. She did, however, keep her job as a professor at Wake Forest University, and for a $2,020 per semester hour tuition, she is currently teaching a class inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
Today I teach my class "#BlackLivesMatter: Perspectives on Blackness, State Violence, and Resistance." Syllabus: https://t.co/oUSJacqpdu— Melissa Harris-Perry (@Melissa Harris-Perry) 1458156390.0
The course aims to examine “the long history of racial justice, non-violent, and anti-racist political movements,” a description that some would say excludes the Black Lives Matter movement. Included on the reading list is the autobiography of Shakur.
Ahead of President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba Sunday, Tapper mentioned Shakur in a tweet directed at fellow journalists. The tweet referred to Shakur by her real name, Joanne Chesimard, though she has roughly 30 aliases she has used in the past.
Journalists traveling to Cuba -- see if you can grab an interview with Joanne Chesimard https://t.co/EN2UzLERl2— Jake Tapper (@Jake Tapper) 1458400615.0
@jaketapper re: Chesimard. Many have tried. She's in deep deep hiding. If she's even still there.— Bryan Burrough (@Bryan Burrough) 1458401498.0
@BryanBurrough the Cuban government must know where she is, no?— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 19, 2016
@jaketapper If you can't find her, look under "Assata Shakur."— Joseph Toomey (@JosephEToomey) March 19, 2016
Unless @POTUS plans to return cop-killer Joanne Chesimard aka Assata Shakur to justice, then his #CubaVisit is pointless. #BlueLivesMatter— o'neill (@o'neill) 1458428487.0
Will Senator Jeff Flake bring cop killer Assata Shakur back with him from Cuba when he goes with Obama?— Katie Pavlich (@Katie Pavlich) 1458302390.0
Shakur is not listed on the president’s agenda for his Cuba visit, though she remains on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list.