Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he has raised $20,000 for a group named for convicted cop-killer Assata Shakur, who remains on the FBI’s most-wanted list with a $1 million reward for information leading to her arrest.
Coincidentally, Kaepernick, known for launching the anthem protests in the NFL against alleged racially motivated abuse of African-Americans by police officers, has achieved his goal of raising $1 million for organizations “working in oppressed communities.”
He announced Friday $10,000 donations to the group Assata’s Daughters from both comedian Hannibal Buress and actress Yara Shahidi for his Million Dollar Pledge campaign, the Washington Times reported.
Assata’s Daughters, which describes itself as an arm of Black Lives Matter, says it “carries on the tradition of radical liberatory activism encompassed by Assata Shakur.” The group has called for shutting down police departments and prisons.
As WND reported, Shakur, formerly known as Joanne Chesimard, is a former Black Panther and member of the Black Liberation Army. She escaped a U.S. prison and fled to Cuba after shooting and killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster execution style with his own gun during a traffic stop in 1973. As Foerster lay on the ground wounded, she picked up the officer’s gun and shot him twice in the head.
Shakur was found guilty of first-degree murder, assault and battery of a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to kill, illegal possession of a weapon and armed robbery. She was sentenced to life in prison, but on Nov. 2, 1979, she escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in New Jersey with the help of three armed men with the Black Liberation Army who drove her away in a stolen prison van.
Shakur has been on the run from U.S. authorities for more than 37 years and is said to be living in Cuba, where she was given political asylum. Cuba has refused to even discuss extraditing her. In 2013, Shakur became the only woman on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted Terrorists List.
Shakur is also the aunt of deceased rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur, who was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1996.
Shakur, who insists the jury that convicted her was racist, has become a popular figure on university campuses. WND reported in June 2015 at least 60 faculty and staff members at Marquette University signed a petition demanding that the Catholic institution keep a mural of Shakur on a wall in its Gender and Sexuality Resource Center after officials decided to remove it.
Kaepernick already has pledged to give $25,000 of his own money to Assata’s Daughters.
In a video distributed by the former 49ers quarterback, Shahidi, star of the ABC-TV comedy “Black-ish” and the spin-off “Grown-ish,” said Kaepernick gave her the “amazing idea” to donate to Assata’s Daughters, “which is an amazing organization based out of Chicago,” the Times reported.
The Colin Kaepernick Foundation has made donations to more than 30 organizations, the Washington paper said, with matching gifts by celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, Nick Cannon, Meek Mill, Usher, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Dr. Dre and DJ Khaled.
The player protests began in the preseason of the 2016 season when Kaepernick sat down during the national anthem before a 49ers game, later explaining he was protesting racial inequality and police brutality. The 49ers eventually released Kaepernick, whose performance had severely declined since leading his team to a Super Bowl in 2012, and he remains a free agent. The protests, mostly taking a knee during the anthem, have continued, and many analysts believe it’s the primary reason NFL attendance and TV viewership dropped precipitously this past season. Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast, for example, was down 7 percent from last year’s game, the smallest audience in nine years.
Kaepernick said in an Internet post Jan. 30 his fundraising drive “was never for or about me – it has & always will be for the people.”