Black Panther goes Langara

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Parry Singh Mudhar talks about the Black Panther Party held for Langara’s International Socialists Club. Photo by Graham McFie
Parry Singh Mudhar talks about the Black Panther Party held for Langara’s International Socialists Club. Photo by Graham McFie

International Socialists member and former Langara student Parry Singh Mudhar recently spoke about the Black Panther Party’s work at the Langara International Socialists club event.

The Black Panther Party was a black revolutionary socialist organization in the United States in the 1960s to 1980s. They primarily focused on the rise of “Black nationalism” and U.S. politics.

Protests over healthcare and gender issues

They were in the news at the time for urging protests that sometimes turned violent. The Black Panther Party sought healthcare and gender equality while performing deeds like feeding children breakfast and providing escort services to ensure citizens’ safety.

“Self-reliance was what they [Black Panther Party] wanted to do,” said Mudhar. “To help the community, for one to happen, for self-reliance to happen, the self-defence almost had to come first. But unfortunately that is the part that most people only see about them.”

This was the Black Panthers’ way of unifying people, he continued.

“I think it’s really important to discuss these things,” said Bradley Hughes, faculty member of the physics and astronomy department at Langara.

Encouraging change

Mudhar would like to see a similar grassroots political group come together today with the same intentions and purpose.

“In my high school, there’s a program and they have special-needs students,” said Mudhar. “But they found out that the students aren’t eating before coming to school. So when the teacher fed them during the day, there was such a rise in the student’s performance. So if we can get a grassroots organization to help students and children – just like the Black Panthers did – that would be amazing for the next generation.”

He admits there are other organizations that are doing this.  However, Mudhar would rather see one large organization.

Shifting away from the negative image of the Black Panther Party, Mudhar uses their example to encourage change.

Reported by Graham McFie 

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