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‘Now Is Not the Time to Stop Fighting’: Former Black Panther Activist Demands Accountability for Newly Elected Officials

The announcement of Kamala Harris as the nation’s vice president-elect, the first African American woman to hold that position, has brought a sense of calm in what many Americans considered to be a four-year storm that began in 2016 with the election of U.S. President Donald J. Trump.

“It’s evidence that if you work hard, you can achieve your goals,” said Faye Bellamy regarding Harris. “However, now is not the time to stop fighting.”

Bellamy is a social activist who’s been fighting for rights for Black people through protests and changes in legislation her entire life.

“When you get this old, you get tired of talking about the same thing,” said Bellamy. “This is not a new fight.”

Bellamy marched and protested with the Black Panther Party in central Florida throughout the ’60s. The Black Panther Party was birthed in the streets of Oakland, California, in 1966 in response to an enormous amount of Black deaths at the hands of police.  

“As Malcolm X used to say, by any means necessary,” said Bellamy. “I can understand those who choose to do whatever to correct the ills.”

Bellamy says the recent protests all over the world serve as evidence that the fight hasn’t changed.

“It’s like putting a trailer of food in a community where you have hungry people. Is it right or wrong for them to steal what they need,” questioned Bellamy. “If this country had not suffered from systemic racism, would these people see the need to steal anything out of those stores? Have they been treated properly to have the opportunity to have basic needs? Are these people frustrated, aggravated — with injustices?”

Bellamy spent 40 years in education. During that time, she created programs that helped hundreds of underserved kids graduate from high school. She told Atlanta Black Star that the fight for education is still the same, including when it comes to “the disproportionate amount of Black students that are being suspended or placed in programs that do not give them the resources they need to be successful.”

She added that things will begin to change when more people hold elected officials accountable.

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