Mutulu Shakur, doctor of acupuncture, was active in the New Afrikan Independence Movement since the 1960’s. He was a political activist and health practitioner who worked at Lincoln Detox and the Harlem Institute of Acupuncture (among many other community organizations) in New York City. A victim of illegal COINTELPRO surveillance, Mutulu was arrested and unjustly imprisoned since 1986 (for almost 30 years).
Yuri was a friend of Mutulu through their movement activities starting in the 60’s and continued to write to him during his imprisonment.
Here is an exchange of letters we want to share from a good friend, Nobuko, and Mutulu:
Dear friends of Yuri and Mutulu,
I visited Yuri mid-April with my friend Patty Hirota. We didn’t expect much because the last couple visits she had been drifting in great discomfort. We were filling time browsing the wall of photos above her bed, cozied with her stuffed animals. She stirred a bit and seemed willing to eat. While feeding her I said, “Mutulu is coming up for parole in August.” She somehow sprung to life. “Where is he? What is happening?” Patty and I looked at each as Yuri went on, “We have to get everyone together…we have to help Mutulu,“ she repeated over and over. Then she lifted her frail hand in my direction and said, “you have to get everyone together.”
I shared this with Mutulu when Tatsuo and I visited last weekend. Mutulu, as always, shared his deep concern for her. On the morning of June 1, dear sister Yuri finally left her body.
With loving respect for her wishes…”We have to get everyone together.”
FROM YOUR LAST DISCUSSION CONCERNING YOUR VISIT TO YURI I YEARNED FOR HER TO BE FREE, SOMETHING THAT WE DO NOT LIKE TO SAY TO EACH OTHER. BUT MOST OF MY LIFE YURI’S SPIRIT HAS BEEN A COMFORTING FACTOR IN ALL MATTERS TO OUR LIVES IN STRUGGLE. A TRUE ALLY AND SISTER, FRIEND AND COMFORTER. THE LAST STAGES OF HER MENTAL CAPACITY MUST HAVE BEEN A TASK FOR HER TO COMPREHEND. BUT KNOWING HER AND THE MANY AGENDAS SHE ENTERTAINED, NO THOUGHT, NO STATEMENT, NO DIRECTIVE DID NOT HAVE A PRECISE OBJECTIVE. SHE WAS A PERSON WITH A DRIVING THIRST TO ACCOMPLISH, AND IN HER NEXT LIFE WE BETTER GET ON OUR P’S AND Q’S. SHE WILL BE GUIDING OUR LAZY SPIRITS THAT YEARN FOR REST. WE MUST ANSWER YURI’S CALL AND HER EXAMPLE OF A THRIVING SPIRIT IN ALL STAGES OF EXISTENCE.
SHE CALLED MY NAME AND REMEMBERED MY LOVE FOR HER. I AM THANKFUL. FOR ME IT’S AN AFFIRMATION OF THE ROLE SHE WILL PLAY IN MY LIFE AT HER NEXT STAGE. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE HER AND REMEMBER HER. HEAR FROM YOU LATER YURI. ENJOY THE RIDE. I SEE YOUR BEAUTIFUL SMILE ALREADY.
FATE IS A STRANGE AND TWISTED FIBER THAT RUNS THROUGH THE MATERIAL OF OUR LIVES. THE INEVITABLE MEETING BETWEEN YURI AND I WAS NOT BY CHANCE. THE COMBINED DESTINY OF OUR LIVES, AT LEAST FOR ME, WAS SPIRITUAL. WE FOLLOWED EACH OTHER IN A DYNAMIC EVOLUTION. I BENEFITED EXTRAORDINARILY FROM SISTER YURI’S SACRIFICES AND AUDACITY IN THE STRUGGLE.
SHE BECAME A BRIDGE TO HER WORLD THAT I DID NOT KNOW. I BEGAN TO SEE THROUGH HER EYES, MEETING BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF I WOR KUEN, DISCOVERING ACUPUNCTURE FROM HER INTRODUCTION. AND SHE FOLLOWED ME TO PLACES, UNBEKNOWNST TO MY THEN YOUNG MIND, IN SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH. AS PART OF THE REPUBLIC OF NEW AFRICA, WE WENT TOGETHER TO MOUNT BAYOU MISSISSIPPI TO EL MALIK. SHE FOLLOWED TO HELP ME WATCH MY STEPS, NEVER UNTANGLING OR DISLOYAL TO OUR COLLECTIVE FATE.
I’M NOT MISSING YOU YURI, FOR YOU ARE WITHIN ME. YOUR LIFE HAS SET A STANDARD WITH WHICH SOLIDARITY IS BUILT. THERE ARE VERY FEW IN THE WORLD THAT CAN COMPARE A LIFESTYLE I COMMITTED MYSELF TO OVER THESE YEARS TO GIVE HONOR TO YOUR MENTORSHIP. I’M SO THANKFUL FOR YOUR EXAMPLE. MUCH OF WHAT OUR STRUGGLE HAS ACCOMPLISHED, YOU HAVE BEEN A DRIVING FORCE. I AM SO THANKFUL.
I TAKE THE PREROGATIVE TO THANK YOU FOR THE MANY WHO ARE WAITING FOR YOU IN THE UNIVERSE, AND THE MANY WHO ARE UNAWARE OF YOUR TRANSITION. WE LOVE YOU SO VERY DEARLY. I WILL CONTINUE TO FOLLOW YOUR EXAMPLE, AND SPREAD THAT SPECIAL LOVE FOR LIFE AND JUSTICE ALL OVER THE WORLD.
IT IS SAID THAT STILL WATERS RUN DEEP. BUT YOUR LOVE, YURI, WAS NEVER STILL, YET VERY DEEP. TROUBLED WATERS WAS WHEN YOU SHINED AND MADE LOVE MANIFEST. SUCH LOVE IS ALWAYS IN THE EYES OF THE STARS.
WE WILL NEVER FORGET WA 6-7412. LOOK OUT COMRADES OUT THERE IN THE UNIVERSE! HERE SHE COMES!!! WHAT A SHOW AND TO THE KOCHIYAMA FAMILY, LEST WE FORGET, LOVE GOES ON FOREVER BECAUSE IT IS BORN IN A PART OF US THAT CANNOT DIE. I LOVE YOU ALL AND THANK YOU FOR BEING YURI’S ROCK AND INSPIRATION.
LOVE YOU ALWAYS.
DR. MUTULU SHAKUR.
FOR ALL THE P.O.W.’S, P.P.’S, EXILES AND MARTYRS.