What is the Morales/Shakur Center?
was won in 1989 through a student and community occupation led by the club
Students for Educational Rights
(SER). It was established as a student and community Cen-ter, aiming to ght back against a college administration that was and continues to decrease community access to the institution through tuition increases and budget cuts. roughout the years, the Center has been a space that’s housed political education pro-grams, a soup kitchen, a farm share, know-your-rights trainings, healing circles, campus activism, can and clothing drives, newspa-pers, support for political prisoners and so much more. Because of the activism that has come out of the Center, SER has prevented the further criminalization of black and brown youth, printing fees, the elimination of the Marshak Library, and the rais-ing of the student activity fee. SER has also won (until most recent-ly) extended library hours and 24/7 library during midterms and nals week, gender neutral bathrooms on campus, the inclusion of gender identity in our anti-discrimination policy, and much more throughout the years. Plans to institute a Multicultural Gender Resource Center on campus have been ground to a halt since the takeover.
Assata Shakur was born on July 16, 1947 in Jamaica, Queens, as JoAnne Deborah Byron. In the 1960s, Assata attended the CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College and then the CUNY City College of New York, where she “wanted a name that had something to do with struggle, something to do with the liberation of our people.” [see Assata: An Autobiography] She decided to change her name to Assata Olugba-la Shakur; Assata means “She who struggles,” Olugbala means “Love for the people,” and Shakur means “the thankful.”Assata eventually joined the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Army, and the Republic of New Afrika. On May 2, 1973, Assata was shot by policy and falsely charged with the murder of a New Jersey State Trooper. She was tortured and incarcerated for six years until 1979, when she nally escaped her chains. She then ed to Cuba for political asylum in 1984, where she now lives in exile. Guillermo Morales, born in 1950, also attended CCNY, and was one of the stu-dents who, along with organizations like the Black Panther Party, organized the historic strike by Black and Puerto Rican students at CCNY in 1969 that forced CUNY to implement Open Admissions and establish Ethnic Studies depart-ments and programs in all CUNY colleges. Morales eventually became a Puerto Rican nationalist and member of the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN). On July 12, 1978, he was incarcerated for accidently detonating a bomb that blew away one eye and all ten ngers. Like Assata, Morales later escaped prison in 1979, and went to Cuba in 1988 where he now lives in exile.Guillermo Morales and Assata Shakur grew up during a time when the U.S. government killed everyone from Black and Latino people, such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Pedro Albizu Campos, to Asian people in Vietnam, to even the country’s own president, John F. Kennedy. Morales and Shakur expe-rienced an era of terror and violence that inuenced them to ght in self-defense for their communities. ey are living testaments of revolutionary struggle.
Assata Shakur and Guillermo Morales posing for a picture (both have political asylum in Cuba)