The Women’s March has unleashed a tweetstorm in defense of fugitive Assata Shakur, describing the convicted cop killer as a “civil rights leader” who deserves credit for her work against sexism and racism.
Faced with a backlash after posting a tweet Sunday celebrating Shakur’s 70th birthday, the left-wing advocacy group posted 20 tweets in succession late Monday blasting the “far right” and explaining why “we consider her [Shakur] a feminist figure.”
Shakur was found guilty in the 1977 murder of Officer Werner Foerester in New Jersey, but the Women’s March described itself as a “nonviolent movement. We have never and will never use violence to achieve our goals.”
“#AssataShakur’s resistance tactics were different than ours. That does not mean that we do not respect her anti-sexism work,” said the Women’s March in a tweet.
The birthday tweet drew a deluge of criticism on Twitter, including a message from Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, who called it “[u]nbelievable that anyone would idolize a cop killer.”
Shakur, formerly Joanne Chesimard, was sentence to life in prison but escaped in 1979 and fled to Cuba. The FBI has placed her on its most-wanted list as a “domestic terrorist” who belonged to an “extremist group,” the Black Revolutionary Army.
That wasn’t how the Women’s March described her.
“#AssataShakur is a civil rights leader who used her leadership position to challenge sexism within the Black Liberation Movement,” tweeted the Women’s March.
She “took a militant approach. We do not. That does not mean we don’t respect and appreciate her anti-racism work,” said another tweet.
Launched after the November election, the Women’s March attracted a crowd of a half-million at a protest in D.C. the day after the Trump inauguration in January.
The event drew a wide spectrum of anti-Trump and Democratic voters, but the group has since aligned itself with the left-wing resistance movement.
Last weekend, the Women’s March led an 18.6-mile trek from the National Rifle Association in Fairfax, Virginia, to the Justice Department in D.C. to protest the gun-rights organization.