As Oakland prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party this weekend with lectures, music, and a gala, activists hail the party's dozens of social programs, rank-and-file members, and lessons for today's social movements.
At a gallery exhibit at Impact Hub Oakland, a co-working space in Uptown, five former party members discussed their experiences in the party.
Amid contemporary work inspired by the Black Panthers and archival pieces, Ericka Huggins reflected on her 14 years with the party.
"As I look back, I see that the Ten-Point Platform that we created is too similar to the Black Lives Matter platform," she said. "We are still struggling in poor communities, especially communities of color, to end over-incarceration, to stop police violence."
Huggins said she feels a mix of emotions and a flood of memories when she looks back on those formative years.
Her husband, party leader John Huggins, was shot and killed on the UCLA campus in 1969. Shortly after, she and party co-founder Bobby Seale were arrested and charged with conspiracy. The jury deadlocked and a judge threw out the charges.
The school was an oasis for her and for young people and families, she said.
While she was jailed for two years and separated from her infant daughter, Huggins taught herself to meditate, a practice that has sustained her ever since.