To people in California’s north, the name Kiilu Nyasha is familiar, like an aunt or another relative. To them, she was a voice of resistance, heard on public radio, mostly heard on her show called “Freedom is a Constant Struggle.” To former members of the Black Panther party, she was Sister Kiilu, a former member of the New Haven chapter.
During the murder trial of Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins in 1970, Sister Kiilu served as a legal assistant to attorney Charles Garry, who defended many top panthers. During the trial, Kiilu was known as Pat Gallyot.
After the party, she suffered from MS, Multiple Sclerosis, which left her paraplegic and in a wheelchair. Yet MS never stopped her or defined her. She became an immensely talented artist. She worked as a journalist, commentator and a host of radio shows. She worked for years as a supporter of Hugo “Yogi” Pinell, the late political prisoner. She was an endless and brilliant source of resistance to the system. She became a beloved and respected elder for young people in the Bay Area.
We remember Kiilu Nyasha: mother, artists, commentator, revolutionary inspiration.
— From a prison nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Mumia’s commentaries appear in collaboration with Prison Radio.
Photo: Kiilu Nyasha speaking at an Occupy rally in Oakland in 2012. Credit: Daniel Arauz.