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When the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) prisoners in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh went on Hunger Strike in 1981, the New Jersey State Assembly followed up by honoring the IRA Hunger Striker Bobby Sands MP, after his death, with a resolution highlighting his courage and commitment.

New Jersey's Irish-American community and supporters stand in solidarity with Assata Shakur and the Black Liberation Army's objectives to achieve civil rights and freedom for African-Americans. Like the Royal Ulster Constabulary, which was found to have targeted Catholics for unfair treatment, the NJ State Police admitted to racial profiling and discrimination during a settlement with the Department of Justice in the late 1990s.

Assata Shakur was granted asylum in Cuba in the 1980s after escaping from a NJ prison where she was held after being convicted of murdering a state trooper, in a racist highly questionable case that lacked evidence such as gunpowder residue, among other inconsistencies with the government's tall tale. Assata had previously framed in numerous other cases she was later acquitted of, as part of FBI's COINTELPRO program.

The New Jersey State Police recently put out Assata's name on another NJ Most Wanted Hitlist.

The Irish community just celebrated the centennial of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland, where James Connolly advocated independence, equality, and social democracy.

But in 2016, we must rise in solidarity with Assata here in New Jersey and force the State of New Jersey to keep their "Hands off Assata".

"Tiocfaidh ár lá" and "All Power to the People" define a common global struggle.

Governor Christie needs to shut his mouth and stop harassing Assata Shakur.

Eric Hafner
Toms River, NJ