Washington, DC – A conference featuring multiple Democratic presidential candidates kicked off on Monday with a chant by a convicted cop-killer who also happens to be a terrorist on the FBI’s most wanted list.
Joanne Chesimard, a prison escapee who now goes by the name of Assata Shakur, gained notoriety after the 1973 murder of State Trooper Werner Foerster, who was executed with his own duty weapon along the edge of the New Jersey Turnpike, New Jersey Advance Media reported.
With the help of three gunmen, she escaped from prison in 1979, and has been living under political asylum in Cuba since at least 1984.
Over the years, Chesimard became “an inspiration to the radical, left-wing, anti-government black separatist movement,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Ford said in 2013.
"While living openly and freely in Cuba, she continues to maintain and promote her terrorist ideology. She provides anti-U.S.-government speeches, espousing the Black Liberation Army’s message of revolution and terrorism," Agent Ford said.
The FBI and the New Jersey State Attorney General’s Office currently have a combined reward offer of $2 million for information leading to 71-year-old Chesimard’s capture.
Despite her history of violence, the convicted cop-killer was the opening focus of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Civic Engagement Vice President Jamal Watkins’ speech at the “We the People Summit,” FOX News reported.
“It's gonna be a long and powerful day," Watkins told the crowd. "But I want you to do something with me. I'm gonna actually have you participate with me in repeating some words from a leader by the name of Assata Shakur. So, if you could stand up -- if you can't stand, it's okay -- but I want you to repeat after me."
Watkins then issued Chesimard’s call-and-repeat chant, as the crowd echoed back to him.
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains,” they recited.
Chesimard had appropriated the verbiage from Frederik Engels and Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, which reads, “Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win," according to Mediaite.
Additional speakers included 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro, and Cory Booker.
Members of Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, the Communications Workers of America, and the Service Employees International Union were also in attendance, among others.
Chesimard has long been hailed as a community leader by progressive and Democrats, FOX News reported.