Video: Leimert Park vigil for Geronimo Ji-Jagga Pratt (6/3/2011)

LOS ANGELES – Jenny Pratt, sister of Geronimo Ji-Jagga Pratt confirmed today that her brother was cremated in Tanzania this morning and that his ashes would be scattered later this week in Tanzania at the foot of Mt. Kilamanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and Lake Victoria.

I spoke with Mrs. Pratt who told me that she is still in somewhat of a state of shock.

“I loved him.  He was a very kind and loving person and naturally we miss him.  Geronimo always appreciated what the community had done for him and he did not look back.  He kept moving forward in life and he really enjoyed his life”

A memorial service will be held in the States for Pratt in his hometown of Morgan City, Louisiana on Saturday, June 18 at 10 a.m. at the Morgan City Municipal Auditorium.

Last week, Los Angeles residents gathered in Leimert Park to pay tribute to Pratt including former L.A. Black Panther Wayne Pharr who was in the shoot out with Pratt on 41st and Central with the L.A.P.D. in 1969.

“A great soldier in the struggle for Black liberation has passed but in living he showed us how to fight with dignity and to keep our perspective.  Power to people.”

Other tributes and quotes have been pouring in remembering the late community hero including from Dr. Maulana Karenga Executive Director of The Organization Us.

“We respect and honor Geronimo Ji Jaga as a fellow soldier for his role in the history of Black resistance in this country; for his awesome personal sacrifice for the struggle; and for the principled stand he took condemning and calling for an end to the character assassination and misinformation against our organization Us and me, as well as in the Movement in general, and setting the record straight about the shootout at UCLA. It took a certain strength, courage and commitment to do this and Geronimo Ji Jaga possessed these qualities. May the good he left last forever.”

Brian Dunn of the Cochran Firm said, “We lost a soldier.  Geronimo was a solider like Johnnie was a solider.  But like Johnnie, Geronimo’s life was not in vain and he is going to live forever.  He was an inspiration to others based in the decisions that he made and the struggle that he led.”

“Geronimo Ji-Jagga was the most perfect projection of his people, Africans all over the world and he reflected that because he was a brother who stood up and tried to liberate Black people and put his life on the line to do it,” reflected Ayuko Babu, Dir. Pan African Film and Arts Festival and former Black Panther, Black Student Union and S.N.C.C. member. He set an example and showed us what you could do with your life, even if you come from a small town in Louisiana.  I mean this is a brother who came back from fighting the Vietnamese War and apologized to Vietnamese people for being used as a tool by American aggression.  Geronimo is an example we can all measure our lives by. He now joins a long line of Black people who went back to Africa including Dr. W.E.B. Dubois buried Ghana and Kwame Ture buried in Guinea.”

Gregory Everett, a filmmaker and director of the documentary “41st & Central: The Untold Story of the L.A. Black Panthers,” has what is believed to be Geronimo’s last interview on film.

“I was honored to do one of Geronimo Ji-Jagga’s last interviews on film for my film “41st and Central: The Untold Story of the L.A. Black Panthers.  Geronimo was the kind of brother who when he found out this film, flew in from Tanzania to Morgan City to meet with me and give me an interview.  Those three hours I spent with Geronimo I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Rep. Maxine Waters, one of the few politicians bold enough to keep it real, offered this statement on the passing of Geronimo.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend, Geronimo Pratt, who I loved and respected. Geronimo sacrificed years of his life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Thankfully, he was exonerated and he dedicated his life before, during, and after his long overdue exoneration to the uplifting of people and to justice and freedom.  After his release, he worked on behalf of people in his hometown of Morgan City, Louisiana, donating monies that he received from the settlement stemming from his unlawful imprisonment to many local programs. One of the most wonderful experiences I’ve ever had was visiting his hometown and witnessing first hand his efforts to bring housing and other opportunities to people of color in the city. One of his joys in life was taking his boat down to the bayou. I recall one time when he invited my husband, me, and other friends on his boat and pointed out alligators and other wildlife to us.

There will be a Los Angeles memorial for Geronimo Ji-Jagga in July at Agape.