Check website for more infomation on the events that It's About Time are sponsoring www.itsaboutimebpp.com
Comrades and Friends:
I'm in Lisbon Portugal chillin for a moment, dealing with 12hr
flight(Jet Lag). I took a jet from Sacramento to Seattle and took a non stop
Air France (Airbus) to Paris - a 9 hour flight.. From Paris to Lisbon is a 2
hour flight. Brother Natxo was there to greet me at the airport. He
also is in charge of the exhibit and head of the ZDB Center where the
exhibit will be held. Natxo said I brought the sun with me, because
the weather had been rainy and cold and when I landed it was 70 and it's
been warm everyday since (Spring Time).
I checked into the hotel which is right square in the middle of City Center. Everything is right outside the hotel - cafes, shops, stores, malls and the ZDB Culture Center is about a 5minute walk.
After showering and changing clothes, Natxo took me on a short walking tour of the surrounding area. The first thing I noticed about Lisbon is how clean it is. People respect their city and keep it clean. The streets and cars are smaller than most Amercan streets and cars with better gas mileage also. Another observation is that most people are well dressed and slimmer than Americans (less overweight people). There is a mix of people here because Portugal was a former colonizer and they have many Africans here from many countries.
The ZDB Center is a large building with 4 floors and they use it for many things. They produce about 100 concerts a years and have special Cultural events like Emory's Art and the Legacy of the BPP. Emory and Robert King haven't made it over yet, they will be here on Monday. I came early to help put things in order since I know Party history and donated photos for the exhibit. The place is large and we needed some more display material, so I emailed Stephen Shames (My old Buddy) and asked if we could use some of his images. He was happy to hear from me and said "Of Course". We go back to 1969, when he lived a few blocks from National HQ's. I would go over to his house and he would show me how to develop photos in his darkroom. I even helped him with his photo book "Black Panther".
Natxo has been on the European EBay buying material for the exhibit. He had some good stuff. I was glad to see that he found a photo of the London Panthers, never seen before photos of the New York 21 and other material that was produced in Europe about the BPP. Natxo has put together a group of good artists to draw murals of Emory's Artwork, they work hard and are doing a great job.
Yesterday (Saturday) was my full day here. I got up at 6am like I always do and started walking around taking pictures. A few blocks from the ZDB center is a cafe by the river that flows into the ocean. This is a well known location for artists and young people to gather. It's beautiful there. They have a bridge that connects Lisbon with a large island. It looks like the Golden Gate, same type and color. I met Natxo back at the hotel and we went to a large flea market to look for more items. I told Natxo that if I was in California, I would be at the flea market in Sacramento and Roseville. I told him that on Sundays I would get up at 6am and drive to San Francisco (about 80 miles) to their flea market, then drive back across the Bay Bridge to Laney College to catch their flea market and then head to Berkeley's flea market and then drive home. While out we went to an African Exhibit that just opened. Natxo knows art and history of Africa very well.
After resting up, I went back over to ZDB as they were hosting a concert by a Brazilian group. After the concert we met up with some friends of Natxo who were Angolans just in from Brazil. So we all went to dinner together. When Natxo told them who I was and that I was a Panther they went crazy. There were about 6 of them and they all hugged me and showed me much LOVE. We went to dinner and they must have asked me a thousand questions about the Party and our International policies. After dinner we went to a house party until late. I was so tired, I fell into the bed with all my clothes on.It's a fun city, at night thousands of young people flood the City Center and drink and party until 4 or 5 in the morning. Lisbon is the only city I know of other than New Orleans that let you drink in public and carry a glass or cup of liquor around.
Billy X reporting from Lisbon Feb 27, 2011