Ilyasah Shabazz reflects on the late civil rights leader’s legacy on his 96th birthday, May 19, 2021.
Shabazz explains her father’s famous words: “A quote that’s really great that I use often that he said is: “If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull out six inches, the knife is still in my back.” We have to pull the knife all the way out and address the wound that the blow made. And so that means coming to the table, dismantling, critiquing and reforming unjust, separate sets of rules under which America operates to bring about a more egalitarian policy and be equally accountable to truly educating all Americans as a start.”
When asked what Malcolm X would have thought about the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests after George Floyd’s death, Shabazz said:
“I think that he would be proud of our young people. These are issues, vision and concerns that he raised 50-plus years ago. And so I think it’s important for us to come together and keep fighting for justice in Malcolm’s name. He said it would be this generation of young leaders that would recognize that those in power have misused it and will demand change and have the capacity to recognize one’s humanity, not from a Black and White perspective, but from a right and wrong perspective. And that they would be willing to roll up their sleeves and doing the necessary work to bring about change. And I think this is what we saw this past summer, while we were all at home quarantining, not knowing what covid-19 even was, questioning our own mortality and being forced to witness this horrific killing of George Floyd. It was our young people who organized through social media and had people of every ethnic, every nationality, everything that you can possibly imagine, the human family, coming together in 50 states in this country and 18 countries abroad proclaiming “Black Lives Matter.”