The Lansing resident is working to start the chapter of the Young Black Panther Party

When James Henson was younger, he idolized the famous civil rights group known as the Black Panther Party. Now he is working on founding his own chapter of the Young Black Panther Party from Lansing.

Henson, a 22-year-old former student at Lansing Community College, was inspired to act on the protests that followed the murder of George Floyd in police custody. Henson founded the party he describes as a team in early June 2020. In addition to himself, the party consists of four other leaders who Henson said are in different parts of the United States.

“The original Panthers were a team before they even became an organization,” Henson said.

Henson said he wanted the party to be a team that shows others that people can make progress without creating an official organization.

In 1966, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party, which was first referred to as the Black Panther Self-Defense Party. The party was original created to oversee police activities in the Black Community, but later switched to social projects such as distributing food and opening free health clinics.

Henson plans to repeat this idea of ​​giving through his Young Black Panther Party. He is currently teaching self-defense to those who wish to learn, including Filipino Martial Arts and Muay Thai, and planning ways to help hungry families in black communities.

“Right now I’m donating some seeds to black families who know how to plant,” Henson said.

The seeds that produce food for these families are the start of a larger project for Henson and his party. He wants to plant gardens in black communities to feed families and teach them how to grow their own food.

“I pretty much want to tell people that we must do everything we can to help our community without relying on the government,” he said.

He also plans to use Herbert Covey’s 2007 book, African-American Slave Medicine, to replicate herbal remedies originally used by slaves in the United States and to investigate the practicality of these drugs, which Henson said was used to treat Things like scars and muscle aches were used. If they are safe and useful, Henson would like to give some of these funds to black families for free.

Henson said the Young Black Panther Party is looking for new members who are 16 years of age and older. He encourages those interested to contact the team on his website.

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