Malik Zulu Shabazz’s recent activity has increasingly come under the auspices of Black Lawyers for Justice (BLJ), the legal advocacy group he founded after graduating from Howard University School of Law. While BLJ claims to be an outlet for Black attorneys to “pool their talents and resources” together and counter human and civil rights abuses, Shabazz seems to be the only attorney active with the group.
On November 3, 2007, Shabazz organized a “National March Against Hate Crimes and Racism” under the banner of BLJ for Megan Williams, a 20-year-old African-American woman from Charleston, West Virginia, who says she was raped and tortured by a group of white Logan County residents. Shabazz, who described himself as Williams’ “legal advocate,” began mobilizing support for Williams in October 2007. He coordinated events, raised funds and sought to generate and keep media attention on her case in an effort to pressure prosecutors to charge the defendants with hate crimes (of the seven defendants, one faced hate crime charges).
The rally in front of the federal courthouse in Charleston attracted several hundred people, as well as some criticism within the African-American community. In the weeks leading up to the rally, the NAACP and the Charleston Black Ministerial Alliance denounced the event, citing Shabazz’s involvement and possible interference with the case’s legal proceedings. Charleston mayor Danny Jones also objected to Shabazz’s role in the event on account of Shabazz’s record of bigotry.
Nevertheless, Shabazz’s activism on behalf of Williams has been embraced by some prominent leaders and organizations; the rally was endorsed by Al Sharpton and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Sharpton also spoke at a second, smaller rally organized by Shabazz the following month.
Shabazz also arranged a meeting in Washington, DC, between the Williams family and members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, who applauded Shabazz’s involvement in the case.
While Shabazz responded to the media attention he received for his efforts in the Williams case by expressing a desire to focus on his career as a “serious litigator” with BLJ, he remains committed to the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), the anti-Semitic and racist Black militant group he has led since 2001. “I will always be a part of the New Black Panther Party. I am not going to deny my family for anybody,” Shabazz said.