On Aug. 13 the city of Newark, N.J., woke up to the shocking news of the death of Shani Baraka, 31. Shani is the daughter of Amiri Baraka, award-winning playwright, civil rights and political activist, and his wife, Amina Baraka, poet, political activist and writer for the People’s Weekly World. Shani’s brother, Ras Baraka, is presently the deputy mayor of Newark.

Shani Baraka was killed with her friend, Rayshon Holmes, 30, in a double murder on Aug. 12 at her sister’s house in Piscataway, N.J. Both women died of gunshot wounds. Police are investigating.

Shani was a schoolteacher and a basketball coach who was dearly loved by her students, colleagues, friends, and many more people throughout the city of Newark.

On Aug. 16 more than a thousand people attended Shani’s funeral at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark, which testifies to the love and respect the Baraka family enjoys among the people of the city for their dedicated commitment and struggle in defense of people’s civil and political rights.

The Communist Party of New Jersey has released a statement that said, “We are deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy, and express our deepest sympathy and condolences to Amina, Amiri, Ras and the entire Baraka family.”

– Bahman Azad