The Cook County Bar Association, America’s oldest bar association, held a press conference on Monday to support the renaming of a West Side street in honor of Fred Hampton and state Hate Crime Commission member Sister Claudette Muhammad.

Assiciation President Bruce Cook was joined by lawyers, community activist and retired judge R. Eugene Pincham Monday outside the Daley Center downtown.

Regarding the Fred Hampton issue Cook said, “Though there is disagreement outside of the African American community as to the true legacy of Chairman Hampton, the placement of a sign honoring him in the African American community reflects what we claim as our right and authority to determine for ourselves who are our leaders, who are our heroes and ‘sheroes’ are, as well as how they will be honored. This is fully in accord with the black nationalist message of ‘black pride’, ‘self-defense’ and ‘self-determination’ espoused by the Black Panthers and Chairman Hampton.”

In regards to Muhammad, Cook added, “The CCBA, America’s oldest bar Association comprised of African American lawyers stands proudly with its sister and community leader Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad.

“This bar association not only stands proudly with ‘Sister-warrior’ Muhammad with respect to her membership on the Illinois Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes, but we also stand with her in connection with her position as the Chief of Protocol for the Nation of Islam,” he added. “We are saddened and disappointed by the attempt of some in the media and a handful of white and black politicians, who lack the courage to back the righteous actions of this strong black woman and community leader. We are troubled by those who have turned their prejudices against black people in general to a specific and vicious attack on Sister Muhammad.

“We encourage all-right minded black, white and Hispanic leaders to join us in support of those who support this small token of respect that we seek for our late brother, Fred Hampton,” said Cook. “Our bar association, its officers and members stand ready to lend whatever support is requested by Sister Muhammad.”