Formerly Incarcerated Speaker Series: Watani Stiner


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Sat, Aug 3, 2024 1:00pm-2:00pm
A formerly incarcerated speaker lectures in the Alcatraz Dining Hall

Watani Stiner went to prison in 1969 after a shootout in which two Black Panthers were shot and killed at UCLA by a member of another revolutionary Black Power group called Us, of which Watani was a part. He was wounded in the shoulder from a Panther’s Bullet. Watani and his brother were sentenced to life in prison although neither of them had taken part in the killings.

Five years later, he escaped from San Quentin and fled to South America, where he lived in exile for twenty years. In 1994, concerned for the safety and welfare of his children, Watani voluntarily walked into the U.S. Embassy in the country of Suriname and negotiated his surrender in exchange for his children’s passage to safety.

Watani was finally released from San Quentin in 2015, over 45 years since he was originally sent to prison. He has been called a “revolutionary elder, a storyteller, a Cointelpro survivor, and a social justice advocate passing the historical baton on to the next generation.


The Formerly Incarcerated Speaker Series is a biweekly program on Alcatraz Island that lifts up and highlights the voices of people who have spent time inside of jails and prisons. The National Park Service believes in parks as platforms for dialogue, and Alcatraz Island, being one of the only NPS sites that interprets mass incarceration, works directly with people who have been affected in order to give them a platform to showcase their stories.

Speaking event starts at 1 PM in the Cellhouse Dining Hall.

For more information on the Formerly Incarcerated Speaker Series,or other community outreach initiatives (including ranger-led programs), please contact park ranger Oliver Goodman ( If you are a community leader working with the formerly incarcerated community and you would like to bring a group to an upcoming program in the series, please email Oliver. If you have any accessibility needs such as ASL translation, please contact at least 5 days in advance.

Seating is first come first serve. Your island ticket is sufficient for admission, reservations are not required. Seating may be limited.

Pier 39
San Francisco, CA 94133 ,

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Audience Type

Free. Ferry tickets are required to visit Alcatraz Island. Your island ticket is sufficient for admission.

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Upcoming Event Dates

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Sat, 08/03/2024 1:00PM-2:00PM

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