By Carolina Saldaña
On April 24, Mumia Abu-Jamal will be 67 years old and will have spent 39 years, 4 months, and 15 days in prison for a crime he did not commit. On his birthday, there will be actions to demand his freedom in Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, Newark, and cities in Mexico, France and Germany, among others.
For the last two months, supporters have taken to the streets time and time again in response to a two-pronged crisis: a shameful legal opinion released on February 3rd by Philadelphia’s supposedly progressive District Attorney, Larry Krasner, followed by the shocking news on February 27, that Mumia has COVID- 19, congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, and a debilitating skin condition that causes constant itching all over his body.
This article reviews a few of the actions and events that have taken place.
Mumia has also received recent support from the MOVE Organization; former political prisoners including Ramona Africa, Dhoruba Bin Wahad and Angola 3 comrades Albert Woodfox and Robert King; and a number of worker organizations throughout the world.
Why is this outstanding journalist, activist and author of 13 books still behind bars?
He himself answers the question. He tells us that after joining the Black Panther Party at the age of 14, he became Minister of Information of the Philadelphia chapter. Fortunately he learned to be a revolutionary reporter working on The Black Panther, and later learned how to polish his work. But there was something he never learned. In his 1999 essay, “Words from an Outcast of the Fourth Estate,” published in the book All Things Censored, he wrote: “I learned the craft quite well. Except for one thing. I never learned how to kowtow to state power. I wrote and reported, not from the perspective of the privileged, not from the position of the established, but from the consciousness of oppression, and from the awareness of resistance.”
When he became a radio journalist in the 1970s, Mumia was recognized for reporting the struggles of the black community and for his coverage of the conflicts between the MOVE Organization and the repressive Chief of Police turned Mayor, Frank Rizzo.
Arrested on December 9, 1981, for the murder of the white policeman Daniel Faulkner, shot, kicked and beaten almost to death, Mumia was jailed, framed by Police Inspector Al Giordano, tried, and condemned to death on July 3, 1982. On the first day of the trial, the stenographer Terri Maurer Carter overheard Judge Albert Sabo tell an associate, “I’m going to help them fry the nigger.” Mumia’s main enemies in the Fraternal Order of Police worked with the judge and the District Attorney’s Office to achieve the death of an innocent man.
When Mumia was arrested, MOVE Coordinator, John Africa, said that from that time on, MOVE would be supporting him, and mutual support has existed ever since then.
In the 1990s, when the absence of justice for Mumia became more widely known in the United States and other parts of the world, huge mobilizations in his support stopped his programmed execution twice. In 2001, when his death sentence was declared unconstitutional by a higher court, Mumia should have gotten out of prison, but instead, lived for 28 years on death row while appeals went on. In 2011, his death sentence was finally changed to one of life without the possibility of parole, a form of slow death.
Today Mumia Abu-Jamal is one of the two most widely recognized political prisoners in the world, the other one being the indigenous comrade, Leonard Peltier. He has never stopped telling the truth about the torture that goes on in the nation’s prisons. He has never caved in to police terror. He has never softened his charges against the crimes of the United States Empire in the world. And he has never stopped giving us hope by insisting that no empire lasts forever.
Rally in Philadelphia. Does Fiscal Larry Krasner oppose lynchings?
In freezing cold weather, Pam Africa takes the microphone and reads:
“On Feb. 3, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner filed a new brief in Mumia’s case, where he continued to defend the legitimacy of Mumia’s 1982 conviction. DA Krasner’s several years of opposing Mumia’s appeals has already been vile and disgusting. However, with this new brief, he somehow manages to stoop to a new low…
“What actually happened that morning when police arrived on the scene was an attempted lynching of Mumia, with the police acting as the white supremacist lynch mob.
“Before even speaking with a single eyewitness, the mob of cops brutalized Mumia so viciously that when his sister Lydia arrived at the hospital she could not even recognize him. Make no mistake, the cops wanted him to die from the gunshot wound before receiving medical treatment, taking over 30 minutes to begin treatment at the hospital. This was an obvious attempt to execute him before even conducting an investigation, let alone a fair trial”.
“Krasner has made a devil’s bargain,” says Suzanne Ross. “He lets some people out, but never Mumia.”
“There can be no justice on stolen land,” affirms Reverend Keith Collins. With reference to the fact that some people prefer Krasner to his right-wing opponent in the upcoming elections, he says: “To hell with the lesser of two evils.”
Ikemba, de Uhuru stresses that “the imprisonment of our freedom fighters is a scare tactic, and Mumia exposes these contradictions.
“We are at war,” says the representative of the Black Radical Philly Coalition. “Mumia is in prison because he speaks the truth. Let them all go free!”
“Krasner told Maureen that Mumia is guilty,” says Pam. She tells how Daniel Faulkner’s widow tried to provoke her, calling her a “bitch,” but Pam avoided the trap.
“There’s black ice on the streets, but I’m fired up!” shouts Gabe Byant. “We´re tired of DA’s who continue the tradition of trying to murder our brother… We won’t let them do it! What did Mumia teach us? That even in the belly of the beast we gotta keep mobilizing. He’s gonna keep speaking the truth. He’s gonna keep trying to teach us. He’s gonna keep trying to educate us and be the strong, black, radical journalist he’s always been. Whether he’s behind bars or not, he’s talking about the liberation of oppressed folks all around the world. This office ain’t dumb. They know what they doin’. Ain’t no mistake, no misunderstanding. We wanna abolish the FOP. We wanna abolish the police. We wanna abolish Krasner. This whole thing has to be upended. I believe we’re gonna bring this man home sooner rather than later y’all.”
¡ Jamal Journal publishes issue #1 of this highly informative newspaper!
The paper was last published in the mid-1990s by the uncompromising International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, ICFFMAJ, and is initiated anew under the leadership of Pam Africa. The Editor is Mumia Abu-Jamal himself.
The lead story is a petition (now updated) demanding that Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner stop defending Mumia Abu-Jamal’s conviction. The petition summarizes the overwhelming evidence of police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct, much of which has been illegally withheld from Mumia’s defense lawyers.
Original artwork donated by Seth Tobocman is found at the center of the newspaper to support the petition campaign.
This excellent newspaper features a range of articles that focus on recent events in Mumia’s case, as well as articles from “The Archives”, which give a historical context to what is happening now. Two important issues in Mumia’s current court proceedings are (1) alleged eyewitness Robert Chobert’s credibility and (2) the Batson issue, about racism in the selection of jurors.
Also presented are stories urging the release of political prisoners Sundiata Acoli, Ed Poindexter, and Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz.
This initial version is published online and donations are needed to produce copies in print.
Read the first issue here: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2021/02/20/18840182.php
Mumia called Pam Africa on February 26 to say that he felt like he had COVID
This was not a rumor started by a prison guard, as was the case in April of 2020. This was Mumia himself reporting labored breathing and heavy chest pressure, as if a baby elephant were seated on his chest and lungs. He soon told Johanna Fernández the same thing by telephone. Immediately movement people reacted, with phone calls and e-mails to D.A. Larry Krasner, Governor Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, seeking Mumia’s immediate release, and in the meantime, hospitalization.
Due to all the public pressure, Mumia was tested in Mahanoy prison and the reports supposedly came back negative.
He was sent to the hospital where fluid was removed from his lungs. No one would know until later on that being in the hospital, where his arms and legs were shackled to the four corners of his bed for four days, was an excruciating experience for Mumia, one that he does not want to repeat.
As the Press Conference was ending, Attorney Bob Boyle called to say that hospital tests confirmed COVID for Mumia, as well as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, and a debilitating skin problem that caused constant itching.
In a Jamal Journal interview with Mumia’s medical consultant, Dr. Ricardo Alvarez, the doctor was asked to comment on each of the four main heath conditions and to give his opinion on the necessary treatment. In each of the four cases, the doctor said that it would be impossible for Mumia to get the kind of treatment that he needs in prison. ¿His diagnosis? The only treatment is freedom.
Global Virtual Street Meeting
Sophia Williams welcomes us to the Meeting:
“Hi, everyone. Mumia Abu-Jamal has been a target of the police and the state since the age of 14… The Fraternal Order of Police, the FOP organization, has been determined and relentless to keep Mumia locked up in silence. They maintain the goal of killing him with the help of Maureen Faulkner Popovich, the widow of Officer Faulkner…
“Mumia is currently ill again with recent positive test of COVID-19 and a diagnosis of congestive heart failure.
“We demand — And this is coming from a global standpoint — we demand that Governor Tom Ridge, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, and Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner, do the right thing and release an innocent Mumia to his family and loving community. Thank you.”
YahNé Ndgo, a founding member of the Black Philly Radio Collective, underscores the fact that Mumia not only challenges the status quo, but is so well informed about the nature of the system that he articulates it in a way people can understand. “Our brother must be fought for. He must be released, and he must be returned to the people,” she says.
Betsey Piette introduces Linn Washington, Noelle Hanrahan and Johanna Fernandez to speak about basic aspects of Mumia’s case.
She asks Noelle to comment on Krasner’s brief that came out on February 3rd.
Noelle Hanrahan says that many people in Krasner’s office are doing the same kind of work that’s been done for the past 30 years. They look mainly at procedural issues and state that the only merits of the case are the rulings of Judge Albert Sabo. But evidence that has come out over the last 38 years, such as the Polakoff photos and the Robert Chobert letter, must come before the court in a new evidentiary hearing. She speaks of the black and brown people sent through the prison system for the benefit of the police –the majority white police force of 6,500 persons, who get overtime for arresting them.
“What game is Larry playing?” she asks. He did present evidence found in the prosecutor’s office after he took office, saying he didn’t want to violate the Constitution.
“But Mumia Abu-Jamal needs relief now. He’s ill, dangerously ill,” she says. “He, and we know that this system can turn the key any moment they feel that the people have put on enough pressure to let our people go. They can go in there and make up another excuse to let him out. They can, and we will demand that they will. And it’s going to take the people, more than the legal community, but we do need both to free Mumia Abu-Jamal”.
Betsey: Does Larry Krasner have the legal authority to release Mumia?
Linn Washington: He has the authority to withdraw the prosecution, which would start the process for letting him out on the basis of justice and facts. Actually, the governor of Pennsylvania is the one who has the authority to release Mumia immediately based on compassionate release.
Johanna Fernández: “The prosecutors across the country have had an enormous amount of power to actually release people. Larry Krasner was foundational in the release of the Move 9 that also involved the supposed killing of a police officer.
“He can do the same thing today as part of his wrongful convictions unit. This is one of the most important cases in the history of Philadelphia. And now we have new evidence that suggests that the prosecution was so corrupt, was so hostile, was so lying, and was so embedded with cops who were corrupt, who tampered with evidence, that their case against Mumia is not defensible.
“In July of this year Larry Krasner told Amy Goodman that Mumia’s case is a microcosm of everything that is wrong with the criminal justice system and with the role of the police in railroading defendants. “But now he’s playing politics with the life of Mumia and the lives of others because if there is a turning point in Mumia’s case, as Noelle suggested and as Linn has said, heads are going to roll. The whole apparatus of imprisonment will come tumbling down because Mumia’s case is known domestically, nationally, internationally and it will be a scandal of epic proportions. So we are asking the DA, not to hold on to the corruption, the nastiness, and the hostility to defendants, and not to hold onto the white supremacy of his predecessors. He was hired by the working-class black people of Philadelphia to do the right thing.”
Terri Mauer-Carter says thanks to everyone and remembers something she heard long ago: They’d rather give Mumia an Uzi than a microphone. “What I need you all to know mostly is and yes, I think by now, we know what I heard and, yes, Judge Sabo said at the beginning of this trial, behind the scenes, ‘I am going to help them fry the N-word’. And we all know what he said. What I want you all to understand is that I did not wait 20 years to speak about this…I told everybody in the judicial system. I’ve talked to judges for years… It’s not that they didn’t listen or hear, the bottom line was, ‘Don’t worry, Mumia is crazy.’ Well, I do have to say he’s the sanest voice I’ve ever heard in my life…Out of everybody I spoke to, not one person in those 20 years said, ‘Oh, that doesn’t sound like Judge Sabo.’ In fact, they said, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s him.’ The only thing I heard from some people was. ‘Oh, don’t say too much or you’ll be in trouble.’
Suzanne Ross talks about Judge Sabo: “Sabo had a long history of involvement with police and law enforcement before he became a judge. Once he became a judge, he quickly became notorious for his death penalty sentences. Over a period of 14 years he presided in trials in which 31 defendants were sentenced to death, more than under any other US judge. And of those 31 deaths, 29 were people of color.
“Sabo also withheld evidence favorable to Mumia from the defense. Most importantly, that another individual, not Mumia, was the shooter. And that the actual shooter fled the crime scene after the shooting of Officer Faulkner.
“When someone like DA Larry Krasner says he supports the guilty verdict imposed on Mumia, we must make it clear that he’s essentially supporting Sabo’s outrageous court behavior and rulings and ultimately, the conviction and death sentence that he won. That’s what Krasner is saying, and let’s not fall for any of the BS around sweet talk.
“He knows the case and he knows what Sabo did, and that is the case that has been defined historically and Larry Krasner is siding with that history. He is on the wrong side of history and we must hold him accountable for it, and insist that he needs to make a major change, even though he may be scared”.
Pam Africa insists: This is a conspiracy to commit murder and it’s playing out in front of everybody’s eyes.
“We asked Krasner to go see Mumia, he said he couldn’t do that. But he went to see Meek Mills in prison. And by no means am I putting Meek Mill down and all, because he was supposed to do that for him and for everybody else.
“We went to the Rebel Lawyering Conference that was up at Yale University…When they heard what Krasner did, they immediately stopped him from being the keynote speaker and they brought Mumia on as the keynote speaker. Krasner then backed up off his position of appealing…After that, when Krasner did come out on February 3rd, he said that Mumia was guilty and that there was no evidence to point to judicial and prosecutorial misconduct.
“I heard of two different ways that procedures could be started. One by wrongful conviction and another, by going to the governor.”
John Thompson: Yes. Well, let me introduce myself first. I’m John Thompson. I’m an organizer for ALC, the Abolitionist Law Center in Philadelphia. I met Mumia back in 1999 while I was incarcerated for 37 years.
I just got out, maybe about three years ago. I met Mumia in the yard at the supermax in Greene County, and we shared a few words, and it was a pleasure for me to get to meet Mumia. I’d heard so much about him, and we talked. We spent most of our two hours out there just talking. Talking about political matters, talking about the political climate, and, you know, some of the things like that.
But today I want to talk about long-term political prisoners. They’re suffering the most out of everybody. You have prisoners who have been there for 20, 30, 40 years.
Mumia’s been there over 30-something years. And they’re sitting there in those cages, just sitting there, sitting there, when society knows that Mumia should be free. Those political prisoners like Mumia, they should be free. They should be free now, not tomorrow, not next week, not next month. They should be released now.
Gabe Bryant: …Chicago Hip Hop artist Vic Mensa has done work with the likes of Chance the Rapper and others. And we want to be able to show Vic Mensa’s support of Mumia Abu-Jamal, as we’ve seen with his new single called “Shelter,” and his work to support Mumia Abu-Jamal on his social media platform.
Our younger people, our youth and those who are part of The Hip Hop Generation are a part of this ongoing work to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners. Thank you, Vic Mensa.
Vic Mensa to Mumia: “Yeah. Peace. My name is Vic Mensa. I’m an artist from the South side of Chicago. I first learned that you threw the pens of some of my favorite writers. I believe it may have been when Talib Kweli came out with ‘Free Mumia.’
“Although I was aware of your incarceration since perhaps my pre-teen days, it wasn’t until the firestorm of last year that I finally read your seminal masterpiece Live from Death Row. Your words leapt from the paper, short automatic bursts like a war correspondent on the front lines, which of course you are.
“In truth, it felt much like hip hop. What has been the role of writing in your survival, your fight to live in the heart of America’s death machine? We must have the courage to believe in what we can’t see if we are to create a future in which we can live.”
Dr. Krystal Strong of the Black Philly Radical Collective sees political prisoners as central to abolition. She says: “We have a five-year vision for abolition that includes defunding police until they’re abolished, freeing our political prisoners, and all that are medically vulnerable behind the walls, abolishing the FOP and the Police Advisory Commission, and ultimately redirecting those resources to our communities as one aspect of the reparations that we deserve and that we demand. The first is that we call for the immediate and permanent release of Mumia Abu-Jamal. But also other black political prisoners, such as Major Tillery, Russell Maroon Shoatz, Omar Askia, Joe-Joe Bowen, and many others…”
From San Francisco, Santiago Alvarez sends this message: “We’re here in San Francisco, California, West Coast, and we’re here with Chesa Boudin, and he’s sending a text right now to Larry Krasner to have a conversation with Larry Krasner, and we’re gonna get Chesa to read out loud what he’s sending to Larry Krasner.
“So, we’re here to demand the immediate release of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who’s an incarcerated elder. He’s 66 years old and he just tested positive for COVID-19 this morning, and we’re very concerned…”
NPR commissions WHYY to write obituary for Mumia
In an emergency rally outside the District Attorney’s Office, Pam Africa announces that National Public Radio (NPR) has contracted WHYY reporter Annette John-Hall to write an obituary for Mumia.
Pam further reports that she, Noelle Hanrahan, and Johanna Fernández had received calls from the reporter asking details about Mumia’s life. She asked Pam about Mumia’s journalistic work. At first, they didn’t think too much about it, but Noelle discovered the reason for the calls and reported it to Pam, saying that she would no longer be talking to John-Hall.
What is particularly outrageous is that this comes at a time when Mumia is alive with a grave health crisis, with COVID’ 19, contagious heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver and a debilitating skin condition. Our focus is to see that he gets well, not to assume that he’s going to die.
As Mumia said several years ago, “I’m preparing for life, not death.”
Make no mistake about it. MUMIA IS ALIVE.
At the rally Janine Africa shouted: “We’re not exaggerating! They killed my family through medical neglect in prison. This is the perfect opportunity for them to kill Mumia and we can´t let them do it!”
And Janet Africa asked: “How do you write an obituary for someone who’s alive? This is an outrage! We have to stop this. Just remember: If they stop Mumía, they stop you!”
“And Pam Africa has a message for Larry Krasner: One thing for sure, Krasner. NPR has commissioned WHYY to do an obituary for Mumia. You better pray to God, motherfucker, you better pray to God that nothing happens to Mumia. You´re a motherfuckin Judas to humanity. You’re a motherfuckin Judas to justice. ‘Krasner and the Black Messiah’. When you look at the pictures of Mumia, think about what you have done. Mumia could have been out here if you’d done the right thing. And we’re organizing throughout the world to bring attention down here. On April 24, we gonna shut this motherfucker down!
Video gracias a Sunny Singh
The Only Treatment Is his Freedom.
Forum with Prisoners Solidarity Committee, Workers World
Moderator Ted Kelly welcomes viewers to this program and presents a panel that will tell why the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal from prison is so critical.
The first speaker is long-time activist Larry Holmes:
“A quarter a century ago, in the summer of 1995, Mumia was facing an execution date. The date was scheduled. We had one mission: stop the execution. And somehow, through mass mobilization, through a lot of unity, a lot of coordination, we helped stop that execution. We did it. Since then, as many of you know, it’s been a long, quarter of a century, 26 years. We have waged a bold, never ending, sometimes frustrating and disheartening struggle to free comrade Mumia, our political prisoner in jail, fighting for the freedom of the Black nation. Now, we face a similar situation in my view, as one we faced in 1995, when there was an execution date for Mumia on the calendar. We have to get him out of prison comrades, and it must be now!… Mumia must not be left to die in a dungeon. It’s what the police want. It’s what the Fraternal Order of Police wants. It’s what the oppressor wants: They wanted to execute him, they didn’t get that. So they stole his life, 40 years. Now, we must deny them the final victory of watching Mumia die in the dungeon.”
Dra. Johanna Fernández comments that he “is imprisoned in part because his analysis represents a continuity in the Black radical tradition, a continuity of Black radical dissent from the 1960s to the present. And that’s why the state reserves a special vitriol for Mumia.”
Ted Kelly underscores Mumia’s lucidity and incisive political analysis and passes the mike to Betsey Piette, who was outside the walls of Attica prison in solidarity with the rebels nearly 50 years ago.
“Yes,” says Betsey, “and I see the struggle for Mumia and Black Lives Matter as a continuation of that struggle…In the Pennsylvania prisons we are now seeing death from medical neglect… Since last March, prisoners are forced to be subject to access to the virus brought in by the guards and other prison staff who come freely from outside to inside the prison. They’re not tested, there’s no mandatory testing for guards. Prisoners are tested. They have treated the prisoners to a form of torture, by putting them into a 23 hour a day lock down. They’re in their cells 23 hours and outside one. But because they’re not the ones transmitting the disease, that practice does nothing to stop the transfer of the disease. Part of this has also been to end in-person visits. And this is something that we’re seeing becoming more and more of a concern.
“We’re also concerned about congestive heart disease. It’s a treatable condition. There’s a survival rate of 50%. But that’s contingent on the person having access to adequate health care, to adequate diet to exercise, to fresh air, to all of those things that make a difference in whether one survives the disease or not. Conditions within the prison make it impossible for Mumia to survive the disease.
“And we’re appalled about the obituary being written for Mumia. Think about that comrades, you know, that the State is already looking at writing the obituary for our comrade, and we cannot let that ever happen.”
Ted Kelly agrees that “it’s incredibly infuriating, even knowing that it’s common practice for news outlets to prepare obituaries, to be doing this when Mumia is experiencing this health crisis, and particularly, given that Mumia himself was once a correspondent for WHYY and worked for NPR.”
Johanna Fernandez returns to the question of why the vitriol against Mumia with a historical analysis. “It’s because of everything Mumia represents: his political analysis, his attention to root causes of social problems, his commitment to solidarity, Mumia writes about domestic problems as much as he writes about international problems, and he has a critique of the state and of capitalism.
“His voice is essentially dangerous. And historically, the state has sought to make an example of people who dare challenge Empire. So in the late 19th century, labor activists who were identified as part of the Haymarket Affair were rounded up by the police, accused of crimes they did not commit, and sentenced to death. In the early 20th century, Sacco and Vanzetti, two anarchists were executed by the state. In the 1950s, the Rosenbergs, who were communists, were executed by the state. And in the post-Civil Rights movement era, Mumia became the figure that the state wanted to make an example of to send a message to those who dare resist authority, resist the state, resist capitalism, resist Empire, that this is what will happen to you.
“In the 1960s, the Black Panthers popularized the term ‘pig,’ to demolish the notion that the police are our friends, and they succeeded. And by the end of the 60s, everyone knew what the term ‘pig’ represented, and it was used often in the United States. In response, the police launched a counter propaganda campaign against the Black Panthers. They emblazoned the words ‘serve and protect’ on their cars, you might remember this. And essentially, this was the co-optation of the Black Panther slogan to ‘serve the people’. That was their more benign maneuver of co-opting what the Black Panther Party represented. The most detrimental of the maneuvers of the police ideologically was the popularization of the term cop killer. Cop killer became this ideological weapon that in the post 60s period replaced the mythological rape of a white woman as the basis for the legal lynching of Black men in particular. And when you think about cop killers, you think of Black men, but the majority of people who kill cops in the United States, the vast majority are white men.
“So why do we need to free Mumia? to support him? stand with him? Because he represents all of us, and he has been identified by the cops, by the Fraternal Order of Police by the State as one of the most dangerous figures in this country because of what he stands for, which is resistance, but also an unrelenting determination to expose inequality, to expose the police and its character, and to fight for a completely different world organized around human needs. A fight for Mumia is a fight for ourselves and our highest aspirations.”
The next panelist is Santiago Alvarez, a student at UC Santa Cruz, where Mumia also studies. He grew up in a family of activists and Mumia supporters. Ted Kelly remembers that for many people growing up, it was common to hear the term “cop killer” used as if it were part of Mumia’s name, and asks him how he overcame that propaganda to become an activist himself. Santiago replies:
“Yeah! Well, first of all, I just want to say, thank you, for having me on. With so many amazing panelists, and I’m always learning more from you all, and from everybody in this movement. And I recognize that I’m just an individual, a part of this much, much larger collective, and I’m joining in this struggle, but the struggle has been continuing for so so long. And yeah, pretty much my parents were Mumia supporters. I’m from San Francisco, born and raised. And I was pretty much raised in a community that has always seen Mumia as our hero, like our revolutionary comrade. I’ve always associated Mumia with love, you know? So as much as he’s demonized, none of that really got to me. Like it literally didn’t get to me because my community, everything that I was soaking up was just that Mumia stands for life. Mumia stands for doing the right thing. I think it was a very natural and humanizing way of seeing Mumia growing up. And it wasn’t until later, actually, that I learned about the intensity of the hatred for Mumia from the Fraternal Order of Police. And yeah, it wasn’t until I became more politically conscious, where I kind of got the lay of the land and where Mumia is situated in these things, and that’s something that I’m still learning and feeling more as I’m getting more involved in the work.”
And to close the panel, Ted presents a message from Pam Africa taped before it was confirmed that Mumia has COVID 19.
Pam Africa speaks:
“All I want to say is Long Live Tevolution, and when you least expect it, you’re selected. I just got off the phone with Mumia about an hour ago. And he told me he believes that he has COVID. Mumia is very ill right now… He said his breathing is bad. He said it feels as if some heavy weight is on his chest. And he said he’s worried about his lungs.
“Mumia is a revolutionary… Years ago students and other people found out about his case and rose up, heard what the problem was and immediately start acting on that situation. It was youth power, it was the college students, and you know, the youth in the street that put information out about Mumia…
“Not long ago we were at the point where we were just about ready to bring Mumia home based on judicial and prosecutorial misconduct. We had a judge for the first time, a fair judge because in all these 39 years in prison and dealing with Mumia’s legal case, the judges were not fair. They wouldn’t allow evidence, or let people testify on Mumia’s behalf. But Mumia right now could come out of there, based on the evidence that has been brought forth.
“When the young people at the RebLaw Congress at Yale University invited Mumia to replace Krasner as keynote speaker, that was a heck of a blow to him, and for a while he attempted to do the right thing. Then they came up with this King’s Bench thing that stopped Mumia’s case for six months. During that time, I don’t know what happened to Krasner, but now he says Mumia is guilty.
“One of the biggest lies that he told, one that really bugs me because they were all horrible, was that when the police brought Mumia into the emergency room after he got shot, that they brought him in and laid him down on the floor. And that Mumia was just twisting and turning, you know, he was refusing to walk. And the thing was, Mumia couldn’t walk, because when they came on the scene, they immediately went to Mumia, started beating him, blackjacking him, kicking him with those steel-toed boots, and rammed his head into a pole. His head was split wide open, the forehead was split wide open, blood gushing from where he was shot. That’s how come he couldn’t walk into the hospital. But the DA did not say that. This is something that I didn’t see. But witnesses saw that.
“I want to thank you all for, you know, tuning in at this particular time. Thank you. On a Move. Long live revolution.”
A long discussion followed the panelists’ presentations about how best to support Mumia, and there was general agreement about the need to take to the streets with creative actions.
PHOTOS: Joe Piette
This post is also available in: Spanish