Now that the celebrated, radical journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, is off death row, many dare to imagine the next step—his release from prison. On December 9, 2011 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where over 1,100 people gathered to mark the 30th anniversary of Mumia’s incarceration, Archbishop Desmond Tutu asked our nation to “rise to the challenge of reconciliation, human rights, and justice” and called for Mumia’s “immediate release.” And when Frances Goldin–Mumia’s literary agent–called on the audience to OCCUPY the Justice Department, the call was met with a roar of excitement.
On April 24, 2012, Mumia’s 58th birthday, we will gather at the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, DC. A large-scale, vibrant and colorful rally will amplify our formal request that Eric Holder immediately meet with a delegation to discuss police corruption and civil rights violations in Mumia’s case and in the cases of hundreds of other defendants in Philadelphia. Some demonstrators will engage in acts of civil disobedience to draw greater attention to these injustices.
On April 24, consider joining a group of renowned citizens in an act of civil disobedience, among them Danny Glover, Frances Fox Piven, Norman Finkelstein, and M1 of Dead Prez. Your pledge to engage in an act of civil disobedience will be critical to reaching our goals of enlisting the participation of other activists and ensuring news coverage of the case and of our broader demands. If you cannot commit to civil disobedience, you can pledge to be at the demonstration.
Because Mumia’s removal from death row coincides with the dramatic shift in consciousness brought by the Occupy Wall Street movement and the execution of Troy Davis, we now have a unique window of opportunity to fulfill one of the most important moral assignments of our time: to build a movement that will link all of the violations in Mumia’s case and his fraudulent trial to the crisis of mass incarceration, so as to win this innocent man’s freedom. Short term goal: release Mumia. Long term goal: end mass incarceration.
Attorneys will be available to answer questions and to support this important demonstration.
“there is something in the soul… …that cries for freedom!” Twenty-first century social movements around the world are illuminating the root causes of social crises, class inequality, bigotry, human rights violations, and environmental degradation. Here in the U.S. we have seen how, in the face of the growing OCCUPY movements, the state has intensified its campaign to restrain people and silence dissent. From the incarceration of state critics and whistle blowers (Bradley Manning), the pepper spraying of peacefully protesting students in California and the passage of repressive legislation (HR 347 & NDAA) to the warehousing of millions of poor Black and Latino people in American prisons and the increased scapegoating and detention of immigrants — the state is ramping up repressive measures.
On April 24, we will breath life into the old labor slogan: “an injury to one, is an injury to all.” On that day we will say that we are all Mumia, we are all immigrants, we are all Bradley Manning, we are all poor, we are all Palestinian, and we are all Troy Davis.
For 30 years, in a death row cell, Mumia has offered a radical critique of power and injustice through his regular radio commentaries and seven published books. His defiant voice in the face of state repression has taught us all something about courage and the human spirit’s inclination toward freedom. His message articulates our highest aspirations as a society. On April 24, make a placard and write on it all of your grievances. They will be welcomed. Above all, on that day, bring your fighting spirit and your desire to live in and create a decent and different world.
The police who shot, brutalized, and arrested Mumia Abu-Jamal in 1981 — for the shooting death of Officer Daniel Faulkner — were under scrutiny by a Department of Justice investigation of the Philadelphia Police Department. The probe, which began in 1979, marked the first time in United States’ history that the federal government sued a police department for civil rights violations and charged an entire police department, rather than individual officers, with police brutality. The DOJ suit maintained that the Philadelphia police’s practices of “shooting nonviolent suspects, abusing handcuffed prisoners, suppressing dissension within its ranks, and engaging in a pattern of brutal behavior ‘shocks the conscience.’” Only days after the end of Mumia’s fraudulent trial and conviction, 15 of the 35 police officers involved in collecting evidence in his case would be convicted and jailed, as a result of this federal investigation, on charges which included graft, corruption, and tampering with evidence to obtain a conviction. Chief among these officers was Alfonzo Giordano, the police inspector who led the crime scene investigation in Mumia’s case. The DOJ investigation remains unfinished: it did not provide relief for defendants like Mumia who were convicted by the testimonies and work of these corrupt and convicted cops.
OCCUPY THE DOJ’S DEMANDS
• Release Mumia Abu-Jamal
• End Mass Incarceration & the Criminalization of Black & Latino Youth
• Jobs, Education, & Health Care. NOT JAILS!
• End solitary confinement & stop torture
• End the racist death penalty
• Hands off immigrants
• Free all political prisoners