Philly March Demands Mumia Abu-Jamal Be Freed From Prison

from Unicorn Riot

Philadelphia, PA – After 40 years of incarceration, the movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal continues. Hundreds gathered with a giant Mumia puppet outside Philadelphia’s City Hall near the statue of Octavius V. Catto before marching through streets south of Center City on December 11, 2021.

Unicorn Riot was live for the rally and march:

[Video 1] [Video 2]

Mumia, a journalist and radio newscaster for National Public Radio in the 1970s, was sentenced to death after being convicted of killing Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. The movement that supports him has long seen him as a leading example of a political prisoner punished for supporting Black liberation in the United States, and a symbol of a racist system. He’s always claimed his innocence, and since his incarceration began, the mass movement has continued pushing for the government to release him from prison. Even though his death sentence was overturned in 2001, he was commuted to a life sentence without parole in 2011.

As speakers on the march explained, some supporters believe a new trial could clear him, but the review of his conviction has languished in higher courts. District Attorney Larry Krasner and his team found six boxes of documents that the defense never received. Although Krasner is known as more of a reformer than his corrupted predecessor Rufus Seth Williams, Krasner’s reluctance to push for review of this case drew an investigation from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

A few of the speakers at the December 11 rally included Pam Africa (MOVE), Gabriel Bryant, Rev. Keith Collins, Suzanne Ross, Jacky Hortaut (from France), and Cindy Lou.

During the march, Pam Africa spoke to Unicorn Riot about organizing for Mumia’s freedom since day one. She said just because he’s not free doesn’t mean the movement is weak. “We’re not without, we are with. We’re not 40 years weaker, we’re 40 years strong.

Mumia has had a myriad of health issues lately and has not received the greatest care while in prison. Besides contracting COVID-19 in prison, Mumia is struggling against hepatitis and trying to recover from recent open heart surgery.

Steve, one of the speakers and participants in the demonstration, came all the way from France with his friend to show solidarity to Mumia—he has been organizing demonstrations in France at locations like the U.S. Embassy for years. During the march, Steve shared with Unicorn Riot their recent experience visiting Mumia in prison. Steve said that Mumia was smiling behind his mask and in good spirits and also writing again.

Unicorn Riot also streamed a similar rally in Philadelphia in April 2021.

Supporters maintain websites about the effort to free Mumia, including FreeMumia.com, BringMumiaHome.com, and the French site, Libérons Mumia!

Running Down The Walls 2021 Reportback

from Philly ABC

We’re pleased to share the following reportback of our fourth annual Philadelphia Running Down The Walls in support of political prisoners and prisoners of war.

On sunny September 12, 2021, a light breeze persisted from off the lake in FDR park as participants gathered to check-in for their t-shirts, make donations, set up tables, and hang banners. For the fourth year in a row, the day kicked off an amazing yoga warm up lead by  Sheena Sood  to uplift the energy for the rest of the day. Our comrade Spiritchild from the  maroon party for liberation  emceed the event getting participants amped and queued up. Walkers left the start line around 11:10 am, followed by folks moving at a medium pace, and finally the runners around 11:30 am.

After the 5K, the crowd gathered as Spiritchild performed a song for the spirits of political prisoners, fallen comrades and ancestors, followed by pouring libations. Then we acknowledged the prisoners who were sponsored for and participated as part of the Philadelphia event: John Bramble and Paul Kali Hickman (Vaughn Correctional Center), Hector “Pica” Huertas and Jerome Coffey (SCI Pine Grove), Jacob Busic (Halifax Correctional Unit), Alejandro “Capo” Rodriguez-Ortiz and the 9 others participating with him (SCI Phoenix).

The first speaker was Mumia’s grandson, Jamal Jr. He started with the chant he’s heard his whole life – “Free Mumia!” – to remind everyone what the goal is, and then continued to share his raw emotions with us. Jamal spoke on how hard it was to see Mumia’s incision wounds from the recent open heart surgery, but his words come from more than just that. They come from a lifetime of fighting to free his grandfather. His call to action is for all of us to do one revolutionary act a day. See Jamal’s full speech from  Unicorn Riot’s  live stream  here.

I wish my grandfather was here to address you today. We have a puppet in his stead. I wish he was here, lending his voice for the liberation of others like he always does. I wish he was here laughing and telling stories, flanked by his wife, children, grandchildren, and other family. … He’s been abducted longer than most of us have been alive. Just think of that. … They intended to kill him, but the people had something to say about that. … They took him from me, and they still intend to hold him. I’m pretty sure we got something to say about that. They took him from my children, and they intend for him to die in there– to die behind enemy lines. … Freeing political prisoners is personal to me, because my grandfather has been a political prisoner all my life. He’s been a political prisoner most of my dad’s life. Bringing him home is the goal. You guys hear that? We got to bring him home. We have to.

We all got work to do, so I am going to require one revolutionary act a day. One revolutionary act could be sharing a revolutionary story. One revolutionary act could be joining in on a conversation of political prisoners and injustices that we need to challenge. There’s many ways we can do one revolutionary act a day… . When I’m asking you guys to voluntarily do one revolutionary act a day– don’t just do it because it makes you feel okay, you know it makes you feel right, makes you feel whole, makes you feel good, you know supporting political prisoners– do it because, you know, a lot of us, we don’t have a choice… In supporting political prisoners, and supporting revolutionaries, in a lot of ways you’re supporting the family members, you know, of revolutionaries … the ones who didn’t sign up for this.

The next speaker was former political prisoner,  Kazi Toure,  who was imprisoned for over ten years for his role in bombings carried out by the United Freedom Front (UFF) to combat Apartheid in South Africa and US Imperialism in Central America. Kazi traveled down from Boston to participate and share his wisdom, solidarity for Mumia and all political prisoners, as well as his experiences with Running Down The Walls both inside and outside prison. See Kazi’s full speech here.

Each year I see this [Running Down The Walls] growing and growing, more and more. And you know it’s something we really need to do because of the double standards that they have on this land. Where Mumia would already be out, and a lot of other political prisoners would be out. So we have to double our efforts.

As brother [Jamal] spoke before … [where] he was talking about doing one revolutionary act a day, I think the self-discipline plays into that. Just like where we start the day off with yoga, and then went on our walk and our run… we have to incorporate all that and study revolutionary movements, and who the political prisoners are. People should know them. They are in there because they made a choice. People made a conscious choice to fight against this government, and it’s racist, sexist, homophobic policies.

Following came a legal update from Nia Holston of the  Abolitionist Law Center,  on the current status of medical parole for political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz. Maroon has been imprisoned for 48 years and suffers from stage 4 cancer, to the point at which he is eligible for compassionate release into to hospice. However that didn’t stop a Judge last month from asserting this 78 year old man is an “undue risk of escape or danger to the community,” and denying his release. Nia and others from ALC are still fighting for his release, and they believe he will come home. See Nia’s full legal update  here.

I definitely want to acknowledge the family of Russell Maroon Shoatz that’s here today, and that we stand in solidarity with them. In August we filed a petition for compassionate release in his case, because of the illness, because of what he’s been going through, because he spent so long incarcerated. We’ve been working to file that petition to get him released. Now I have to say that unfortunately, Judge Scott of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas did deny that petition in August of this past month, but we are still working. We are still preparing the litigation to continue that fight, and we believe that we will win.

But I will say, as you all know here, we know that we can’t rely on the legal system to do what’s right. We know that we can’t. And so, all of the work that you are doing, all the good work you’re doing to organize this event, and all of the work that the Free Maroon Now coalition is doing to support the litigation is so, so important.

Next up, we were again joined by Robert Saleem Holbrook. Saleem is a former juvenile lifer who was released in 2018 after spending over two decades in prison. He spoke at last year’s event about the political education and mentorship he received from Maroon and  Joseph “Joe-Joe” Bowen  while incarcerated with them. This year he spoke on the history of Jericho and their new Philly chapter that formed a few months ago. He also echoed the strength and victories of our movements to free political prisoners. See Saleem’s full speech here.

Jericho was founded in 1998 after a call was made by  Jalil Muntaqim … for all national organizations that support the Black liberation movement and support radical things in this country, to come together and march on Washington demanding the release of political prisoners who were casualties of this country’s war against the Black liberation movement, and this country’s war against the social protest movement of the 60s and 70s. … Since 1998, I’m proud to say that we have brought home a lot of political prisoners. Something that at one time seemed impossible. Jalil Muntaqim, the political prisoner who made that call, is now home. However not only is Jalil home, his comrades are also home. … A lot of times when you’re in the trenches fighting, you sometimes forget our victories … but we have victories that we need to uplift, and I think as a movement we need to uplift these victories a lot more… . There are so many who are released that gave inspiration to us that we need to acknowledge when we’re in their presence.

We have a lot more work to do. We got bring home Mumia Abu-Jamal … Russell Maroon Shoatz … Fred “Muhammad” Burton … Joseph “Joe-Joe” Bowen … Sundiata AcoliMutulu ShakurLeonard Peltier … You know today is his birthday, so we need to uplift Leonard Peltier’s presence [and] his fighting spirit today. Philly Jericho is part of this movement, this mass movement to liberate our political prisoners.

The final speaker was longtime ABCF member, Tim Fasnacht. Since 2005, Tim has been the person dispersing the monthly Warchest stipends to political prisoners and prisoners of war. He gave a brief update and history of the program. See Tim’s full speech  here.

Right now we’re up to 18 political prisoners [that] we send $50 a month. We also provide occasional legal money if someone needs help with legal fees. And [what] we also started over the past couple years as the Warchest has really grown, is a release fund. So we’re giving political prisoners who have been released over that last couple years anywhere from maybe $500 to maybe $3000 to help them get on their feet when they get out.

The Warchest started in 1994. It came about from comrades up in Patterson, New Jersey. They started writing and visiting different political prisoners. The first one they wrote to was Ojorie Lutalo … he’s been a huge inspiration to the formation of the ABCF in all different aspects, and he’s the one who coined the term “Warchest.” So you can thank him for it, you can thank Sekou Odinga and Sundiata Acoli – they’re the ones that kind of put together the list of people that we should get in touch with who were in need of financial assistance. We’ll just keep on doing this every year until they are all free.

Between speeches, we read aloud Running Down The Walls solidarity statements from political prisoners Oso Blanco and Bill Dunne, former political prisoner Jaan Laaman, and Capo on behalf of the Vaughn 17 prisoners who participated with us. Many people also signed up to join the Free Mumia listserv, which can also be subscribed to here. All the while, were accompanied by powerfully symbolic 18 ft. Mumia puppet in the background. If you appreciated the puppet, please donate to sustain that project. The speeches wrapped up with some short announcements of upcoming events and another reminder of the many political prisoners we’ve brought home, followed by a group photo on the pavilion steps.

We’d like to thank Food Not Bombs Solidarity for the snacks and refreshments, to Unicorn Riot for the full  livestream  of speakers, statements and announcements, and photographer Joe Piette for yet another collection of amazing photos. We were honored to be joined by former political prisoner Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3, who traveled all the way from New Orleans to be a part of the event. In that same vein, we were honored to be joined by and Kazi Toure and former Anarchist prisoner of war, Ojorie Lutalo,  as well as recently released Pennsylvania prisoners Arthur ‘Cetawayo’ Johnson (August 11, 2021) and Eric Riddick (May 28th, 2021).

We thank Prison Radio, Mobilizaton for Mumia, Campaign to Bring Mumia Home, and International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal for all the support in promoting and making this event the success that it was. We would also like to thank Spiritchild for emceeing the event, Sheena Sood for leading the Yoga warm-up, Latziyela and Come On Strong  for printing the shirts, and people who tabled for Mobilization for Mumia, Here & Now Zines, IWW, Socialist Rifle Association, and a Black Panther support crew.

We thank the 200+ people who attended in person or remotely from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California, Vermont, Illinois, New York, Virginia, Washington, Texas, Minnesota, Ohio, Arizona, Massachusetts, D.C., Malmo (Sweden), and Tokyo (Japan). Together we raised a total of $10,505 to be split between Mumia Abu-Jamal and the ABCF Warchest  that sends monthly stipends to 18 political prisoners with little or no financial support. A full breakdown of Warchest funds in and out since 1994 is available  here.  Funds available beyond the reserved amount needed for the monthly stipends will be disbursed as one-time donations to other political prisoners who demonstrate financial need, or to the release funds of the next comrades to come home.

We look forward to more successes in the next year as we further the struggle to free Mumia and abolish the carceral system! We encourage folks to donate what they can to the Ant Smith Defense Committee. An outspoken supporter of Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners, Ant is a beloved educator, community member, and organizer who participates in Running Down The Walls. Since October of 2020, he has been the target of trumped up, politically motivated charges related to protest during the George Floyd uprising. Follow the #FreeAnt  Linktree,   Twitter,  and  Instagram.  Make donations to freeantphl on  Cashapp or PayPal.

freeant-flyer.jpg

We want to close this out by commemorating former political prisoner and long-time friend and comrade of Philly ABC, Chuck Africa. After nearly 42 years in prison, on February 7th, 2020, Chuck was the last of the surviving Move 9 to be paroled. His cancer had already reached stage 4 by this time, but Chuck remained strong and optimistic.

Chuck spoke at  last year’s Running Down The Walls,  to which he called on the movement to take immediate action in supporting his imprisoned comrades Joseph Bowen and Steven Northington, and a list of women serving life without parole (or sentenced to death by incarceration).

chuck-africa-rdtw-2020-1.jpg

It was Chuck’s first and only public speaking engagement since his release. He was excited to attend the event again this year, and possibly speak again, but his health declined too rapidly in the month prior.

Around 3:00am on Monday September 20th, Chuck joined the ancestors after his four year battle with cancer that clearly worsened through incarceration. His family and close friends know him as a bold and selfless warrior, always standing up and fighting for everyone else before himself. He will forever be remembered as someone who loved with all his might, and we will keep fighting in his honor. #RestInPower comrade.

Until all are free,
Philly ABC

“Running Down the Walls” Event Highlights Prisoner Support

from Unicorn Riot

An annual 5K run/walk/roll benefit called “Running Down the Walls” aims to amplify “the voices of our comrades behind bars, lifting them up in their struggles,” and provide material support, according to Philadelphia Anarchist Black Cross, the host of today’s event in South Philly’s FDR Park. After the participants finish their 5Ks, speakers will address the issues facing incarcerated people and the prison industrial complex.

This year’s run is in honor of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a high-profile prisoner for 40 years who suffers from multiple health issues.

[Video Here]

Last year’s Philly RDTW was featured in a short documentary by hate5six:

[Video Here]

he proceeds from the event are split with the Anarchist Black Cross Federation “Warchest Program” which includes incarcerated people like Leonard Peltier, Eric King, and Mutulu Shakur.

Cover image via IGD News.

#SHUTEMDOWN2021

from It’s Going Down

Philadelphia, PA:

  • August 21st: 8pm, more info here. Demonstration in solidarity with prisoners.

Running Down The Walls

from Philly ABC

rdtw-2020

Download posters and flyers.

Sunday, September 12, 2021
11 am sharp (Yoga warm-up at 10am)
FDR Park

Philadelphia Anarchist Black Cross invites you to our fourth annual Running Down The Walls (RDTW)! Join us for another revolutionary 5K run/walk/roll and day of solidarity amplifying the voices of our comrades behind bars, lifting them up in their struggles, and maintaining material support. If you would like to participate in light yoga and warm-up stretches before, please arrive by 10am and bring a mat if you can.

Running is not required! You can also walk or roll. 5K is two loops around the park and at a walking pace will take about 45-60 minutes. Light refreshments and socializing will take place in the park afterward.

This year’s event is in honor of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Join us as we once again raise energy and funds for the freedom struggle of another Philly comrade and long-term Black liberation prisoner.

Very few people in prison have voices that go beyond the wall. It’s my job to do the work for them because they have no one.

– Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia has now spent 39 years behind bars as a voice for the voiceless. Due to multiple health issues from medical neglect, he needs our support now more than ever. We freed the MOVE 9 after 40 years – let’s do the same for Mumia!

Learn More

If you cannot make it to the event or would like to make an additional contribution, please sponsor a participant either outside prison, inside prison or one of each. Contact us for more information on sponsoring!

We will ship official shirts nationwide to people who register to participate remotely, pay online and leave their shipping address in the comment box!


Proceeds will be split between the Warchest Program and the campaign to Bring Mumia Home. The ABCF Warchest program sends monthly stipends to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War who have insufficient, little, or no financial support.

Register for the 5K

Thanks for your support by running/walking/rolling the 5K! Everyone must fill out the following form to register NO LATER THAN AUGUST 31ST so that you receive your official shirt the day of the event.

The registration fee of $40 confirms your place at the event and covers your t-shirt. We can accept credit/debit donations online or cash/check/money order on the day of event. Make checks and money orders out to Tim Fasnacht. Additional funds over the $40 base fee raised through sponsorships are more than welcome (see our fundraising tips below).

After submitting the following registration form, please allow 24 – 48 hours for your confirmation email. Check your Spam folder if the message does not appear in your Inbox. If you did not receive a confirmation email, please get in touch with us at phillyabc[at]riseup[dot]net.

[Register Here]

Onsite security strives to make Philadelphia RDTW a safer space event. If you experience harrassment or abuse at the event, or if someone who has engaged in such behavior is adversely affecting your participation, please come to a volunteer. Experienced advocates, medics and support people are available.


Tips to Get Sponsors for your 5K Participation:

Many runners will pay the $40 registration fee on their own but if you would like to get sponsored instead, here’s a few tips and ideas to get you started.

  • Make a list of potential donors. Friends, family, co-workers, neighbors…think creatively and include everyone you can think of (it doesn’t hurt to ask). Who might be supportive? Who cares about similar causes? Decide to ask for a specific amount that you think will be within your prospective sponsor’s budget (for instance $1-8 for each kilometer).
  • Hand-write request letters. Deliver them personally if possible. Write your letter in a genuine tone and reference your relationship. Email is faster, but many will be less likely to forget a letter (than an email in a crowded inbox) and they’ll appreciate the personal touch. Include a self-addressed envelope for people to mail checks. Use email to follow up with those who don’t respond.
  • Make it personal and face to face. Ask for support from the people you see regularly, and ask in person. People respond to eye contact, assertiveness and passion. Tell them why you’re inspired to support political prisoners and their stories. Practice the conversation beforehand if you think it might be difficult to find words in the moment.
  • Use all communication tools available- Phone calls, text, social media, websites, and email to reach broader networks. If you’re trying to appeal to an organization, make it clear that the event can be a source of positive press for them. Ask them to match the donations of other groups if possible. You could even start a crowdfunding page for your run. Add quality images and tell a story to engage people. Share it on social media and encourage your friends to do the same. Use letters and other communications to direct people to your crowdfunding page.
  • Follow up, provide updates and say ‘thank you.’ Remember to reconnect to your sponsors with photos and stories from the event and thank them for their support.

History

Since 1999, the Anarchist Black Cross Federation, incarcerated people and support organizations across the country participate in Running Down The Walls (RDTW) . This annual 5K run/walk/roll event is to show solidarity and raise funds for numerous political prisoners in North America. Funds raised are typically split between the ABCF Warchest and a community group chosen by the host group. Each year, incarcerated comrades participate by running inside prison. This event brings us closer together each year, strengthens our bond, and lets people behind bars know they are not forgotten! Read RDTW statements from current and former PP/POWs.

The Warchest program receives donations from ABC chapters and individuals and then disperses the funds to the recipients in the program. Since initiation in November 1994, the program has dispersed more than $140,000. The current Warchest recipients are:

In past years, Running Down the Walls was held in Albuquerque (NM), Arcata (CA), Ashland (OR), Bellefonte (PA), Bloomington (IN), Boston (MA), Brooklyn (NY), Buffalo (NY), Chicago (IL), Denver (CO), Hamilton (Ontario), Elmore (AL), FCI Sandstone (MN), Inez (KY), Los Angeles (CA), Marion (IL), Middletown (CT), Minneapolis (MN), USP Navosta (TX), Oakland (CA), Pelican Bay (CA), Phoenix (AZ), Riverside (CA), Seattle (WA), Tucson (AZ), and Toronto (Ontario).

Philly Commemorates 36th Anniversary of MOVE Bombing

from Unicorn Riot

Philadelphia, PA – Thirty-six years ago today, the Philadelphia Police dropped a bomb on a home in West Philadelphia that served as the headquarters of the Black liberation organization, MOVE. The bombing killed 6 adults and 5 children, burned down 61 homes, and displaced 250 residents.

Members of MOVE and the Philadelphia radical community are observing the anniversary of the tragedy, gathering at the former MOVE HQ site on Osage Avenue before marching to Malcolm X Park.

[Video Here]

In April, news emerged that the bones of two MOVE families’ childrenDelisha Africa and Tree Africahad been taken from the bombing site and ended up in the custody of the University of Pennsylvania. UPenn staff have been casually storing the murdered children’s remains in a cardboard box on a shelf, and using their remains as teaching props for classes.

[Video Here]

On April 28, MOVE bombing survivors and community members protested at the UPenn campus demanding the firing of university staff involved in disrespecting the children’s remains. MOVE and supporters have also called for the removal of a street sign honoring former Philly Mayor Wilson Goode, who oversaw the 1985 bombing.

Today, Philly Mayor Jim Kenney announced the resignation of Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. Kenney said he learned Farley had identified additional remains from the MOVE bombing and had them cremated and disposed of instead of providing them to family members.

[Video Here]

In the 1970s, MOVE advocated for the rights of animals and the environment, in accordance with the teachings of their founder and leader John Africa. After a series of extreme police brutality incidents against MOVE members by Philly Police, the group found itself increasingly drawn into confrontations with Philly’s notoriously racist law enforcement apparatus under then-Mayor Frank Rizzo.

On August 8, 1978, an earlier confrontation took place at MOVE’s then-headquarters in the Philly neighborhood of Powelton Village. 9 MOVE members were sentenced in a politically-charged trial for the death of an officer who died in the 1978 confrontation; evidence suggests the officer died due to friendly fire from other police.

After years of imprisonment and medical neglect, 7 of the MOVE 9 have been released (two of themMerle Africa and Phil Africadied in prison). Delbert Africa, one of the MOVE 9 who was freed in 2020, died just months after his release, likely due to being denied proper cancer treatment while incarcerated.

[Video Here]

Imprisoned journalist and former Black Panther, Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted by a racist judge based on falsified evidence in the 1981 murder of Philly cop Daniel Faulkner, is also associated with MOVE. Abu-Jamal reported closely on police brutality against MOVE and was believed by many to be targeted for a death penalty prosecution in part due to his support for MOVE.

Abu-Jamal has been experiencing extreme medical issues due to neglect in Pennsylvania’s prison system. On April 24, a coalition of groups, including MOVE, demonstrated in Philly, demanding Mumia’s release from prison:

[Video Here]

reportback from 4/23

Submission

This weekend beginning on Friday, April 23rd multiple actions were organized in so-called “Philadelphia”(*) demanding the immediate release of political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is suffering from medical issues and an inhuman quality of life associated with being locked in a cage since the early 1980’s. Mumia Abu-Jamal was born and raised in so-called “Philadelphia” and Saturday April 24th was his 67th birthday.
On Friday around 10pm a small group of anarchists carried out a spontaneous banner drop over the 22nd St. bridge, facing drivers going southbound on 676. Some comrades cop-watched while others climbed onto the fence overlooking the highway to secure the banner, which read “Free Mumia, Free Them All.”
The drop was performed in under 10 minutes and occurred without any police presence. The black banner was repurposed from a previous march and admittedly left much to be desired. Consider it an invitation to “show us up” by throwing up a more carefully designed black sheet of your own.
Additional acts of solidarity that took place that night included:
 — “Free Mumia” appearing in paint on the 22nd St. bridge
— Stickers being slapped in the surrounding area
— “Free Mumia Free Them All” spanning the Schuylkill River Banks structure
— A large display of anarchist sentiments appearing on a wall near the Spring Garden bridge including “No Prisons, No Police, No Presidents” & “USA” crossed out
— And “Free Mumia” and “ACAB” decorating barriers and walls near the 23rd St. armory.
No police interference occurred during the night’s art projects. These acts were carried out in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s freedom, regardless of if he is “guilty” or “innocent” — a debate we couldn’t care less about.
We hope our small and uncomplicated action will encourage others to conspire and act out, even during this time of steadily increasing surveillance, police presence and state repression.
“Every city, every town…”
– Some local anarchist exterior decorators

Monday April 26th: Letter-writing for Mumia Abu-Jamal

from Philly ABC

mumia-abu-jamal.jpgMumia Abu-Jamal is a former Black Panther and internationally recognized award-winning journalist known as “the voice of the voiceless” for his many years spent writing about racism in Philadelphia, the murder of local MOVE members, people in prison, and more. It is now urgent that we raise our voices for the freedom of Mumia as he faces serious health complications from medical neglect inside prison.

After years of denial of treatment for various chronic health conditions, Mumia had heart pain over last weekend. He was rushed to the hospital, and is expected to undergo heart surgery Monday, April 19, 2021. According to Dr. Ricardo Alvarez, Mumia’s chosen doctor:

There is significant evidence, both legal and medical, that Mumia has suffered severe harm because medical, legal, law enforcement, and judicial professionals have not met proper standards. Mumia has been recently hospitalized for COVID and Congestive Heart Failure and he already suffers from hypertension as well as liver cirrhosis and diabetes, both induced by court documented medical neglect. Freedom is the only treatment.

Watch the full, emergency press conference here.

Due to public pressure, Mumia was able to call his wife last Thursday, but we need to continue the pressure to demand:

  1. Mumia be allowed to call his chosen doctor, Dr. Ricardo Alvarez.
  2. Mumia not be shackled to his hospital bed, as is the rule in Pennsylvania and across the United States.
  3. His immediate release from prison.

Your support with calling and emailing prison authorities today and in the coming weeks is absolutely critical to ensure that Mumia gets the best possible medical care before, during, and after the surgery on Monday.

The it’s ALL OUT FOR MUMIA on April 23-25 – a weekend of action for Mumia’s 67th birthday.

Finally, join us on Monday, April 26th at 6:30pm in Clark Park (stone platform near 45th and Chester) as we gather to write letters of solidarity to Mumia. Move members will provide an update on Mumia’s condition and next steps for the fight to bring him home. If you are unable to make the event, please send him your solidarity at:

Smart Communications/PADOC
Mumia Abu-Jamal AM-8335
SCI Mahanoy
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733

We will also send birthday cards to political prisoners with birthdays in May: Xinachtli (the 12th), Kojo Bomani Sababu (the 27th), and Doug Wright (the 30th).

#FreedomIsTheOnlyTreatment
#FreeMumia
#BringMumiaHome

Prison Break: Glimmers of Light

from It’s Going Down

[This post only contains information relevant to Philadelphia and the surrounding area, to read the entire article follow the above link.]

Political Prisoner Birthdays

The only political prisoner’s birthday in April is that of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who will turn 67. Mumia recently contracted COVID-19 and his health has continued to deteriorate during his 37 years of wrongful imprisonment. As a Pennsylvania prisoner he will only receive scans of correspondence, but send him a birthday letter or card now to show your solidarity.

April 24
Mumia Abu-Jamal, #AM8335
Smart Communications/PA DOC
SCI Mahanoy
PO Box 33028
St Petersburg, FL 33733

Ongoing Cases

On March 17, lawyers for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal filed a response in the hopes of re-opening appeals filed on Mumia’s behalf. You can read more about the struggles of Pennsylvania political prisoners Abu-Jamal and Russell Maroon Shoatz in the new Human Rights Coalition magazine, pages 33-38. On March 19th, Mumia issued a message to supporters who flooded phone lines and email inboxes, demanding his release. Here’s his statement:

Dear sisters, brothers, comrades, and friends and family on a MOVE! How can I thank you? These, my words, can hardly measure the flood of love that you have radiated on my behalf recently. I am almost — almost — without words, but I’ll try.

Thank you, Wadiya. Thank you, Pam Africa. Your support from Philadelphia to France, from points across the nation and literally around the globe, have pulled me from a prison cell and placed me in a hospital room to be treated for a condition I didn’t know I had.

In the age of pandemic as of January 2021, over 300,000 prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19. Imagine that in a cell, trying to breathe with a weight pressing on your chest. Imagine an elder man or woman, or even a young person, because yes, we are also in an age of mass incarceration, which day-by-day increases its infliction upon the elderly struggling, unsuccessfully, to breathe, to walk, to be.

I thank you all for reaching out and I urge you all, let our mission be abolition. I love you all. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart.

From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Wednesday March 31st: Letter-writing for Fran Thompson

from Philly ABC

fran-thompson.jpg

Philly ABC has been busy gearing up for this year’s Running Down the Walls 5K (save the date of September 12th with funds split between the ABCF Warchest and Mumia Abu-Jamal!), but we didn’t want to miss a monthly letter-writing so we are hosting the next event online this Wednesday the 31st.

Philly ABC is energized by building momentum towards abolishing the police. As prison abolitionists, we stand in solidarity with the many people who have taken necessary actions to defend themselves without engaging police or courts. We believe self-defense is a right, and recognize that police and courts do not provide viable options to ensure safety. Both are even more biased against people who are known to stand up against injustice.

This month we encourage people to write letters to Fran Thompson, who was sentenced to life in prison for self-defense in 1994. Prior to her incarceration, Fran lived on a farm in Knox County, Nebraska. She was a dedicated animal rights and environmental activist. After a man who was stalking her threatened to kill her and then broke into her house, Fran shot and killed him in self-defense but was charged with murder.

Fran’s case was highly politicized. Fran had taken on the prosecutor and local government during her activism, organizing against two big projects, the Walden Egg Factory and a nuclear waste facility, that would have brought the county big profits. She was treated harshly by the local court for her commitment to animals and the environment. She was not allowed to enter a plea of self-defense and received a sentence of life without parole.

This event will be held on Jitsi – we’ll post the meet link on social media the day of. You can also message us to get the link beforehand. If you are unable to make the event, please drop Fran a line and let her know she is not forgotten:

Fran Thompson #93341
Nebraska Correctional Center for Women
1107 Recharge Rd.
York, NE 68467-8003

We also encourage sending a birthday card to Mumia Abu-Jamal, as a U.S.-held political prisoner born in April. Sadly, the other political prisoner who we would have been sending a birthday card to– [Chip Fitzgerald] (https://www.prisonersolidarity.com/prisoner/romaine-chip-fitzgerald)– recently suffered a severe cardio-vascular event and passed away on March 31st, so we send heartfelt condolences to his loved ones.

In Contempt #3: Calls to Action from Behind the Prison Walls, ‘Blockade Defense’ Campaign Launched

from It’s Going Down

[This post only contains information relevant to Philadelphia and the surrounding area, to read the entire article follow the above link.]

Uprising Defendants

Everyone should support the defendants facing charges related to their alleged participation in the George Floyd uprising – this list of our imprisoned comrades needs to be getting shorter, not longer. The status of pre-trial defendants changes frequently, but to the best of our knowledge they currently include:

Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal #70002-066
FDC Philadelphia
P.O. Box 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

David Elmakayes #77782-066
FDC Philadelphia,
PO Box 562,
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Shawn Collins #69989-066
FDC Philadelphia,
PO Box 562,
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Steven Pennycooke #69988-066
FDC Philadelphia,
PO Box 562,
Philadelphia, PA 19105

When writing to pre-trial prisoners, do not write about their cases or say anything that you wouldn’t want to hear read out in court. If you have any updates, either about status changes meaning that people should be removed from this list, or about names that are missing and should be included, please reach out.

Upcoming Birthdays

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia is an award winning journalist and was one of the founders of the Black Panther Party chapter in Philadelphia, PA. He has struggled for justice and human rights for people of color since he was at least 14 years old; the age when he joined the Party. In December of 1982, Mumia, who moonlighted by driving a taxi, happened upon police who were beating his brother. During the melee, a police officer was shot and killed. Despite the fact that many people saw someone else shoot and then run away from the scene, Mumia, in what could only be called a kangaroo court, was convicted and sentenced to death. During the summer of 1995, a death warrant was signed by Governor Tom Ridge, which sparked one of the most effective organizing efforts in defense of a political prisoner ever. Since that time, Mumia has had his death sentence overturned, but still has a life sentence with no opportunity for parole.

Mumia has a number of health issues as a result of medical neglect while in prison, and was recently diagnosed with COVID, lending a new urgency to the ongoing campaign for his freedom.

Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility”, choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections”, going into the “messaging” service, and then adding Mumia as a contact by searching his name or “AM8335”.

Birthday: April 24

Address:

Smart Communications/PA DOC
Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM8335
SCI Mahanoy
Post Office Box 33028
St Petersburg, Florida 33733

Janiis Mathis

A former Vaughn 17 defendant. While the state has now given up on its attempts to charge Mathis in relation to the Vaughn uprising, he is facing continued retaliation, as he has been moved out of state to Pennsylvania, where many Vaughn defendants are being held on lockdown indefinitely (via placement on PA’s Restricted Release List) on vague and questionable grounds. Years after the uprising, these prisoners are still being abused for staying in solidarity with one another against the state.

Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility”, choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections”, going into the “messaging” service, and then adding him as a contact by searching his name or “NU0423”.

Birthday: April 24

Address:

Smart Communications / PA DOC
Janiis Mathis – NU0423
SCI Greene
PO Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL, 33733

#AmnestyForAll and #FreeAnt Banner Communique from Revolutionary Anarchists and Abolitionists in Rockford, Illinois

from AMW English

To our comrades in Philadelphia, Rockford and across the settler colony known as the United States,

The struggle for black liberation has intensified since the anti-police uprising that began in Minneapolis in May. The rebellion spread like wild fire across the so-called United States. In Rockford, we witnessed a black led multi-racial revolt against the Rockford Police Department on May 30th. Many of our comrades were arrested on that day and throughout the rest of the summer.

Despite the apparent Biden presidency, the state repression of the abolitionist movement will continue. It does not matter who is in office. The Federal charges against Anthony Smith in Philadelphia and others across the United States are proof that the State is attempting to create a new generation of black political prisoners. Repression will continue regardless of who is in power.

We encourage all revolutionaries to organize their communities to defend people being targeted by the State for their participation in the rebellion and radical political action. A truly resilient movement must support people facing state repression for their actions and organization. Let us build anti-repression councils in every city. Say no to the new Cointelpro!

We hope with our banner to amplify the demands of Philly revolutionaries to #FreeAnt. Furthermore, Ant’s charges and the charges of all others in Philly must be dropped. We also uplift the demands of the Black Philly Radical Collective to for the immediate release of Mumia Abu Jamal, Major Tillery, Arthur Cetawayo Johnson, Russell “Maroon” Shoatz, Omar Askia, Joseph “Jo-Jo” Bowen, and all Black Political Prisoners. 
We cannot forget our revolutionary elders.

It is imperative that revolutionaries in Rockford understand links between state repression in our own city and the larger State strategy to destroy movements for Black liberation. The Rockford Police Department and the Winnebago County Sherriff Office actions to surveill, repress and detain organizers, anarchists and movement participants is not unique to Rockford.

We demand that all protestors across the United States must be granted amnesty. All charges must be dropped. We have unconditional solidarity to all rebels, radicals and revolutionaries facing State repression.

Free Them All.

Fire to the Prisons.

Fuck 12.

Black Liberation Now.

Running Down The Walls 2020 Reportback

from Philly ABC

We’re happy to report the success of our third annual Philadelphia Running Down The Walls in support of political prisoners, held on September 6th 2020.

On this beautiful sunny day, participants began gathering in FDR park to check-in for their t-shirts, make donations, set up tables, and hang banners. With a nice breeze coming off the lake, Sheena Sood led another amazing yoga warm-up – this time right on the boardwalk by the shore. Blak Rapp MADUSA with the Dignity Act Now Collective kicked off the event with an epic introduction to Maroon and his book, Maroon the Implacable.

Walkers left the start line around 11:30 am, followed by folks moving at a medium pace, and finally the runners around 11:50 am. Afterward, we gathered to hear from two former juvenile lifers who were mentored in prison by Maroon– Kempis “Ghani” Songster and Robert Saleem Holbrook. We were also blessed to have Chuck Africa – the last of the MOVE 9 to be released from prison – speak for the first time since he was paroled on February 7th of this year. Check out this video for highlights of these speeches.

We’d like to thank Solidarity Food Not Bombs, Mike Africa Jr., and Dadaji Odinga from Akbar Originals for refreshments. More big thanks to Hate5six, Unicorn Riot, and photographers Joe Piette and Clifford Smith for media coverage, and the campaign to free Mumia Abu-Jamal for the banners that decorated the stage area. It was a huge honor to have all of the remaining Move 9 participating in this event with us; they not only donated themselves, but provided an additional donation from the Move organization. It was also an honor that we were joined by former Black Liberation prisoner of war, Ojore Lutalo, a founding member of the ABCF. We would like to thank Saleem and Ghani for sharing their powerful experiences spending time with Maroon, and Chuck Africa for choosing our event as the outlet for his first speech back home. We thank the tablers – Socialist Rifle Association, Here & Now Zines, the Never Give Up project, Khalid with the political prisoner artwork, as well as the families of Eric Riddick and Omar Askia Ali. Of course, we also thank the comrades behind bars who ran with us, and the families of people in prison who came out.

Together we raised a total of $14,012! As described in the event announcement, funds are split between Russell Maroon Shoatz and the ABCF Warchest– a fund sending monthly stipends to 19 political prisoners with lacking, little, or no financial support. A full breakdown of Warchest funds in and out since 1994 is available here. In accordance with Warchest policies, any funds over the reserved amount needed to send the monthly stipends will be disbursed as one-time donations to other political prisoners who demonstrate financial need. Philly ABC contributed our organization’s savings to the production of the event t-shirts, lovingly hand-printed by the Reclaim Printshop.

We look forward to more successes in the next year as we further the struggle to free Maroon and abolish the carceral system!

Until all are free!
Philly ABC

Mumia Abu-Jamal: Delbert Africa revolutionary!

from AMW English

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

He was born under the name Delbert Orr but is known in the world as Delbert Africa, a prominent member of the MOVE Organization.

In the ‘70s in Philadelphia, he was perhaps its best known and most frequently cited member. With more years than most, he was adept at using the media to spread information and promote MOVE purposes.

His country accent around Chicago and his ingenious puns made his remarks interesting and gave them journalistic value.

I regret to inform you that Delbert Africa, who won his freedom in January 2020 after 41 years imprisoned, lost his life a few days ago to the ravages of cancer.

But this is not the whole story. Late last year, Delbert was urgently taken to a nearby hospital due to an undisclosed disorder.

On leaving prison, Delbert consulted with some doctors who were horrified to learn of the drugs he was given while in Dallas prison in Pennsylvania State. A doctor said, “The drugs they used in that prison were poison.”

Still, Delbert ended his stay in prison strong in spirit. He loved the MOVE Organization and hated the rotten system.

Delbert criticized Black people who supported the system and opposed the revolution. He used to call them “niggapeans,” a word I’ve never heard from someone else’s mouth.

More than a decade before Rodney King’s police beating recorded on video in LA, Delbert was beaten by four Philadelphia police officers on Aug. 8, 1978, and the beating was recorded by a local station.

Video shows Delbert left unarmed from a basement window at his home after a standoff with police. With his naked torso, he had raised his arms in a gesture of accepting detention.

Delbert endured everything and walked free with his revolutionary Black soul intact.

Immediately, four officers surrounded him and savagely beat him, hitting him with the handle of their rifles, crushing his head with a motorcycle helmet, and kicking him until he lost consciousness.

Yep, that’s what they did.

Delbert suffered a jaw fracture and a swollen eye the size of an Easter egg.

There was a whitening trial of three of the police officers, in which the judge took down the case by impeaching the jury composed of people from rural areas of Pennsylvania, then declaring an acquittal of the police despite evidence recorded on video of the state brutality.

And that brutality was not limited to the streets of West Philadelphia, nor to the unfair trial and conviction of Delbert and other members of MOVE.

He continued for 41 years in exhausted soul lockdown and sorry health care. Delbert endured everything and walked free with his revolutionary Black soul intact.

As a MOVE member until the end, he continued to follow John Africa’s teachings and lived embraced in the love of his MOVE family and daughter Yvonne Orr-El.

After all, love is the closest thing we’ve come to freedom.

Delbert Africa, after 72 summers, turned to his ancestors.

From imprisoned nation, I am Mumia Abu-Jamal.

© Copyright 2020 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Keep updated at www.freemumia.com. Mumia’s latest book is “Murder Incorporated: Empire, Genocide and Manifest Destiny, Book One: Dreaming of Empire” by Mumia Abu-Jamal, Stephen Vittoria and Chris Hedges, published by Prison Radio in 2018. For Mumia’s commentaries, visit www.prisonradio.org. Send our brother some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI-Mahanoy, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA 17932.

Philly Turns Up the Heat for Mumia Abu-Jamal

from It’s Going Down

The following press release about continued action in support of Black Liberation prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal was sent to It’s Going Down, which we reprint below.

A community delegation delivered thousands of petitions to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner on January 7th, asking him to not stand in the way of justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal and to not appeal a December 27, 2018 court decision by Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker.

Wayne Alexander Cook (nephew of Mumia Abu-Jamal) handed the 4,227 signed petitions to Krasner’s assistant as they entered the DA’s lobby. The thick manila envelope also contained letters from Tadashi Seto (Doro-Chiba, Japanese rail workers’ union), Edwin R Ferris (International Secretary-Treasurer of International Longshore & Warehouse Union) and other labor statements in support of Abu-Jamal’s quest for freedom after 37 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

The DA refused to talk with the group that included Michael Africa, Jr (MOVE Organization), Sandy Joy (Rowen University professor) and other members of the umbrella group Mobilization4Mumia. The DA’s Director of Communications Ben Waxman did meet soon after, but revealed no new information when asked whether or not Krasner will appeal. “That’s above my paygrade,” he said.

The online petitions were gathered in ten days from thousands of people in the US and from around the world by Roots Action and Mobilization4Mumia.

The petitions are part of an effort to persuade Philadelphia DA Krasner to refuse an appeal of Tucker’s ruling. Such an appeal would lead to years of court proceedings and further postpone Abu-Jamal’s chance to prove his innocence. After almost four decades in prison and suffering from cirrhosis of the liver and related ailments, years of court delays will be nothing less than a death sentence and a denial of justice.

On January 5th, 2019 almost 200 people marched in the rain with signs and banners in front of the DA’s office with demands of: “Justice Now! Krasner: Don’t Appeal! Free Mumia! ”

Mumia Abu-Jamal won the significant victory before Judge Leon Tucker in a decision granting Abu-Jamal new rights to re-open appeals. The ruling could impact other prisoners whose appeals were similarly denied by biased judges.

Tucker ruled that former PA Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille denied Abu-Jamal fair and impartial hearings by not recusing himself from the defendant’s appeals between 1998 and 2012.  The ruling referenced Castille’s public statements of being a “law and order” prosecutor, responsible for 45 men on death row, the support of the Fraternal Order of Police, and new evidence supporting the claim that Castille singled out men convicted as “police killers.” Tucker cited all the above because they created the appearance of bias and impropriety in the appeal process.

Abu-Jamal has always maintained his innocence in the fatal shooting of police officer Daniel Faulkner. Judge Tucker’s ruling means that Abu-Jamal’s appeals of his 1982 convictions are restored. Abu-Jamal has argued through his past appeals that he was framed by police and that the prosecution manufactured evidence of guilt and suppressed the proof of his innocence, in addition to other violations of his due process rights.

After decades in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Abu-Jamal’s supporters are demanding that the charges should be dismissed and he should be freed.