Monday November 29th: Letter-writing for Oso Blanco

from Philly ABC

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The National Native Day of Mourning (so-called Thanksgiving) marks the invasion, theft of land, and genocide committed against the Indigenous Native People by European colonialists and later by their Amerikan descendants. UFF Ohio 7 comrades, Kazi Toure and Jaan Laaman, will be conducting a 24 hour fast on Nov. 25th and ask you to join:

This fast is to recognize and highlight the genocide of Native People and the theft of Native land. This is NOT just a historical horror – it continues today with all the injustices, abuses and ongoing land and resources theft committed against Native People all across this imperialist – colonialist USA state. In particular we focus on and demand the immediate release of Leonard Peltier – Native Elder, AIM activist, teacher, mentor, sun dancer and our dear friend and brother. Leonard is a political prisoner, in captivity over 44 years! Leonard must be freed – all U.S.-held political prisoners must be freed! Many Native Councils and governments have long called for Leonard’s release. Very recently, 10 US Senators and Representatives have called for President Joe Biden to release Leonard Peltier. We welcome everyone, each one of you, to join Kazi and Jaan in fasting, however long and in whatever way is meaningful for you, on Nov. 25th. Also do all you can, to get Leonard out of captivity NOW– see Leonard’s website for how you can help! FREE LEONARD PELTIER! FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!

– Jaan Laaman

Philly ABC is hosting an anti-colonialist letter-writing in solidarity with imprisoned indigenous freedom fighter Oso Blanco. Join us Monday, November 29th, 6:30pm online! We’ll be sharing some information on Oso Blanco’s case, as well as updates on several political prisoners. As we write letters, the film ‘Zapatista’ will be streaming since Oso Blanco is being held captive for expropriating funds to support the Zapatistas. We also encourage folks to send birthday greetings to political prisoners with birthdays in December: Fred “Muhammad” Burton (the 15th) and Casey Brezik (the 30th).

Monday October 25th: Letter-writing for Dan Baker

from Philly ABC

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Dan Baker is a social justice activist and former army vet. He went AWOL instead of fighting in Iraq, and then took his training to help defend Rojava with the International Freedom Battalion and was featured on VICE. Dan was also active during the George Floyd rebellion and took part in CHAZ . He was arrested on January 15th, 2021 after the FBI compiled social media posts related to Trump supporters’ actions on inauguration day to build a criminal case against him.

Dan was facing up to 10 years for two counts of transmitting a communication in interstate commerce containing a threat to kidnap or injure. On October 12th, he was sentenced to 44 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release. Join us on Jitsi (link will be shared the day of) as we listen to a podcast about the case and write letters of support to him. He is currently held at FDC Tallahassee, but will likely be moved to a longer-term facility in the coming weeks to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

We also encourage sending birthday cards or notes to political prisoners with birthdays in November: Ed Poindexter (the 1st), Joe Dibee (the 10th), Fidencio Aldama Perez (the 15th) and Josh Williams (the 25th).

Monday October 4th: Reportback Mailing and Card-writing

from Philly ABC

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In lieu of our usual monthly letter-writing event, we will be mailing printed copies of our 2021 Running Down the Walls reportback to over 30 political prisoners. This is one way to share and celebrate the energy garnered at the event as over 200 people gathered in Philly alone to move our bodies in solidarity with those on the other side of prison walls.

Join us this Monday at 6:30pm, at the northwest side of the dog bowl in Clark Park as we package and mail the reportbacks. Snacks and supplies are provided. We encourage people who want to discuss ideas on how to support political prisoners and prisoners of war to come hang out, and sign cards for political prisoners with birthdays in October: Jamil Al-Amin (October 4th), David Gilbert (October 6th), and Malik Bey (October 8th).

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.

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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).

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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.

This Is America #147: Anti-Frat Action Goes Wild; Daryle Lamont Jenkins on Current Terrain; Philly ABC; Organizing Offline

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.]

Welcome, to This is America, September 1st, 2021.

On today’s episode, first we speak with Daryle Lamont Jenkins about his recent travels to New York for an antifascist film festival and Portland for a mass convergence against the Proud Boys. We talk about fighting the far-Right in a post-J6 world, the need to build alternatives to the State, and the growing threat of the anti-vaxx/mask movement. We then talk with someone from Philadelphia Anarchist Black Cross about the history of the group and the importance of upcoming ‘Running Down the Walls’ events.

We then switch to our discussion, where we talk about the need for people to re-hone their organizing skills as posts on social media are often leading to diminishing returns.

  • September 11th – 12th: Running Down the Walls. Events to raise money and awareness for political prisoners. See list here.

Thursday August 26th: Letter-writing for Sundiata Acoli

from Philly ABC

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Black August began in the 1970s to mark the assassination of the imprisoned Black Panther, author, and revolutionary George Jackson during a prison rebellion in California. Each year in August we take time to honor captured freedom fighters of the Black Liberation struggle as we study, train and recommit to the struggle for freedom year-round.

In lieu of our normal Monday night letter-writing, we will be co-hosting a Black August event with Philly Jericho. We will be focusing on sending meaningful letters of solidarity to long-term political prisoner Sundiata Acoli. Sundiata was a prominent member of the Harlem chapter of the Black Panther Party. After targeting by the FBI’s illegal COINTELPRO, Sundiata continued the struggle underground with the Black Liberation Army. In 1973 he, Zayd and Assata Shakur were stopped by New Jersey state troopers. Zayd Shakur was killed, while Assata was wounded and taken into custody. One state trooper was killed during the incident and another injured. Sundiata was later captured and sentenced to life plus 30 years in a politically charged and biased trial. We will also send birthday cards to political prisoners with birthdays in September: Leonard Peltier (the 12th) and Maumin Khabir (the 15th).

Never written a letter to a prisoner before? No Problem! Join us at Clark Park (stone platform near 45th and Chester) and we will go over some of the basics and have all the letter-writing supplies and snacks available.

If you are unable to make the event, please send your solidarity to Sundiata at:

Sundiata Acoli (Squire) #39794-066
FCI Cumberland
P.O. Box 1000
Cumberland, MD 21501

Monday July 26th: Letter-writing for Ronald Reed

from Philly ABC

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Join us in Clark Park this coming Monday for the next letter-writing event. Snacks and materials will be provided! We will be writing letters to extend our solidarity to Ron Reed, long-time civil rights activist and Black revolutionary who is fighting his conviction for which he was framed and given a life sentence. His birthday is August 31st, so if you are writing to him from home, please send him birthday greetings as well.

Ron is a former 60s civil rights activist. In 1969, Reed was among the students at St. Paul Central High School who demanded Black history courses and organized actions against racist teachers. He was also instrumental in helping to integrate college campuses in Minnesota. During this period, Reed began to look toward revolutionary theory and engage in political street theater with other young Black revolutionaries in the city of St. Paul.

Reed went on to join the Black United Front. In 1970, he was convicted of shooting an off-duty police officer during a bank expropriation and served 13 years in prison. Twenty-five years later, Reed was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder after having a cold case of another police shooting pinned on him. He is now serving life in prison for the second conviction.

We will also be sending birthday cards to political prisoners with birthdays in August: Eric King (the 2nd), Bill Dunne (the 3rd), Hanif Bey (the 6th), Mutulu Shakur (the 8th), and Russell Maroon Shoatz (the 23rd).

Running Down The Walls

from Philly ABC

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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).

Monday June 28th: Letter-writing for Fidencio Aldama Perez

from Philly ABC

fidencio-aldama-perez.jpgFidencio Aldama Perez is an indigenous Yaqui land defender and political prisoner from the northern Mexican state of Sonora. He was arrested on October 27, 2016, and later sentenced to fifteen years and six months in prison on trumped-up charges related to a death in the community of Loma de Bácum, Sonora. It is believed that he was targeted due to his support for the indigenous community’s opposition to a gas pipeline that was to pass through Yaqui territory.

Before his imprisonment, Fidencio loved playing soccer with his children and the community. His favorite team is C.F. Pachuca. He is a talented singer and musician, playing the guitar, bass, accordion, and flute. He has long been involved in practicing, teaching, and strengthening the culture and traditions of the Yaqui people, including playing guitar in traditional Yaqui ceremonies and participating in communal dances. For Fidencio, his identity as indigenous and Yaqui is extremely important, something he has passed on to his children. His vision is for a Yaqui territory that fully belongs to the Yaqui people and from which no one can be displaced.

Please join us this coming Monday in Clark Park (stone platform near 45th and Chester) for letter-writing and art-making in participation of the international week of letter-writing and artwork in solidarity with Fidencio Aldama Perez!

We will also send birthday cards to a political prisoner with a birthday in July: Gage Halupowski (the 1st).

Monday May 24th: Letter-writing for Ruchell Cinque Magee

from Philly ABC

ruchell-magee.jpgRuchell Magee is one of the longest-held California prisoners who has been dubbed a political prisoner due to his spontaneous participation in the Marin Courthouse rebellion– the famous incident that spawned Black August. He is serving a sentence of 7 years to life for a nonviolent disagreement that landed him the wrongful charge of ‘kidnapping to commit robbery.’ Years later, he happened to be in the courthouse for unrelated reasons when Jonathan Jackson entered to free his brother and Black Liberation icon George Jackson. According to a sworn affidavit from one of the jurors, the jury voted for acquittal on charges from the Courthouse rebellion, however, this acquittal has been obscured and he continues his fight to expose this.

Ruchell is now 82 years old, and has spent more than 58 years in prison. From behind bars, he has been a positive force by helping many people with his tireless work as a jailhouse lawyer. He currently has a pro se motion pending review by the Supreme Court as well as a commutation application to be reviewed by the Governor. He is also parole eligible. Please join us Monday at Clark Park (stone platform near 45th and Chester) as we reach out to Ruchell to connect, offer solidarity, and see what all can be done to free him this year so that he can finally reunite with his family.

Because we are not aware of any political prisoners with a birthday in June, instead of birthday cards we will pass around cards for Palestinian freedom political prisoners: Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, Dr. Issam Hijjawi Bassalat, Khalida Jarrar, Layan Kayed, Ahmad Sa’adat, and Khitam Saafin.

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

Pa. National Guard activated as Philly preps for potential unrest ahead of Derek Chauvin murder trial verdict

from mainstream media

Members of the National Guard stand in guard in front of the Philadelphia Municipal Services Building in Philadelphia, Pa. Friday, October 31, 2020.

Philadelphia officials and community leaders Friday outlined plans for increased emergency operations and law enforcement staffing, while Gov. Tom Wolf activated more than 1,000 Pennsylvania National Guard members to the city in preparation for any potential unrest following the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the killing of George Floyd.

At the request of the city, Wolf signed a proclamation of disaster Friday evening, activating the 1,000-plus state Guard members, to support “the current efforts in Philadelphia to protect our beloved neighbors and city.” The proclamation is effective for 90 days unless Wolf rescinds or extends it.

The activation of the Guard came after city leaders held a news conference Friday, saying they learned from the large-scale racial justice demonstrations and unrest in Philadelphia last spring following Floyd’s death, and have developed a “holistic plan” to address any aftermath of the landmark Chauvin verdict.

“Regardless of what may develop, I am confident that our department is prepared for whatever may come our way,” said Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, standing in front of the Municipal Services Building — a flash point for conflict in 2020, where the statue of former mayor and police commissioner Frank Rizzo once stood, and where a mural highlighting Black Lives Matter protesters was later installed.

Last year, she said, ”while we made missteps along the way, we are committed to moving forward in a meaningful and productive manner.”

Closing arguments in the trial are set to begin Monday, with no timetable on when the verdict may be reached.

A review commissioned by Mayor JIm Kenney found that police were “simply not prepared” for the demonstrations that ensued in Philadelphia following Floyd’s death last May, where short staffing, lack of equipment, and insufficient planning had “cascading effects,” with “inordinate use” of tear gas and other less-lethal munitions by police and “at times, excessive force against protesters.”

This year, the Police Department is increasing staffing and canceling days off to ensure a presence across the city, “to enhance the protection of critical infrastructure, businesses, and neighborhoods,” Outlaw said. Beginning Saturday, the Office of Emergency Management will also be fully staffed every day for the next several weeks, said Director Adam Thiel.

The National Guard — which occupied Philadelphia for weeks last year following unrest after Floyd’s death and again in October after officers shot and killed Walter Wallace Jr. — is not in the city yet, Thiel said, but it is ready to deploy ”if needed.”

According to Wolf’s office, the Guard’s duties may include — but are not limited to — area security, manning traffic control points, and providing security at critical infrastructure sites. Citing security concerns, the office said that specific locations, numbers of troops, and locations could not be discussed.

Outlaw said that police have not ruled out using tear gas, rubber bullets, and other “less-lethal munitions,” but that they would not be fired “against peaceful demonstrators.” Following the tear-gassing of demonstrators on I-676 and residents in a West Philadelphia neighborhood, police implemented a moratorium on the munitions in June, and in November, Kenney signed a bill barring use of such devices “on any individual engaging in First Amendment Activities.”

Police intend to honor the moratorium and legislation, a spokesperson said.

Outlaw said the department would do “everything possible” to avoid disruptions, but that some streets may be closed to traffic.

“Things might look different in your neighborhoods over the coming days,” she said. “You will see officers on bikes, and some officers on foot. Some officers may be on horseback. You will even see some officers throughout the city, along with police clergy, offering prayer, opportunities for healing, and distributing City of Philadelphia resources. There’s even a chance that you will see a Pennsylvania National Guard soldier in your neighborhood. Please remember that they are all here to serve you.”

Officials encouraged residents to sign up for emergency updates by texting “ReadyPhila” to 888-777.

Ahead of the Chauvin verdict, the city will also assist in virtual “community healing circles” for residents to share their feelings and find support from neighbors, said Managing Director Tumar Alexander. He said the city is asking community leaders to hold their own events, and providing resources to encourage healing conversations offer support, and information on knowing your rights while protesting. Additionally, he said, business owners, volunteers, Town Watch Integrated Services, and the Office of Violence Prevention will “passively patrol the communities and commercial corridors … not as law enforcement, but just as citizens looking to engage other citizens and business owners.”

Some community and faith leaders also urged residents to refrain from destroying property in protest.

“We must be ready to embrace the opportunity to dig deeper to end racism, brutality, and injustice, we should embrace the right to protest to demand change,” said Sharmain Matlock Turner of the Urban Affairs Coalition. As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’” Turner added, but Dr. King “also gave us wisdom in our fight for justice saying, ‘Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. It is a sword that heals, which cuts without wounding and nobles those who wield it.’”

“Speak up, protest, but do not tear up,” said state Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.), recalling discussions with city business owners whose stores were damaged during unrest last year, some who never recovered.

In Minneapolis on Thursday, after nearly three weeks of testimony, Chauvin’s defense rested after he declined to take the stand.

Last week, miles from where the Chauvin trial was underway, police in a Minneapolis suburb shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, leading to several nights of unrest. In Philadelphia, protesters marched through the city for justice for Wright, and more demonstrations are expected this weekend.

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.

Monday February 22nd: Letter-writing for Doug Wright

from Philly ABC

doug-wright.jpgDoug Wright left home at age fourteen and became involved in radical leftist activities and anti-war rallies in California. Shortly thereafter, Doug picked up train hopping and made his way all over the country. On one occasion he accidentally found himself in Anderson, Indiana where he met people with a music company that hosted all-age punk rock shows. These folks became Doug’s new family for the next five years.

Doug was then in Cleveland during the Occupy movement and became the target, along with three other activists, of an elaborate FBI setup operation. They were accused of plotting a series of bombings, including that of an area bridge. However the real story is that the FBI, working with an informant, created the scheme, produced the explosives, and coerced the four of them into participating. Doug received the longest sentence of all the Cleveland 4 – 11.5 years.

Doug’s life has been a series of tests, trials, and tribulations. Prison has been no different. He is luckily entering the last year of imprisonment, but his struggle is not over. Because he will be on lifetime probation, he will be unable to travel and live nomadically in the way that he loves again. Please join us in sending some heartfelt messages of solidarity to him.

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 join us on Monday drop Doug a line at:

Doug Wright #57973-060
USP Florence-High
P.O. Box 9000
Florence, CO 81226

We will also encourage sending birthday cards to political prisoners with March birthdays: Joy Powell, (the 5th), Andrew Mickel (the 13th), Ruchell Cinque Magee (the 17th), and Jaan Laaman (the 21st).