"Every generation should have a moral assignment, and one of ours must be justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal." — Ossie Davis
There is a growing awareness that the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal is a travesty of justice. His case has become the focus of a growing international movement. The issues bound up in this case include the death penalty, racial bias in the US criminal justice system, and the punishment of political dissent. Where people stand on this case has become a benchmark of where they stand on social justice.
The case of Mumia Abu-Jamal is now in the federal courts. This is the year of decision. Hence, a broad coalition has called for a week for justice, September 19-25, to "prevent an unjust execution from putting a stain on society for decades to come." To project the questions surrounding this case onto a national
scale, they are urging all people and organizations concerned with justice and human rights to examine the case, develop plans and materials, take up the issue in their communities, and make plans to contribute to this week of activities across the US.
The week will include a wide variety of national and local initiatives around Mumia’s case, culminating in a day of activities in 100 cities. The effect will be to make the case, and the issues bound up in it, a household word and a political dividing line in the US and internationally.
In the past, there has been national attention when groups and communities took strong action. For example, the Oakland Education Association incorporated a lesson plan on Mumia and the death penalty in the Oakland public schools. Rage Against the Machine held a sellout benefit concert for Mumia’s legal defense. The Longshoremen’s Union held meetings on the case during the working day that shut down ports from San Diego up to Oregon. And Evergreen State College chose to hear a message from Mumia at their commencement.
Plans and proposals for September 19-25 include:
- Programs and actions in 100 Cities
- A national Youth and Student Day for Mumia in hundreds of schools and
- A national "Faith Weekend," in which religious communities take up the
- A national day to wear symbols of support and place Mumia’s picture in
WHAT YOU CAN DO
First and foremost, make the decision NOW to participate, and have your activity listed as part of the national effort. Every group will take the activity most effective in their community — but all hold in common a refusal to become complicit by doing nothing.
Lawyers and law students: Programs at law schools that invite legal commentators to address the questions raised in this case. A national statement by concerned lawyers could be published that week.
Faith communities: National religious bodies send material on the case to their local congregations. Study groups and religious services on the theme of Mumia and capital punishment by major religious groups of all faiths during the week of September 19-25.
African-American community: Bring the issues in this case to Black fraternities and sororities, churches, and the traditional civil rights movement. Ask the Congressional Black Caucus to undertake to hold public hearings on Mumia”s case. Energize the Black media to sound a clarion call against the threat to Mumia.
Campuses and high schools: Programs, debates and classroom assignments. Hang banners and set up a mock death row. Call on campus newspapers to publish background information, and campus and community radio stations to play Mumia’s commentaries. Translate these materials in many languages.
Artists and performers: Build on the "Mumia 911" programs being held on September 11 to create works of art and "imaginative graphic appearances." Hold public readings from Mumia’s books in bookstores.
Communities: Take Mumia’s case into the housing projects, community centers, and basketball courts. Creative acts of civil disobedience, as when people of conscience chained themselves to the White House fence to protest apartheid and the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela.
Press and radio: Place letters and op-ed pieces in hundreds of community newspapers — Latino, Asian, women’s, alternative, lesbian and gay press — in that week. Bombard the US with international support for Mumia. Organize major media appearances and talk show programs.
On September 25: A day of public activities, with everything from silent vigils to forums, car caravans, night time torch-light parades, and demonstrations in 100 cities. Building on the April 24 "Millions for Mumia" mobilizations, we now have the capacity to reach into every community. Our actions, combined with the impact of and the controversy over the entire week of activity, will make Mumia’s case an unavoidable issue in society.
GETTING IN TOUCH
To give donations in support of the Mumia Awareness Week, make checks out to the "Black United Fund -Mumia" w / "September week" in the memo field. Mail to: BUF 2227 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19132-4502
To obtain a list of organizations planning activities for this week or to
obtain the list of cities with "100 Cities for Mumia" activities planned,
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, call 212-924-8585, or send mail to
511 Ave. of the Americas, #186, New York, NY 10011.
To find about Mumia organizing in your area, call International Action Center:
Rainbows Flags for Mumia, Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Two-Spirit, Trans People for
39 West 14th Street
NY, NY 10011.
Contact: Imani Henry or Deirdre Sinnott
Youth and Students for Mumia
39 West 14th Street
NY, NY 10011.
Contact: Vivan Martin, Sarah Sloan, Imani Henry, Andrea MacManus
The New York Free Mumia Coalition, 212-330-8029
Mumia Awareness Week National Number, 212-924-8585; www.j4mumia.org
100 CITIES FOR MUMIA CONTACT LIST
Chicago 773-381-6507; 312-683-5194
Des Moines 515-243-0765
Los Angeles 323-962-8084, 323-653-4510
New Paltz, NY 914-255-7173
New York 212-330-8029
Madison, Minneapolis 651-649-4579
Paris (France) 011-33-14-579-8844
Paterson, NJ 973-278-0919
Pensacola, FL 850-458-5350
Richmond 804-355-6914, 804-358-0236
Rochelle Park (NJ) 201-670-0318
Rochester (NY) 716-436-6458
San Diego 619-616-8574
San Francisco 415-821-0459
Stevens Point (WI) 608-788-0459
Springfield (MA) 413-538-8537
Washington, DC 703-750-2231