Birthday wish from around the world
‘Free Mumia Abu-Jamal now!’
Published Apr 29, 2010 9:45 PM
Louis Reyes Rivera
reads a poem for Mumia.
Various events took place in the U.S. and worldwide on April 24 to
celebrate the 56th birthday of African-American political prisoner, Mumia
Abu-Jamal. The main birthday wish echoed in each event was a demand for freedom
for the award-winning journalist and former Black Panther.
Known as “the Voice of the Voiceless,” Abu-Jamal has been on
Pennsylvania’s death row since 1982, following his conviction for killing
a white policeman in Philadelphia. Abu-Jamal was railroaded to prison following
a sham of a three-week trial. He has been denied any fair legal redress in the
state and federal appeals courts, where evidence to prove his innocence could
Sue Davis welcomed
artists who participated
in the celebration of
The New York Free Mumia Coalition and International Concerned Family and
Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal have been spearheading a worldwide campaign for
almost a year to press the U.S. Department of Justice to hold a civil rights
investigation to expose a multitude of constitutional rights violations against
Abu-Jamal that could help lead to his freedom.
In Harlem, N.Y., Writers for Mumia hosted a moving program of poets, spoken
word artists and activists. Sue Davis and Louis Reyes Rivera (pictured) from
the New York chapter of the National Writers Union emceed the April 24
Other birthday celebrations for Abu-Jamal took place in Philadelphia; Chicago;
Houston; San Diego; Baltimore; Pittsburgh; Richmond, Va.; Mexico City; London;
and throughout Germany.
Supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal gathered at Houston’s S.H.A.P.E. Community
Center to celebrate his birthday on April 24. The celebration began with
revolutionary spoken words by one of Houston’s leading spoken word
artists, Marcell Murphy, who wrote an original piece for Mumia. After singing,
cake and ice cream, a serious discussion was held about Mumia’s legal
status. People signed petitions to the U.S. Justice Department demanding a
civil rights investigation and vowed to take copies to other organizations to
get more signatures. Then the film “In Prison My Whole Life”
inspired great motivation to act now to help save Mumia’s life. The event
was sponsored by the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement.
To honor Mumia Abu-Jamal on April 24, his birthday, San Diego activists
gathered at the Spacebar Cafe for an evening of tribute and discussion.
Organized by the African American Writers and Artists Inc. and the Free Mumia
Coalition in collaboration with the Langston Hughes Poetry Circle and the San
Diego International Action Center, the program opened with libations to fallen
heroes offered by San Diego poet and activist Sylvia Telafaro, who also led the
group in singing the African-American national anthem, “Lift Every Voice
and Sing.” Gloria Verdieu of the San Diego Mumia Coalition and the
International Action Center welcomed everyone and gave a history of
Mumia’s struggle against the vicious frame-up designed to silence his
The featured speaker on Mumia’s current situation and the political
context within which he continues his struggle was John Parker, West Coast
coordinator of the International Action Center and a leader in many important
struggles against racism and other forms of capitalist injustice. Zola Muhammad
of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee gave an update on Peltier’s
struggle against his FBI-instigated frame-up and asked everyone to sign a
petition demanding his immediate freedom. The evening was also enriched by
offerings of poetry and comments by many of the assembled.