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Mumia Abu-Jamal’s birthday April 24

Celebrate & build resistance

Published Apr 22, 2009 1:38 PM

Political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal will be 55 on April 24. His family, friends and supporters are observing the day with a worldwide “Honk for Mumia” and other displays of resistance to demand freedom for this world-famous African-American journalist held on Pennsylvania’s death row.

International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal is calling on people everywhere to pick a public site in their area to go to at noon or after work with signs and banners saying “Honk for Mumia” to get the word out that the struggle for justice continues after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal for a new trial.

The week leading up to April 24 is being organized as a Revolutionary Week, around the theme: “We who believe in freedom cannot wait—we educate!” Programs will be held every night featuring information on political prisoners.

In Philadelphia members of the original Black Panther Party will speak on April 20; Robert Hillary King of the Angola 3 will speak on April 22; and former political prisoner Adolfo Matos will be a keynote speaker at the National Boricua Human Rights Network on April 25.

The focus of the week is a celebration of jailhouse lawyers on April 24, with the official release of Mumia’s new book, “Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A.,” published by City Lights. This “more than a book party” event at the Church of the Advocate in North Philadelphia will be held simultaneously with other, similar events around the U.S.

In Philadelphia, speakers will include Pam Africa of the International Concerned Family and Friends; Paul Wright, editor of Prison Legal News; Amin, formerly “Harold Wilson,” the 122nd person freed from death row in the U.S.; Minister of Communication Ramona Africa for the MOVE organization; NAACP Executive Vice President Steven Hawkins; and more. There will also be a program in New York City’s Riverside Church on April 25 celebrating Mumia’s book, organized by the New York Free Mumia Coalition and others.

An important international petition campaign has been launched directed to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that he immediately initiate a civil rights investigation addressing the 27-year history of prosecutorial and judicial violations of Abu-Jamal’s constitutional and international rights. Go to www.iacenter.org/mumiapetition.

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision, ABC’s “Inside Story” engaged in a Mumia bashing session on April 12. Not one person on the program offered a differing opinion. One viewer described it as a “hit and run” on Mumia.

Challenged by Pam Africa to allow an alternative view to be aired, the editor and producer of “Inside Story” responded, “It’s not a news program. They’re a private studio and it’s an opinion program where people can express their opinions.” Africa responded, “When you’re expressing opinions that could result in a man being killed, it’s only responsible to allow those with evidence of his innocence equal air time.”