Meeting honors political prisoners & POWs
Published Jan 22, 2011 10:54 AM
The 15th Annual Dinner Tribute to the Families of our Political Prisoners and
Prisoners of War was held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Center in New
York City on Jan. 15. This year’s theme was “Fanning the Flames of
Liberation: Educating Our Community About Our Freedom Fighters!”
The families of nine political prisoners/prisoners of war were presented and
honored, including one of Malcolm X’s daughters. They were saluted for
their courage and sacrifices to the struggle for self-determination and
The dinner tribute was sponsored by the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee and
activists in Service Employees union Local 1199. The program included libation,
cultural presentations and speakers from the committee and from former
political prisoners. Keynote speakers were 2008 Green Party vice presidential
candidate Rosa Clemente and Jihad Abdul-Mumit, Jericho Movement national
chairperson and former prisoner. Moderator was Brother Zayid Muhammed.
Among statements read was one from Herman Ferguson, former prisoner, co-founder
of the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee and original member of Malcolm’s
Organization of Afro-American Unity.
Participants observed a moment of silence for prisoners who committed their
lives to the struggle and died in prison. Most of the prisoners being honored
have been in jail for more than 35 years and are scheduled to never be reunited
with family or friends. Some are serving life sentences for fighting for a
better world, a world without racism and oppression.
Speakers stressed the importance of coalition building, collaboration and
strengthening the movement, as well as the need to expand outreach nationally
and internationally. Plus the need to find more effective ways of fighting the
system. The National Jericho Movement circulated a petition calling for
congressional hearings on the legacy and continuing impact of the FBI’s
illegal counterintelligence program known as Cointelpro.
The meeting acknowledged several political prisoners who had been imprisoned
for more than 35 years and denied parole. At the same time, speakers pointed
out that the New York state parole board released Malcolm X’s convicted
killer this past April after he served the last 20 years in a work-release
Also mentioned was that Mumia Abu-Jamal was denied a crucial Supreme Court
hearing and that a biased propaganda film against Mumia, “From the Barrel
of a Gun,” has been made. A progressive film, “Justice on
Trial,” addressing evidence and issues relating to violations of
Mumia’s constitutional rights has also been produced.
Among those honored was people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart, now serving 10
years, as well as her family. A moving statement from Stewart was read by Rosa
All those present were encouraged to write and visit prisoners being held
throughout the U.S. criminal injustice system to let them know they’re
not forgotten. To become involved, visit TheJerichoMovement.com or email
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