A broad coalition of individuals and organizations committed to seeing political prisoner and world renowned journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal released from prison will hold a series of events to celebrate his 60th birthday in Philadelphia from April 24 to 26.
The kick-off event on April 24 will be a special program dedicated to the late Black playwright and activist Amiri Baraka, his spouse, Amina Baraka, and the Black arts movement. The ticketed program will feature Cornell West, the Last Poets, Marvin X, Ewuare Osayande, Taina Asili, video presentations from Angela Davis and Mama Charlotte O’Neal, a live jazz band and dinner.
On April 26 there will be a “Sons and Daughters of the Revolution” march from the former Black Panther Party headquarters in Philadelphia at 19th and Cecil B. Moore Street to the historic Church of the Advocate at 18th and Diamond Street.
There, the march will join a Celebration of Life dedicated to the legacies of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Father Paul Washington, Ed Robinson and Marshall “Eddie” Conway. This event will feature Dead Prez, Immortal Technique, Jasmiri X, Dice Raw, a street fair, speakers, information tables, vendors, a health pavilion, and workshops on the school to prison pipeline, women in prison, political prisoners and more. The event is borrowing on a similar Celebration of Life festival held outside the church in 1985.
Co-sponsors of the activities include the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home, the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the International Action Center, the Coalition to Free Mumia (NYC), Educators for Mumia, and the Committee to Save Mumia. Information on all events during the three-day period can be found at bringmumiahome.com.
In December 2011, nearly three decades of relentless struggle on Abu-Jamal’s behalf resulted in lifting the death sentence he had faced since 1982, when he was unjustly convicted for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer. Abu-Jamal was released to general population in SCI Mahanoy where he still faces a life in prison despite ample evidence of his innocence.
That the Fraternal Order of Police is still determined to silence Abu-Jamal is evident in their recent attacks on Debo Adegbile, President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Department of Justice, because of his legal advocacy work for Abu-Jamal. While an attorney for the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, Adegbile provided support for attorneys who successfully argued for relief of Abu-Jamal’s 1982 death sentence due to erroneous instructions given to the jury by the prosecutor.
However, the FOP’s attacks may have backfired. Not only was Adegbile’s nomination approved by the initial Senate panel, but the publicity surrounding his nomination helped renew attention to efforts to release Abu-Jamal.
Minister of Confrontation for the MOVE organization, Pam Africa, told Workers World: “The power of the people stopped the state from executing Mumia in 1995. Now it’s on us to keep this struggle going and to reach out to young people who were not yet born when Mumia was imprisoned in 1982. We won’t stop until Mumia is home.”