A salute to Rev. Edward Pinkney

Left to right: Monica Moorehead, Larry Holmes, Rev. Edward Pinkney, Ralph Poynter, Theresa Shoatz, the daughter of political prisoner Russell Shoatz.

The International Action Center and Workers World Party held a Sept. 30 reception to welcome former political ­prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney to New York City.

Pinkney was framed and found “guilty” of “voter fraud” by an all-white jury. The prosecution claimed this occurred during a recall campaign against James Hightower, the white former mayor of Benton Harbor, Mich. Pinkney was released from prison in Marquette in June, after serving 30 months of a 30-month to 10-year ­sentence.

Pinkney was a thorn in the side of the Whirlpool Appliances Corporation, which laid off many Black workers in Benton Harbor at the end of the 1990s during the deindustrialization period resulting from capitalist globalization.

On behalf of Whirlpool’s interests, the local racist powers that be targeted Pinkney for leading a struggle to empower the blatantly disenfranchised Black community, which also faces intense police brutality.

During the Sept. 30 reception, Pinkney shared his experiences in prison, especially his efforts to teach basic learning skills to his younger fellow Black inmates, ages 18 to 22 years, many of whom were unable to read or do math. His inspiring message to the audience was all about building unity and solidarity inside and outside the prison walls.

Speakers who paid tribute to Pinkney were Ralph Poynter and Betty Davis of the New Abolitionist Movement; Pam Africa from International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; Henry Hagins of the New York City Free Mumia Coalition; and WWP Secretariat Members Monica Moorehead, Teresa Gutierrez and Larry Holmes.

An audio message taped by Mumia on Jan. 29, 2016, was played, in which the internationally honored political prisoner stated that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have admired Pinkney.

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