These slightly edited remarks were given April 24 at the “U.S. Empire vs. Political Prisoners” webinar teach-in sponsored by Mobilization4Mumia and held in honor of the 66th birthday of political prisoner and revolutionary Mumia Abu-Jamal, incarcerated for 39 years by the U.S. state.
By Gloria Rubac
Greetings from the state of Texas, home to the largest prison system in the United States and the death penalty capital of the country. The executions here in Texas are now up to 658 people who have been legally lynched by the state of Texas.
I want to give my greetings to our brother Mumia Abu-Jamal on his 66th birthday and say happy birthday to you from an activist who grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s. People like Mumia, all the sisters and brothers in the Black Panther Party, were such an inspiration to me as a young revolutionary. Now I read year after year, decade after decade, that some of these Panthers are still locked up. That’s an indictment of this system. It proves the illegality of this system we live under.
And it’s not just the Panthers or Mumia, but our brother Leonard Peltier, the Puerto Rican political prisoners, Imam Jamil Al-Amin. Thank heavens, I don’t have to say the MOVE 9 anymore. But we live under a system that doesn’t give a damn about us and locks up more people than any other country on this planet.
I’m humbled to be part of this teach-in today. And I just want to say to the political prisoners what an inspiration you are. I dedicate my words today to my friend and comrade on Texas death row, Harvey Tea Earvin, whom I met back in 1988 when he asked me to come visit him so he could ask me to witness his execution. Fortunately, he is still alive and I still visit him. Harvey Tea Earvin became a revolutionary activist on death row and formed a group called PURE — Panthers United for Revolutionary Education.
I’ll close by saying what the late Kwame Touré always said: “Y’all, we gotta organize, organize, organize! So free Mumia, tear down the walls, and free them all!”
Rubac is a founding member of the Houston branch of WWP and a contributing editor to WW newspaper.