Keep Mumia’s voice alive

The following remarks were delivered by Jamal Jr. during a webinar Dec. 9 to mark the 40th anniversary of the state’s illegal incarceration of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Mumia’s grandson, Jamal Jr. speaking at police headquarters in Philadelphia, June 7, 2020. Credit: Joe Piette

This is not an anniversary of celebration. Today marks the 40th year of capture of my grandfather, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. The oppressors are aware of Mumia’s power. Yes, they were well-aware of that deep-voiced man on the radio. He has a voice that makes it hard to turn down; you can’t change the station. He has a voice that makes you want to hear.

But it’s his intention that makes you want to listen. Forty years ago, the oppressors sought to silence him permanently. They sought to use a kangaroo court presided over by a known racist, Judge Albert Sabo. This racist sentenced my grandfather, a journalist, to death.

Yeah, he was to be executed, but the people fought and held him tight. They supported him in the streets, from Philly to France and back again. And the people pulled and dragged him from the clutches of death row. It’s the people [who] claimed Mumia as their own. The people deemed Mumia’s fate was not to be executed by a corrupt state.

It’s 40 years. It’s your support, your resolve that keeps Mumia’s voice alive. The case and sentencing of Mumia is a catalyst for police violence and a criminal justice system. Like many before and so many after, my grandfather is a victim of racism in the United States — racism that they want you to ignore, racism that they don’t want to confront. The sentencing of Mumia Abu-Jamal is riddled with racism, racism that they can’t erase.

Going forward, we will all fight for the freedom of Mumia Abu-Jamal. If you marched in the streets shouting in defense of Black Lives, you should be in the streets shouting in defense of Mumia. If you are against racism, against police brutality, against white supremacy, against police injustice, you should be for the exoneration for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Because I guarantee you — it’s racism that keeps Mumia Abu-Jamal behind bars and away from freedom. I guarantee you that police brutality thrives off the imprisonment of Mumia Abu-Jamal. I guarantee you that white supremacists are adamant about keeping Mumia in prison.

The power of the people pulled him from death row. The love of the people keeps him sane and keeps him active and keeps him fighting for all of us. And now it’s time for the will of the people to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners.

For the full webinar:

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