Feinberg gave these remarks at the historic Free Mumia rally, Madison Square Garden, New York City, May 7, 2000. (youtube.com/watch?v=zV4rxNZaF9M)
My name is Leslie Feinberg, and we’ve come with Rainbow Flags for Mumia! We are here today to demand a new trial for Mumia. And we are here to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the family of Patrick Dorismond and all the victims of police brutality here today. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are no strangers to police and right-wing violence.
When Matthew Shepard was murdered, we marched in the streets ten thousand-strong. And we made clear that we were no less outraged over the racist lynching of James Byrd Jr. in Jasper, Texas. Our march was viciously attacked. We were beaten and arrested by the same New York Police Department that lynched our brothers Dorismond and Amadou Diallo.
An injury to one is an injury to all! That’s why we fight to free Mumia.
And Mumia stands with Rainbow Flags! Mumia, from death row, called for unity to stop anti-gay murders. It took courage for him to stand up against gay-bashing. But that’s his mettle. That’s why he’s a leader who inspires so many communities.
Now we must also fight to free Imam Jamil al-Amin, formerly H. Rap Brown. Georgia is seeking his execution — and why? In order to deal a blow to the rising progressive movement.
We must not allow ourselves to be divided. The Jewish Defense Organization tried to shut down this historic event. How dare this Klan-like group, that has bombed and murdered, claim to speak for Jewish people? Let the voices of all anti-racist Jews, of all progressive white people, be heard loud and clear.
For so long the Black and Latinx communities have suffered one police murder after another. We’ve seen mass demonstrations, even rebellions. But more white people need to protest. White people in particular have an extra responsibility to combat every manifestation of racism. We cannot allow the fight against racism to be the sole burden of the Black, Latinx, Arab, Asian and Native communities.
Since the murder of Amadou Diallo, more white people have protested racist police murders. Not enough! But a new day is coming. We can see it. That’s what the government fears. And that’s what they want to stop.
That’s why we must unite as one fist, in greater numbers, in order to deal a death blow to racism, police brutality, right-wing violence, the death penalty and slave labor in the prison-industrial complex!
We who believe in Mumia’s freedom shall not rest until it comes!
Patrick Dorismond was a 26-year-old Black father of two, murdered by two undercover NYPD officers March 16, 2000. His funeral in Brooklyn, joined by thousands of protesters, was attacked by the NYPD. The cops who killed Dorismond were acquitted by a grand jury, which ruled the shooting “accidental.”
Matthew Shepard was a 21-year-old gay college student at the University of Wyoming, tortured and killed in a homophobic hate attack Oct. 6, 1998.
James Byrd Jr. was a 49-year-old Black father of three, brutally lynched by avowed white supremacists in Jasper, Texas, June 7, 1998. Two of the killers were the first white men to be sentenced to death for killing a Black person in the history of modern Texas.
Amadou Diallo was a 23-year-old student and Guinean migrant, murdered by four undercover NYPD officers Feb. 4, 1999. The cops fired 41 shots at Diallo, who was unarmed, and were acquitted by a jury in Albany, New York, after a Bronx grand jury indicted them for murder.
Imam Jamil al-Amin is a political prisoner and former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee chair, framed for murder by police in Fulton County, Georgia. He has been incarcerated since 2002.
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