Celebrating Mumia's 51 Birthday
Political prisoner has spent 23 years, 23 years too many on death row
Harlem, New York
Chants of “Death row, hell no! - and 'Brick by brick, wall by wall, we're gonna free Mumia Abu-Jamal'resonated on the streets of Harlem April 23 with a spirited march in support of the African-American revolutionary journalist and political prisoner. Hundreds of Abu-Jamal supporters met at the Harlem State Office Building, then marched to the historic Schomburg Library of African American History and Culture and wound up at the Salem United Methodist Church for a standing-room-only indoor rally.
The demonstration occurred one day before the 51st birthday of Abu-Jamal, who has spent almost 23 years on Pennsylvania's death row following a first-degree murder conviction for the 1981 killing of a white cop. Evidence suppressed by the courts and the police points to Abu-Jamal's innocence. The speakers and cultural performers emphasized the urgent need to continue building broad, mass pressure on the repressive judicial system to grant Abu-Jamal a new trial.
Rally participants included Pam Africa, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, City Council members Margarita Lopez and Bill Perkins, Herman Ferguson, Nana Soul, Larry Holmes, Brenda Stokely, Camille Yarborough, Spirit Child and an audio taped greeting from Abu-Jamal.
San Francisco, California
Michael Franti and Spearhead held a concert in San Francisco to celebrate Mumia Abu-Jamal's 51st birthday and to demand his freedom. Hundreds of people gathered at Mission High School for the April 24 event, which was sponsored by the Mobilization to free Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Pam Africa of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal and human rights attorney Lynne Stewart were among the featured speakers. Stewart, who was convicted by a Manhattan jury in February of 'conspiracy to aid terrorists,'will face a possible 35 years in prison when she is sentenced in September. 'Mumia is probably one of the finest people to be alive in this era,'Stewart told the crowd. 'An injury to him is an injury to every one of us.'Quoting Bertolt Brecht, Stewart said: 'I always thought that the simplest words must be enough ... that you'll go down if you don't stand up.'Stand up for Mumia, stand up for Lynne Stewart, stand up for yourself.'
-Photo & story Brenda Sandburg