December 9, 2004
Task force formed to support Mumia
Call for a national and international day of action on April 23,
the day before Abu-Jamal's 51st birthday
By LeiLani Dowell
The struggle to free Mumia Abu-Jamal continues, with renewed ardor and energy. On Oct. 2, a meeting was held in New York to found the National Task Force to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal is a political prisoner and death row inmate who, in the 22 years of his incarceration, has consistently spoken out against U.S. imperialism and the war and racism that it manifests.
A sense of urgency was expressed at the meeting around providing as much support and solidarity as possible to Abu-Jamal in this period. A stay of proceedings was recently lifted on his appeal process before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit. Because of the lifting of the stay, it is expected that the case will now move through the courts at a quicker pace. Abu-Jamal's lawyers are challenging a number of issues with regard to his conviction, including the exclusion of Black jurors from Abu-Jamal initial trial, as well as bias shown by racist remarks made about him by the presiding judge at that trial, Albert Sabo.
A number of initiatives were set forth at the October meeting, including a new internet campaign, op-ed pieces and national speaking tours, as well as a national and international day of action on April 23, the day before Abu-Jamal's 51st birthday. The Task Force intends to work closely with International Concerned Family and Friends and meet regularly to respond to as many developments as possible involving his case.
Task force participants include ICFFMAJ leader Pam Africa; Robert Meeropol, Rosenberg Fund for Children; Sundiata Sadiq, past president, Ossining, N.Y., NAACP; Robert R. Bryan and Steven Hawkins, part of Mumia's legal team; Jeremy Syrop, Free Mumia Coalition NYC youth coordinator; Iyaluua Ferguson, Malcolm X Commemoration Comm.; Heidi Beghosian, Dir., National Lawyers Guild; Linda M. Thurston, social justice activist; Monica Moorehead, Millions for Mumia and International Action Center; Herman Ferguson, Jericho Amnesty Move ment; Anne Lamb, Peoples Video Network; Frank Velgara, Latinos por Mumia; Suzanne Ross and Gwen Debrow, co-chairs, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition, NYC; Clark Kissinger, Refuse and Resist; Michael Tariq Warren, former member Mumia's legal team; Mark Taylor, Educators for Mumia and Princeton Theological Seminary; Iglesia San Romero de las Américas-UCC, NYC; Frances Goldin, Mumia's literary agent; Cleo Silvers, Labor for Mumia; attorney Leslie Jones and Jason Corwin, upstate New York reps., ICFFMAJ and Native Youth Movement; and Jeff Mackler, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal.