April 2000

Students at Antioch invite Mumia to speak at graduation ceremony

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) launch a harassment campaign

The graduating class at Antioch College in Yellow Spring, Ohio, is coming under heavy pressure from police groups and other right-wingers after these racist forces learned Mumia Abu-Jamal was invited to speak at the school's April 29 commencement ceremony.

An Associated Press article about the students' choice appeared in newspapers around the country in late March, prompting the Fraternal Order of Police-which openly campaigns for Abu-Jamal's execution-to launch a harassment campaign.

Teishan Latner, a member of the Antioch Commencement Committee, said, "We've been getting hit with hundreds of hate-type calls and e-mails from cops and conservatives all over the country."

The students are asking for solidarity messages to show they have support around the United States and the world.

The students chose Abu-Jamal to give an audio-taped speech at the graduation ceremony because they want to publicize his fight for a new trial. Also invited to speak is Leslie Feinberg, trans activist and co-founder of Rainbow Flags for Mumia, who will appear in person.

Leslie Feinberg said: "The struggle at Antioch is a critical one for the Free Mumia movement, just like Evergreen College was last year. We must rally to defend the right of political prisoners like Mumia to speak to the youth, and of youth and students to organize for justice. We must work to support these heroic students as we build for the national May 7 action at Madison Square Garden."

A statement from the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement read: "We join with you in demanding a new trial for brother Mumia. By adding your voice to his, the graduating class at Antioch is standing tall in the fight for social justice.

"Your actions today are in the spirit of the Illinois students who investigated those cases that led to the freeing of 13 innocent death-row prisoners in that state, and ultimately to a moratorium on executions there."

Messages of support can be emailed to talatner@aol.com.

 

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