Riverside Church commemorates Mumia Abu-Jamal this Thursday
AUTODIDACT 17 | 4/24/2014, 3:37 p.m.
Political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal reaches his 60th physical day this Thursday, April 24, and a few events have been scheduled for this week to commemorate the milestone.
“That’s what’s being portrayed here, the fact that we’re celebrating Mumia’s 60th birthday,” stated Pam Africa, minister of confrontation for the MOVE Organization. “Hopefully, we’ll have Mumia out within the 60th year, based on factual evidence that he is innocent.”
Abu-Jamal’s supporters are celebrating the fact that after he languished in solitary confinement on Philadelphia’s death row for almost 30 years—surviving three separate stays of execution—his sentence was commuted to life in prison back in December 2011. Ever since then, they have hit the next stage in their efforts to bring him home.
“That was a huge victory for the movement to free Mumia,” contended Johanna Fernandez, a professor of history at Baruch College. “We want to revitalize this movement and outline the strategy that’s going to bring him home and link up with the movement that’s going to free other political prisoners and end mass incarceration.”
Efforts are ongoing to establish the urban journalist’s innocence in the case that got him convicted for the Dec. 9, 1981, murder of Philadelphia cop Daniel Faulkner.
“I really wanna urge people to Google ‘Manufacturing Guilt: Mumia,’ and you’ll find the evidence that clearly shows that Mumia is innocent and that this was a frame-up,” Africa said.
Three days of events begin this Thursday with a celebration of life party at Harlem’s Riverside Church at 6 p.m., which will feature cultural expressions by a variety of revolutionary artists, including a Marvin X tribute to hip-hop progenitor Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement.
“The Peculiar Patriot,” a play about the crisis of incarceration, will be performed by playwright Liza Jessie Peterson. Abu-Jamal himself and fellow Black Panther Angela Davis are scheduled to call in live.
Then on Friday, April 25, the “Books & Beats: Free Mumia Edition” fundraiser will be held at Philadelphia’s Black Angel Café at 4414 Germantown Ave. and will feature local poets.
Finally, on Saturday, April 26, a full day of festivities will begin with a Sons and Daughters of the Revolution march from 10-11 a.m.
“We’re asking people to come join us from all over,” said Africa. “This day here is also like a family reunion of revolutionaries who fought these wars and continue to fight these wars. We are all coming together and marching from 19th [Street] and Cecil B. Moore [Avenue] over to the Church of the Advocacy at 18th [Street] and Diamond [West Diamond Street at 11-6:30 p.m.].”
Informative workshops regarding the schools-to-prison pipeline, alternative policing in our communities, freeing political prisoners of war and updates on the demands to bring Abu-Jamal home will be shared.
“There will be a major update on the case of Mumia,” revealed Africa. “We will be talking about our strategy and our work in the next period as we fight to bring Mumia home.”
Buses leave at 8 a.m. from Riverside Church (91 Claremont Ave. at 120th Street), the Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Center (310 W. 43rd St.) and 31st Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues.