Four of us made a trip to Philadelphia on Tuesday for Mumia Abu Jamal’s hearing.
If you are not familiar with the case, Mumia is a former Black Panther, general social justice advocate, and journalist known the world over. He was framed in the early 80′s for shooting and killing a police officer. Even though there is astounding evidence that Mumia did not commit this crime, he remains incarcerated and waiting on death row. Mumia has gone through two trials in the last 30 years, but both have proven to be unfair. Many believe this is an instance of racism and a case of higher government trying to silence the voice of a prominent activist.
So we arrived in Philly, and were some of the first few people to show up at the courthouse. It was close to 11 and already the streets were lined with all types of police vehicles awaiting the mass of angry protesters. Pretty soon things picked up and people stood in a line to enter the courthouse for the trial. None of us were particularly interested in actually viewing the trial, because we would rather give that opportunity to direct friends and family of Mumia. Also, being forced to be silent and crammed into a small room surrounded by cops makes us uneasy.
We happily stood outside with about 200 others and screamed to all of Philadelphia to set Mumia Abu Jamal free. There were many speakers, a couple of whom I was especially excited for were two men I recognized as original Black Panther Party leaders. They were surrounded and protected by a newer, younger, local Black Panther group. It was heartening seeing so many people from different places and all of them screaming continuously for three hours.
There is nothing like screaming “Fuck the police!” with a large diverse group of people. (more…)