Statement of the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia and MOVE and “For Mumia with love” by Kevin Price follow below
by Suzanne Ross, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition
Sunday night update from Suzanne: We are going to the headquarters of the Department of Corrections tomorrow morning to follow up on our demand of John Wetzel last Friday that Mumia be provided with independent doctors of his choosing to address his medical crisis. We need to show unequivocally that he is accountable for what happens to Mumia. That is our agenda for the meeting. There will be the usual tug of war as to whether they will even allow us in, let alone see him. But we will be there to demand what is due Mumia: swift, humane and competent health care.
The address is: Department of Corrections, 1920 Technology Parkway, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050. We will gather outside the administrative building at 11 a.m. EDT and plan to go in at 11:15.
To provide a strong context for our demands, we need people to be calling Wetzel all morning. Once again, his number is: 717-728-4109. (West Coast supporters should call before 8 a.m. PT.)
We want to maximize the impact of our visit by conveying that we have thousands behind us, among whom are some well known and prestigious individuals. Please contact me with any big names of individuals, unions, professional organizations etc. that are willing to support our call for proper medical care for Mumia.
We have Minister Louis Farrakhan, former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Congresswoman Yvette Clark, who is the vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, New York State Assemblyman Charles Barron and possibly the Institute for Policy Studies supporting this campaign and are waiting to hear from others through you. Please have them call, but send me any such individual’s name so that we can compile a list. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-330-8029.)
The power and love of the people, so inspired by Mumia, will keep us strong and steadfast in our fight, once again, for Mumia’s life!
Urgent message: We are going back to Camp Hill on Monday, April 6, to follow up with Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel! Join us if you can! Call 212-330-8029 if you can join us. The pressure must continue!
Dear sisters, brothers, comrades, friends and supporters of Mumia:
Yesterday, Friday, April 3, a caravan of about 15 cars coming from Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, D.C., gathered at Mahanoy Prison in a dramatic presence on the road. With banners, signs, videos, interviews and chanting, the prison was well aware of our presence.
We were demanding that Mumia’s family and supporters be allowed to visit him and that Mumia be seen by outside doctors to treat his very serious medical problems.
The prison initially refused to allow anyone in, but with increasing phone calls and our physical presence, they ultimately relented and allowed five visitors to come in for one hour. Though not enough, this was surely a victory and surely a response to the relentless international pressure which continued through the time we were at the prison. After much negotiating and arbitrary changing of rules, the five people did enter.
Their report was very troubling. On the positive side, our people, including Mumia’s brother, Keith Cook, got into the prison and actually saw Mumia, let him know about the worldwide support. They said Mumia’s spirit remains strong; he was completely alert and responsive.
On the negative side, Mumia was brought in in a wheelchair, his blood sugar has gone up again, he is very weak, he has lost an enormous amount of weight, 80 pounds or so in three months, and he is clearly uncomfortable. The diet he is being given is completely inappropriate – and dangerous – for someone suffering from such a life threatening condition as diabetes.
Mumia was brought in in a wheelchair, his blood sugar has gone up again, he is very weak, he has lost an enormous amount of weight, 80 pounds or so in three months, and he is clearly uncomfortable.
Professor Johanna Fernandez, one of the five people allowed to visit Mumia, writes: “His spirit is strong, but his body is in need of urgent medical attention. He needs to see a diabetes specialist (endocrinologist) and a dermatologist, chosen by his family and closest supporters.
“He has not yet been seen by the diabetes specialist and his blood sugar is still fluctuating dangerously. Yesterday, Mumia’s blood sugar was at 336. And in spite of this dangerously high count he was given spaghetti for lunch.
“He hast lost at least 80 pounds; he was very weak and had difficulty breathing at the end of our one hour visit. His skin is hard and black everywhere in his body, except his face.
“He had slurred speech during parts of our visit, was trembling by the end of it, and even though he tried to appear strong for us, he was weak and vulnerable. This was very difficult for us to see, because Mumia has always had a strong constitution, both physically and mentally.
“When we asked how he was feeling physically, he said that he was very ill on Wednesday and Thursday and couldn’t stay awake or get up on those days. Yet he was transferred back to the prison prematurely at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
He had slurred speech during parts of our visit, was trembling by the end of it, and even though he tried to appear strong for us, he was weak and vulnerable. This was very difficult for us to see, because Mumia has always had a strong constitution, both physically and mentally.
“One of the last things he told us was that he believes in the power of the people. He was happy to hear about the out pouring of support.
“But in the end, Mumia is a selfless man. This is why he has become known the Voice of the Voiceless. Unfortunately, his greatest asset – that he is a fighter for those who suffer under the thumb of those in power the world over – is his greatest liability when it comes to his own personal wellbeing.
“He is NOT his best advocate. It is up to us to play that role on his behalf. He is also too close to the situation and too ill to fully comprehend the magnitude of the torture-by-medical-neglect inflicted on him by the state.
“He needs independent, specialized medical attention, urgently. And this is our major demand. We need to step up the pressure and oppose the attempt at state execution of Mumia by medical neglect.”
We need to step up the pressure and oppose the attempt at state execution of Mumia by medical neglect.
We then went to Camp Hill, headquarters of the Department of Corrections of Pennsylvania, right outside Harrisburg. With our banners, t-shirts, sweatshirts and cameras, arriving at about 4 p.m. when they were closing, we were more than visible.
The usual “No, no one is available,” etc. etc. and our usual “We demand that we meet with Secretary Wetzel or his representative now” scenario played out and we did get a meeting. It was a stand up, disrespectful way of meeting with us, but nonetheless we met with the press secretary and let her know in no uncertain terms that we want outside doctors to see Mumia, evaluate and treat him, and that the prison system has so far brought him close to death.
We were very insistent with this one demand: We want outside medical doctors to evaluate and treat Mumia immediately. We said we would return on Monday to follow up on this demand.
Keep calling to save Mumia’s life
Phone calls to Wetzel’s office in particular, but also to SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes should continue as much as possible reiterating this demand:
We demand that outside doctors of Mumia’s choosing be allowed to evaluate and treat him immediately.
Mumia is deathly ill, the prison system has made him sicker and sicker, and it has certainly not shown any signs of helping him recover his health. We, therefore, demand that outside doctors of Mumia’s choosing be allowed to evaluate and treat him immediately. Cite institutional connections if you can. Call:
- Pennsylvania Secretary of Department of Corrections Director John Wetzel: 717-728-4109 or Raemail@example.com
- SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes: 570-773-2158, ext. 8102; call early to get through
In the face of this life threatening crisis for Mumia, caused by the Department of Corrections willfully in yet another attempt to silence Mumia once and for all, the international movement in support of Mumia has been amazing! With demonstrations in Berlin and Paris two days ago, three demonstrations yesterday between Mahanoy and Camp Hill, Philadelphia, and New York, we are surely on the move!
We will be planning more activities and an overall all-out battle plan! In the meantime, we will be confronting Wetzel at Camp Hill again Monday. Please join us if you can.
Mumia is innocent! Stop the frame-up! Free Mumia!
In the struggle with revolutionary love,
Readers can learn more from the stories posted on sfbayview.com earlier this week: “Mumia Abu-Jamal hospitalized in diabetic shock, guarded, family and friends denied access” and “Mumia’s son says, ‘My father is in pain,’ as Mumia is sent back to prison,” where Block Report interviews with Johanna Fernandez and Keith Cook can be heard.
Mumia’s life in danger
Statement of the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia and MOVE
April 4, 2015 – This government has been trying to murder Mumia for 34 years. The power of this movement stopped his execution in 1995 and 1999 and got him off of death row.
Now they’re deliberately trying to murder him through medical neglect and intentional torture. This situation is urgent and couldn’t be more serious.
The power of this movement stopped Mumia’s execution in 1995 and 1999 and got him off of death row. Now they’re deliberately trying to murder him through medical neglect and intentional torture.
Mumia is currently in a wheelchair; two days ago he couldn’t stand up. His speech is slurred, and he can barely hold a bottle of water.
This isn’t just medical neglect, this is a continuation of the premeditated murder that was set in place when Mumia was shot in the chest, was rammed headfirst into a steel pole and was then railroaded through the courts and onto death row. Just two months ago, Phil Africa died under similar suspicious circumstances. We have absolutely no time to waste.
People must treat this as if Mumia’s death warrant has been signed and the execution date is tomorrow, because that’s their intention. They have absolutely no intention of freeing Mumia, and they have no interest in letting him live a long life in prison continuing to be an example of resistance for the world.
They want Mumia dead, and if they can do it by medical neglect they will. The only reason Mumia wasn’t executed in 1995, the only reason he was moved off of death row is because the pressure for justice for Mumia was too strong.
The only reason Mumia wasn’t executed in 1995, the only reason he was moved off of death row is because the pressure for justice for Mumia was too strong.
The only way Mumia is going to live through this attack on his life is if all people step up and immediately demand a healthier diet for Mumia and the ability to have outside medical care. We aren’t asking for anything here that hasn’t been done in Pennsylvania prisons before.
There are diets in place for people dealing with health problems and they aren’t even giving him that. Since he was prematurely taken from the hospital and put back in the prison, where these problems started, his blood sugar levels have been rising because they are only giving him foods like pasta that are dangerous with diabetes.
Their intention with all of these side attacks is to distract people from the main point, which is that Mumia is innocent and shouldn’t have served one day in prison in the first place. The sacrifice that Mumia and the MOVE 9 are making – and that Phil and Merle Africa have already given their lives for – is for the benefit of everyone.
If you don’t act today, Mumia’s death warrant could be carried out tomorrow.
People must stand up and reciprocate that commitment, today. If you don’t act today, Mumia’s death warrant could be carried out tomorrow.
All three organizations – Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition, NYC; International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia; and MOVE – can be reached at info@FreeMumia.com, P.O. Box 16, College Station, NY, NY 10030, 212-330-8029, www.FreeMumia.com.
For Mumia with love
by Kevin Price
April 4, 2015 – Yesterday I rode in a car caravan from Philly to Frackville, Penn. Roughly 50 of us stood on Morea Road in the drizzling rain at the entrance to State Correctional Institution Mahanoy. We held signs and chanted as a delegation of five went in to visit with Mumia.
After the visit, those who saw Mumia gave a report-back. The news was not good. Mumia was in a wheelchair, at times he slurred his words, some estimated that he has lost 70 pounds in recent months. This is heartbreaking.
The state of his health right now is not accidental. The level of incompetence in the handling of this situation is beyond malpractice and points instead to intentional torture.
For nearly three months Mumia has been struggling with a terrible rash, swelling, tiredness. He’s had his blood taken for tests a few times and was never told that he has diabetes.
When he went into diabetic shock this week it could have killed him, easily. That is how serious this is.
Our movement has helped to fight down two death warrants, but the reality is that without proper medical care another death warrant has been signed and the execution date could be today. It could have been this past Monday. For real.
Over the decades, Mumia’s case has shined the spotlight on so many issues and united many struggles. His case has drawn attention to issues of police brutality, the death penalty, mass incarceration, solitary confinement, racism, judicial misconduct, censorship and much more.
The movement for Mumia unifies diverse social justice struggles. The only silver lining to this recent health scare is that hopefully the situation Mumia is in will draw even more attention onto the abhorrent health care in the prison system.
The only silver lining to this recent health scare is that hopefully the situation Mumia is in will draw even more attention onto the abhorrent health care in the prison system.
Mumia has survived two execution dates, three decades of the solitary confinement on death row, and 34 years in prison. He has not only survived; he’s risen above.
He’s published many books, written and recorded thousands of commentaries for broadcast and given commencement addresses. From a cell the size of a bathroom, he’s worked his ass off and created a body of work that most authors or journalists could only dream of. He’s experienced tremendous amounts of hatred, mistreatment and massive campaigns calling for his death.
With all of this, it’s easy to lose the man in the cell. As beautiful as our movement is, as amazing as it is that over decades millions of people have worked to save Mumia’s life, at times, the very movement that protects him accidentally obscures his vulnerability.
On one level, Mumia belongs to the world. He’s a symbol for justice, a beacon of continued resistance to oppressed people. On the other level, Mumia is a man who is fighting to survive day to day under difficult circumstances.
With all of Mumia’s endurance and resilience over the years, I don’t think I’m the only one who has thought of him as a kind of superhero. It seems as if he can take anything and just keep fighting, writing and speaking. We call on him for statements, to write articles, to call into radio shows.
Those are all good things. It’s great that Mumia’s voice is brought into so many events. But now is the time to just give Mumia love and fight our asses off for his survival and freedom.
Now is the time to put Mumia’s work out there more than ever, but to give him the peace to rest and recover. Instead of sending him requests for interviews or things we need from him, let’s send him love letters, poetry, notes about all of the amazing ways he’s influenced us.
Instead of sending him requests for interviews or things we need from him, let’s send him love letters, poetry, notes about all of the amazing ways he’s influenced us.
For reasons I do not understand I have been privileged enough to visit with Mumia a few dozen times. Many people around the world want to visit with Mumia and wait to get on his limited visiting list, and I’ve been lucky enough to remain on his list for a decade.
I am so grateful for that. Mumia is one of the funniest, kindest and most loving people I know. He has a spirit and an energy that makes you want to be the best person you can possibly be. He’s been a tremendous influence on my life.
Since Judge Yohn lifted the death sentence, I think a lot of people have felt that Mumia is safe and that there isn’t as much urgency to get him free. I know many people who support justice for Mumia, who do amazing work around many issues, but aren’t directly involved with work for Mumia’s release.
I propose that now is the time for everyone to actively jump into the movement full force. We must mobilize the way we did in 1995 and 1999 to stop the execution.
We must use all of our energy to immediately demand proper medical care for Mumia and push for his full release. We must use this energy to shine the spotlight on the abhorrent health conditions of all prisoners. Now is the time to show Mumia massive amounts of love, to reflect back all of the attention that he has given to all of our movements.
Now is the time for everyone to actively jump into the movement full force. We must mobilize the way we did in 1995 and 1999 to stop the execution. We must use all of our energy to immediately demand proper medical care for Mumia and push for his full release.
Let’s find any way we can to bring Mumia’s presence into the public forum. Let’s change our Facebook profile photos, wear our t-shirts, pass out fliers, demonstrate and spread the word to ensure Mumia’s health and freedom. He’s given all of us so much love with his example and commitment. Let’s give it back!
Please call to demand that outside doctors of Mumia’s choosing be allowed in the prison to see Mumia and that Mumia be given a healthy diet suitable for someone with diabetes. Call:
- Pennsylvania Secretary of Department of Corrections Director John Wetzel: 717-728-4109 or Rafirstname.lastname@example.org
- SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes: 570-773-2158
Kevin Price can be reached on Facebook. This story first appeared on TruthThroughStruggle. Send Mumia some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM-8335, SCI Mahanoy, 301 Morea Rd., Frackville PA 17932. And contribute to Mumia’s Emergency Medical Fund on Indiegogo at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/mumia-abu-jamal-needs-medical-care-now/x/2761805.