by Wanda Sabir
Mumia Abu-Jamal: An Evening for Justice and Freedom, presented to a full house at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave. in Oakland on April 6, opened with special greetings from Dr. Ula Taylor, chair of the African-American Studies Department at UC Berkeley and attorney Stephen Bingham, former president of the National Lawyers Guild.
It was perhaps the familiarity with which we find ourselves still in the room without Mumia that added what Alice Walker called a certain sadness to the assembly. Why isn’t Mumia free?
Jeff Mackler, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, served as host for the evening, peppering the introductions with amusing personal notes that showed how long he and, by extension, all those on the panel and perhaps quite a few in the room had been doing social justice work. Mumia Abu Jamal is the catalyst; however, the injustice that his case and life illustrate certainly began long before he was a celebrity journalist and prisoner.
Mumia Abu-Jamal sent a taped message of introduction to the panelists which Prison Radio played for all of us. His attorney, Judith Ritter, gave a wonderful update on his case and an overview in what she called the case of two judges.
She was followed by Pam Africa, minister of information for MOVE and chair of Friends and Family of Mumia Abu Jamal, who has dedicated decades to spreading support for Mumia worldwide.
Alice Walker spoke about her first visit to see Mumia and the absurdity of the prison system. Angela Y. Davis wrapped up a wonderful evening, which raised over $1,000 to help with Mumia’s legal fees now that his counsel can appeal. Checks should be made payable to Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu Jamal, P.O. Box 10328, Oakland, CA 94610. Visit http://www.free-mumia.org/.
Bay View Arts Editor Wanda Sabir can be reached at email@example.com. Visit her website at www.wandaspicks.com throughout the month for updates to Wanda’s Picks, her blog, photos and Wanda’s Picks Radio. Her shows are streamed live Wednesdays and Fridays at 8 a.m., can be heard by phone at 347-237-4610 and are archived at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wandas-picks.