Maroon fights two battles

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Russell “Maroon” Shoatz, the Black Liberation fighter and self-taught historian, is presently engaged in at least two battles for his life. One is Stage 4 colon cancer, which he has been fighting for about a year; two is COVID-19, which he has been fighting him for about a month and a half.

Given his resilience, resourcefulness and fighting spirit, it’s difficult to say if either of these challenges – or both of them – will prevail.

The 77-year-old has been held by the DOC since 1972, and the DOC isn’t helping his chances as they continue to deny him access to surgery for his cancer diagnosis.

He has since been returned to his cell, but the cell was extremely cold – and guards refused him sufficient blankets.

For several weeks, Maroon was held at a makeshift infirmary in a gym with 29 other men because of the surge of COVID cases in DOC facilities.

His daughter Theresa reports that he has since been returned to his cell, but the cell was extremely cold – and guards refused him sufficient blankets.

The struggle continues. Human rights groups like the Pennsylvania Poor Peoples Campaign, the Human Rights Coalition and the Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration (CADBI) have been protesting in Harrisburg, Pa., calling for release of COVID-positive prisoners like Maroon.

Maroon has over these long decades taught scores of younger men how to read, how to think and how to study. His supporters demand his immediate release.

Send our brother some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, Smart Communications/PADOC, AM 8335 SCI Mahanoy, P.O. Box 33028, St Petersburg, FL 33733.