Scaling the walls: Contact visit with Mumia

Pam-Africa-demands-Philly-DA-Larry-Krasner-release-Mumia-031221-by-Emma-Lee-WHYY, Scaling the walls: Contact visit with Mumia, Abolition Now!
In March, supporters all over the world spoke and showed up for beloved political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal when word spread that he would undergo heart surgery while being shackled to his hospital bed and in infrequent, unpredictable contact with loved ones outside. The calls, the rallies, the noise all of us made helped force PADOC prison staff to take Mumia’s heart condition seriously. Taking action saves lives. Here, MOVE’s Pam Africa speaks out in front of Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner’s office on March 12, demanding he free Mumia! – Photo: Emma Lee, WHYY

by Noelle Hanrahan

“I am here because people stood right with me. I love the hell out of all of them.” – Mumia Abu-Jamal, SCI Mahanoy, in the visit room with Noelle Hanrahan, P.I., J.D., on May 5, 2021

Pam Africa told me the other day that we need “to put our eyes” on Mumia. When I walked into the visiting booth, Mumia said: “Well, well, well! Way to scale these walls!” He chuckled. “How the hell did you get in here?” 

I shrugged and asked: “Since when have walls stopped us?” A hand-to-glass exchange of a high five. Then I said: “I just asked the guard to check for the contact visit that was approved by the Superintendent’s office yesterday, since you have cleared quarantine.” Mumia said, “Okay, let’s start talking and when he comes back, we can move.” 

Ten minutes later, the visit continues without the plexiglass barrier when they let Mumia have a contact visit. After an elbow bump and a hug, we sit down at a table in the entirely empty visiting area of SCI Mahanoy.

First, let me say that Mumia looks great. He has energy. He was smiling broadly under his face mask. He was laughing and explaining how he has another chance to live. He sounds just like Tony the Tiger when he roars: “I feel great!” 

“I love you all! Thanks for being in my life! I am buoyed and lifted by your love and strength! To freedom!”

I could imagine that having a working heart after months of congestive heart failure would contribute to his feeling ready to tackle his rehabilitation. Heart disease can be reversed, though getting the proper diet and exercise will be a huge challenge in a prison known for lockdowns – and a COVID lockdown that lasted a year. 

A long thin scar cuts all the way down his breastbone: The result of a double bypass open heart surgery just days ago. He is a trim 207pounds in a 6-foot-1-inch frame and is now on the path to recovery. He expects to be moved to general population very soon.

Mumia wanted everyone to know that he was aware that the movement made it possible for his condition to be taken seriously and finally accurately diagnosed. Mumia knows that if it were not for the world shining a bright hot spotlight on prison conditions and access to medical care, he fears that he would not have survived. 

I always begin the process of leaving the visit with this question for Mumia: “What do you want?” Mumia’s answer: “I want to find a way to win and find a way to get the hell out of here.” 

“I love you all! Thanks for being in my life! I am buoyed and lifted by your love and strength! To freedom! Love, Mumia” – Handwritten note on legal pad May 7, 2021, 2 p.m., in the visiting room of SCI Mahanoy.

Write to show your support for Mumia: Mumia Abu-Jamal, Smart Communications/PADOC, Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335 SCI Mahanoy, PO Box 33028, St Petersburg, FL 33733.

Note: “Florida” is not a misprint. Letters to Mumia – and all Pennsylvania prisoners – are sent to the mail contractor in Florida and then scanned and printed and given to him. He will receive these in the infirmary and in his cell. Every prayer and letter matters. 

Follow these organizations for continuous Mumia updates: https://mobilization4mumia.comhttps://jamaljournal-movement.blogspot.comhttps://bringmumiahome.comhttp://www.freemumia.comhttps://letmumiaout.com

When We Fight, We Win. 

Noelle Hanrahan is a private investigator, director of Prison Radio and producer and co-writer of the feature length documentary “Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary” (2013). She can be reached at