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The MOVE Organization held a news conference earlier this week to provide an update on the health of its Minister of Communications Ramona Africa. She is the sole survivor of the May 13, 1985, MOVE Massacre. Ramona was unjustly charged and convicted of riot and conspiracy, and served seven years in prison. Ramona has been gravely ill for the past few months. Ramona’s despicable insurance company is throwing her out of the hospital in a few days. Please help so she can survive, heal and regain her strength at home. A Go Fund Me account has been established. Please help.
In the early morning of June 16, after nearly 40 years of unjust imprisonment by the state of Pennsylvania, political prisoner and MOVE 9 member Debbie Sims Africa was granted parole and released from the State Correctional Institution-Cambridge Springs. Messaging on Instagram, the MOVE Organization wrote: “Our sister Debbie Africa is FREE! What a beautiful day to find freedom! Let’s keep fighting for our bros and sisters still behind bars — Mike [Sr.], Eddie, Chuck, Janet, Janine and Delbert! The struggle is underway!” This important victory comes exactly two years after Debbie, Janet and Janine Africa were last denied parole in 2016.
ONA MOVE! This is an urgent message about our brother, Delbert Africa. Delbert is experiencing disturbing symptoms that are eerily similar to what our brother, Phil Africa, experienced before passing away in prison. Delbert tells us that he’s having vision problems, he’s seeing spots and he’s also urinating nearly every hour. This system is hell bent on killing off MOVE people and we know it. May 13, 1985, proves that.
We concerned members of the international community call your attention to an egregious example of human rights violations in your respective jurisdictions: the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Specifically, we call on you both, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, to release all relevant police and prosecution files and free Mumia Abu-Jamal now.
Saturday morning, Aug. 19, the day dawned bright and sunny, not a hint of the rain that drenched us the evening before. At 10:30 a.m. when I arrived at Freedom Plaza, there were people with posters and event T-shirts and a brother with a bullhorn. Robert King and Albert Woodfox were there in Amend the 13th T-shirts. King was passing out information about the law – the constitutional amendment – that legalizes slavery. Later on, at the rally, he would conclude the event, which lasted about five hours.
UN-Habitat, the UN’s human settlements program, states that the number of people living in slum conditions is now estimated at 863 million, which was only a couple hundred million less in the 1990s. The Shack Dwellers Movement or Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) is a political group dedicated to the betterment of the urban poor’s living. They strive to organize “a society where everyone counts and where capital and the state are subordinate to society.”
In the spirit of the MOVE conference held May 5-7 in Philadelphia to educate the public about the MOVE organization, I will like to expound on the U.S. government sanctioned attacks on MOVE within the larger context of the FBI’s campaign of harassment, murder, frame-ups and imprisonment of Black revolutionaries during the radical ‘60s and ‘70s, and even today, in an effort to thwart the realization and actualization of Black unity, Black power and Black liberation.
It was an amazing day in Scranton, Penn., with more than 100 people inside and outside the courtroom. Folks joined us from all over the East Coast. The judge, Robert Mariani, began by reading an excerpt from the papers Mumia filed with the court, citing the life threatening conditions he suffered when he was hospitalized on March 30, 2015. The judge referred to those conditions as “serious,” signaling to all in attendance that he meant business.
Mumia Abu-Jamal’s eighth book written from prison cells in the state of Pennsylvania, USA, is a selection of 107 essays that date from January 1982 to October 2014. They cover practically the entire period of his incarceration as an internationally recognized political prisoner. Most of the pieces were written while he was on death row after being framed for the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9, 1981, in the city of Philadelphia.
Why should we care what happened on May 13th, 1985? Because what happened then is a harbinger of what’s happening now – all across America. I don’t mean bombing people – not yet, that is. I mean the visceral hatred and violent contempt once held for MOVE is now visited upon average people – not just radicals and revolutionaries, like MOVE. A free screening of “Let the Fire Burn,” the documentary on the police bombing of MOVE in Philadelphia, takes place on the 30th anniversary of the bombing, Wednesday, May 13, 7-10 p.m., at Omni Oakland Commons.
On Thursday, April 9, 2015, I visited my husband, Mumia Abu-Jamal, at SCI Mahanoy. I saw the photos taken of Mumia during the visit on Monday, April 6, but I still wasn’t prepared for how Mumia looked. Seeing him in the prison visiting room, he was worse. I felt my husband is about to die. He was shivering so hard, I put my arms around him and my head to his chest to hear his heart and to bring some warmth to his body because he said he was freezing. We need to keep up the pressure. Let the warden and state corrections secretary know we insist that Mumia have medical specialists of his own choosing examine and treat him.
Sin Barras organized the Cages Kill-Freedom Rally to save lives after six people locked up in the Santa Cruz County Jail have died since August 2012. The Jan. 24 rally was endorsed by a wide range of local, statewide, national, and international groups, demonstrating that murder and torture is happening in jails and prisons everywhere, not just in Santa Cruz. Stop the abuse and torture in the Santa Cruz County Jail and jails and prisons everywhere!
On Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, Phil Africa, revolutionary, John Africa’s first minister of defense and beloved brother, husband and father, passed away under suspicious circumstances at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, Penn. Phil will never be forgotten and this is not the end. He is dearly missed, but his strong example should inspire everyone to fight harder for the freedom of the MOVE 9 and all political prisoners.
In classic Fox form, the interview with me would not be about the case or about the appointment of Adegbile. In the end, the point of the segment was for Fox to call Mumia “a thrice-convicted cop killer” as many times as possible, and to associate that with Debo Adegbile so as to strategically energize a right-wing agenda against the gains of the civil rights movement – following the same pattern as in their successful campaign to decommission Van Jones.
The Scottsboro Boys have been vindicated, but there are many more waiting in the wings – waiting for justice. It is often said that justice delayed is justice denied. Many years have passed in so many unresolved civil rights crimes and injustices. And if no one is prepared to step up and pursue these cases, we must wonder if justice will ever come.
Oakland may seem like a local anomaly with its big increase in homicides in 2011-12 and the anti-crime hysteria which now engulfs it. But Oakland is just a prime example of the intertwining of crime and criminalization under capitalism, in which the ruling class divides working people one from another and targets particular groups for victimization.
“Long Distance Revolutionary,” the new documentary about political prisoner and prolific writer Mumia Abu Jamal, will have its international premiere in the Bay Area on Oct. 6 and 8 at the Mill Valley Film Festival. There have been a number of documentaries done about the case of Mumia Abu Jamal, but this one puts his life at the center of the discussion.
Mumia’s motion not only attacks his own sentence to “slow death row,” but makes the constitutional challenge to life imprisonment without parole, solitary confinement for death row inmates and solitary confinement in general. Mumia is fighting with and for the entirety of the “incarceration nation.”
Black August is dedicated to freeing all political prisoners and putting America’s night- and day-mare prison system in check. Black August is about making folks inside know we will not leave them to the embedded cruelty of their captors. The need to build more and stronger support for political captives is greater than ever.
On Aug. 8, 1978, the Move Organization’s headquarters was attacked in a pre-dawn raid by several hundred Philadelphia cops and officials. Move members were charged for the assault and are still languishing in prison. The issue is not what the parole board will “decide”; the real issue is what the people will allow.
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