Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Update: Mumia has congestive heart disease and has tested positive for COVID 19

--Mobilization4Mumia Press Release for Saturday, March 6 event for Mumia: Virtual street meeting to demand freedom for Mumia and all incarcerated elders!

MEDIA COVERAGE: March 4 Democracy Now! interviews Marc Lamont Hill: Mumia Abu-Jamal Tests Positive for COVID, Prompting Urgent Call to Release Elder Political Prisoners  II  March 4 KPFA Hard Knock Radio interviews Johanna Fernandez: Mumia Abu-Jamal and COVID-19

As reported by WHYY and the Philadelphia Tribune, during the March 3 press conference at DA Krasner's office, supporters received a call confirming that Mumia Abu-Jamal has now tested positive for COVID (watch the full video from the March 3 event here or embedded above). We await direct communication from Mumia to further update his supporters. Read the entire March 2 press release, which announced the 11am, Wednesday Feb. 3 press conference at DA Krasner's office.


(PHOTO: Johanna Fernandez of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home speaks outside of DA Krasner's office on March 3, 2021. Photo by Jamal Journal staff photographer Joe Piette --view more photos here.) 

--Listen to Pam Africa on Black Agenda Radio: Mumia says he has Covid. "His breathing feels like an elephant sitting on his lungs.”  II  Read the Philadelphia Inquirer article  II  Dave Lindorff article, "Urgent news: Demand the immediate release of imprisoned activist journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal" 


URGENT! Please call these 4 phone numbers now:

SCI Mahanoy Prison: 

(570) 773-2158

PA DOC Secretary, John Wetzel: 

(717) 728-2573

Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner: 

(267) 456-1000; @DA_LarryKrasner

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf: 

(717) 787 2500

Script:

My name is _____ and I demand:

1. The immediate and unconditional release of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has congestive heart failure & has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is vulnerable.

2. The immediate release of all political prisoners.

3. The immediate release of all elders, aging prisoners over the age of 50, people who have contracted COVID, and all others who are especially vulnerable to death through COVID-19.

Write Mumia a personal note:

Smart Communications/PADOC

Mumia Abu-Jamal AM 8335

SCI Mahanoy  

PO Box 33028

St Petersburg, FL 33733 


Alert released March 3, 2021 by Prison Radio:

On Saturday Mumia Abu-Jamal was hospitalized.  When he put in a sick call slip and was seen by the SCI Mahanoy medical staff he was taken immediately to the hospital suffering chest pain and shortness of breath. Diagnosed with congestive heart failure he was given a battery of tests.  It is unclear how long Mumia was hospitalized, but by Wednesday he was in isolation in the prison's infirmary.  This diagnosis of a weakened heart requires careful monitoring and treatment. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Jamal Journal #1 has been released --Fundraising continues for postage and printing Issue #2 (blog post updated on February 25, following completion of the initial 48 hour campaign)

--Please sign our Color of Change petition to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner: Stop Defending Mumia Abu-Jamal's Unjust Conviction


(This is one segment of the original artwork created by longtime Mumia supporter Seth Tobocman to support our petition campaign--Thanks Seth!. It is the centerpiece (pgs. 20-21) of our newspaper and can be viewed on our website here.)

--Please support the Jamal Journal by donating here.
  
(www.bit.ly/JamalJournal) 


The Jamal Journal issue #1 Table of Contents:

The petition to DA Krasner

Pam Africa's Message to the Movement

Johanna Fernandez on Kenneth Freeman

On the Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021 episode of WURD's Radio Courtroom, hosted by attorney Michael Coard, Pam Africa announced the release of the Jamal Journal issue #1, our newly restarted newspaper, last published in the mid-1990s by the uncompromising International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal (ICFFMAJ). 

This week, following Pam's announcement, we raised over $2500 and were thus able to print 10,000 copies of the 40 page newspaper and still have almost $500 left for postage. We want to send a special thanks to everyone who donated, and also to those who could not afford to donate but instead helped to circulate news of the Jamal Journal's release among their online activist networks. Future donations will now be going towards mailing out free copies of Issue #1 and then for cost of printing Issue #2.

By using all-volunteer labor, the Jamal Journal was able to get the most out of supporters' donations this week and put everything we raised into printing 10,000 copies. Now, as the Jamal Journal moves forward, we would like to pay a part-time staffer to work on the paper for 32 hours/month at $15/hour, for a total of $480/month. If we can raise enough money, the $15/hour job will begin in March.

The high-quality of our newspaper is something we are very proud of and we plan to continue making it even better. Our fundraising goal is now to raise $5,000 or more by the end of March. This will provide us with postage for sending out free newspapers, for the cost of printing Issue #2, and to pay a part-time staffer $480 for the month of March.

If you donate $10 we will send you a newspaper as a thank you gift. If you donate $50 or more, we will also send you a gift copy of Mumia Abu-Jamal's new book, Murder Incorporated, Vol. 3: Perfecting Tyrrany (donate here).

We have released the online version to give you a preview of what you will be supporting with your donation. We hope you agree that the Jamal Journal is a powerful resource to help secure Mumia Abu-Jamal's release. Read more about donating at the bottom of this article.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Pam Africa’s Message to the Movement: Please Sign Our Color of Change Petition to DA Krasner! People Power Will Free Mumia!

--Please sign our Color of Change petition to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner: Stop Defending Mumia Abu-Jamal's Unjust Conviction

(The version of the petition at Color of Change contains only the first half of the section entitled "The Evidence of Police, Prosecutorial, and Judicial Misconduct." The full version is printed here.)



(PHOTO: ICFFMAJ Coordinator Pam Africa speaks in support of Mumia at Philadelphia City Hall in 2005.)

Pam Africa’s Message to the Movement: Please Sign Our Petition to DA Krasner! People Power Will Free Mumia

--Written by Pam Africa, the coordinator of the uncompromising International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal (ICFFMAJ)

(View/download a flyer of Pam's Message here)

(Pam's Message was published at Black Agenda Report on Feb. 24, 2021)

Welcome to our first issue of the newly restarted Jamal Journal. We last published the Jamal Journal in the mid-1990s, and today we are excited to launch our newspaper and website (www.JamalJournal.com) at this absolutely critical time. 

Mumia’s health has improved somewhat since he nearly died from a diabetic coma that was induced by untreated Hepatitis-C. After we won a lawsuit against the prison authorities, Mumia finally received treatment and fully recovered from Hepatitis C. 

Unfortunately, the Hepatitis C also gave Mumia cirrhosis of the liver, and this is a very serious health problem that is made even worse by the conditions of his imprisonment. Just this month, Mumia reports that the severe itching, a symptom experienced previously, is returning and he does not know why.  Mumia is 66 and it has now been 39 years since his arrest on December 9, 1981. This is an urgent situation, folks, and we need your help.

The Petition to DA Krasner

The Jamal Journal’s lead story is our Color of Change petition to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, demanding that he stop defending Mumia’s conviction and that he secure Mumia’s release as quickly as he possibly can.

Sign the Color of Change Petition to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner: Stop Defending Mumia Abu-Jamal's Unjust Conviction

--Please sign our Color of Change petition to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner: Stop Defending Mumia Abu-Jamal's Unjust Conviction

(The version of the petition at Color of Change contains only the first half of the section entitled "The Evidence of Police, Prosecutorial, and Judicial Misconduct." The full version is printed below.)


(This is one segment of the original artwork created by Seth Tobocman to support our petition campaign. It is the centerpiece of our newspaper and can be viewed on the website here. Special thanks to longtime Mumia supporter Seth Tobocman!)


Dear Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner,

We, the signers of this petition, declare:

Mumia Abu-Jamal’s 1982 conviction is a travesty of justice, obtained through a combination of police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct, as documented by Amnesty International. Abu-Jamal has suffered from extreme injustice at all levels of the criminal justice system. These numerous improprieties have tainted Abu-Jamal’s conviction beyond repair.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is currently represented by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. We the petitioners are not his lawyers and do not speak for them. Instead, we are the grassroots movement of people united by the fact that we care about the fate of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

We are outraged by the many different ways that racism and institutionalized white supremacy have irreparably harmed Mumia Abu-Jamal’s civil and human rights, and his rights to the fair adjudication of his case. The District Attorney’s continued defense of the 1982 conviction & subsequent appeals process only affirms the longstanding racial injustice that has marred this case.

Today, Mumia Abu-Jamal is in poor health, now suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, the result of a recent near-fatal bout with Hepatitis C, which went unattended until attorneys sued the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for failure to meet his most elementary healthcare needs. Abu-Jamal’s continued imprisonment clearly endangers his health.

DA Krasner, you have the authority to secure the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal. You have secured release of over a dozen persons whose unjust convictions were based on evidence of innocence deliberately ignored through improprieties by police and prosecutors. Abu-Jamal deserves the same level of fairness. If law has plain letter meaning, then please adhere to the 1889 directive from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania that the District Attorney’s Office “…seeks justice only…” Also remember that same Court’s 1959 reminder that regardless of a DA’s belief in guilt, all defendants are “…entitled to all safeguards of a fair trial as announced in the Constitution…” 

Therefore, we respectfully urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to stop defending Mumia Abu-Jamal’s conviction. Please secure the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal as soon as you possibly can.

--The Evidence of Police, Prosecutorial, and Judicial Misconduct:

The racism throughout Abu-Jamal’s case is stark and unmistakable. Please remember that Albert Sabo, the 1982 trial judge, declared his intent to help prosecutors “fry the ni**er,” according to an 2001 affidavit by a court stenographer that was rejected by the Court. This and other egregious examples of overt racism thus form a key reason why he has attracted such wide-ranging support. This support includes the most prominent Black intellectuals of our generation, including Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates, Jr, Michael Eric Dyson, and Marc Lamont Hill. In November, the blacklisted football player and anti-racist activist Colin Kaepernick declared his support for Abu-Jamal. Outside the US, support for Abu-Jamal has come from such luminaries as Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu, as well as the European Parliament, Japanese Diet and the country of France. The widely-respected human rights organization Amnesty International determined in its 2000 investigation that “numerous aspects of this case clearly failed to meet minimum international standards safeguarding the fairness of legal proceedings.”

Before her death, Mumia’s sister, Lydia Barashango said that she and her family suspected Kenneth Freeman was the actual shooter of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner --An interview with Johanna Fernandez


The Jamal Journal interviews Johanna Fernandez, co-director of the 2009 film Justice on Trial and the founder of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home

Jamal Journal:  How did you become interested in Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case and ultimately decide to co-direct your 2009 film Justice on Trial?

Johanna Fernandez:  Although I was not a filmmaker, a moment in the classroom inspired the project. In 2005, I’d started visiting Mumia on death row at SCI Greene in Western, PA’s the Supermax prison, an hour away from Pittsburgh. I was teaching at Carnegie Mellon University, and I started visiting him on the suggestion of Professor Emeritus David Demarest.

In 2009, my work on the film Justice on Trial, accelerated. It was at Carnegie Mellon in 2009 that Mumia first spoke live from Death Row to my civil rights movement seminar. Waiting for the call was a nail-biting experience. And this was Mumia’s second attempt to call into a college classroom, ever. A few weeks earlier, the first scheduled conversation coincided with an unannounced shutdown of the prison’s telephone system. But this time the call came through.

The students’ exchange with Mumia was chilling. And his answer to the final question one of them posed hit us all in the gut. The students asked Mumia to reflect on the significance of his political impact from death row, in light of the travesty of his case. Mumia responded by saying  “I don’t believe in Martyrdom.” This statement still lingers with me today and it strongly influenced the movie we went on to make. 

New artwork by Seth Tobocman illustrates our petition calling for DA Krasner to stop defending Mumia Abu-Jamal's conviction



 Click directly on the image to enlarge it.

This original artwork by Seth Tobocman was generously created to support our petition campaign. Tobocman says to Krasner: “It is because of the work of incarcerated intellectuals like Mumia Abu-Jamal that a mass movement arose for criminal justice reform. If you feel you are part of that movement, we ask you to show Mumia Abu-Jamal the respect he deserves as an elder and predecessor. Show us that it is a new day in Philadelphia. Release Mumia Abu-Jamal.”

Friday, February 19, 2021

From The Archives: “Witness to a Lynching,” Kiilu Nyasha Goes to Philadelphia to Support Mumia and Observe Judge Sabo’s 1995 Courtroom


(PHOTO: Kiilu Nyasha wears her Mumia shirt proudly.) 

(This article by Kiilu Nyasha  entitled “Witness to a Lynching” was first published by the original Jamal Journal newspaper in 1995. View a partial archive of her work here.)

After traveling to Philadelphia the week of August 13th to see about Mumia, I learned firsthand how biased Judge Albert Sabo really is.

Known as a “prosecutor in robes,” and a “hanging judge” who sentenced to death 32 people (only two of whom were white), Sabo was the judge whose judicial errors and misconduct convicted Mumia Abu-Jamal of Murder and sentenced him to death in 1982: A judge who clearly had no business presiding over Post Conviction Relief Appeals (PCRA). 

Sitting in Sabo's court August 15, all the reports I'd heard and read became instantly credible. I’ve witnessed numerous political trials wherein judges were obviously biased against the defense, but never have I seen a judge so blatantly prejudiced as Sabo. In fact, I felt badly for Abu-Jamal's lawyers who have to suffer such humiliation and disrespect in a court of law.