Saturday, June 02, 2007

POCC report back on Mumia's Philly hearing

by Minister of Information JR
Wednesday, 23 May 2007

This crew of MOVE children was tellin' the people why we need to continue supporting political prisoners like Mumia Abu Jamal, the MOVE 9 and others. This photo was taken on May 17 outside of the Philly courtroom where political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal's fate was being argued by his defense attorneys and the state's attorneys. The MOVE family have been continuously terrorized by the Philly holice over the years, including in 1985 when a bomb was dropped on their house and a total of over 60 homes burned to the ground, killing women, children and animals. Journalist Mumia Abu Jamal covered a number of stories dealing wit' the MOVE 1978 confrontation wit' the holice where many of the MOVE 9 were beat and stomped, and one holice died from "friendly fire." And although that was a well known fact, the MOVE 9 have been locked up every since on this trumped up murder. Free 'Em All!

Oral arguments were heard in the case of political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal on May 17 in a Philadelphia courtroom filled to its 250-person capacity. In the hot sun outside the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, hundreds of people rallied, awaiting news about what was going on behind the judicial closed doors.

Well known people like former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney were walking around doing interviews, Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. was helping Pam Africa and her crew to keep the rallying crowd organized, while a group of about seven MOVE children under the age of 10 were proclaiming through the mic the reason why we were here.

Inside the courtroom, American Indian Movement member and author Ward Churchill and former Black Panther turned lawyer Kathleen Cleaver were among the many supporters of Mumia Abu Jamal who witnessed the oral arguments. The stars of this show were Mumia's two female attorneys, one from the NAACP, whom many inside the courtroom said was razor sharp when it was time to make what could be the last presentation to save the life and free this political prisoner, who has been languishing in a concentration camp for the last two and a half decades on trumped up charges of murdering a police officer.

Political rapper Immortal Technique was the headliner at the "Free Mumia" concert in Philly last week. He has been a continuous supporter of political prisoners across the country.

After the hearing, when the lead attorney, Robert Bryan, came out of the courtroom, he was swarmed by reporters and supporters who were thirsty for news about what went down. He talked for about 15 minutes, discussing the constitutional and human rights violations that occurred during Mumia's trial, including a huge number of Black potential jurors illegally eliminated from the jury pool by the prosecution before the trial started. After he said what he had to say and left, many of the people who were in the courtroom talked about how the three judges hearing the appeal seemed to side with Mumia after scrutinizing the prosecution's case.

Soon after Robert Bryan's presentation to the supporters and the media, the people marched about two and a half miles through the Philadelphia streets to City Hall, wit' hundreds of people of all ages and nationalities led by a flatbed truck, which was the moving stage. One of Mumia's daughters, the rapper Goldie-Locks, spoke and rhymed about the case and the reasons why we should continue to support Mumia and other political prisoners, while her sister kicked back and physically assisted her.

A number of young people who work with the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal led chants between the different speakers. One of the more notable ones was a sista from South Africa, who did spirited "Free Mumia" chants accompanied by what I call the "Soweto Stomp," which was the stomp that accompanied many South African chants in their struggle against apartheid.

Reaching our destination, we marched along the street where City Hall is on one side and a construction site on the other. As the crowd passed the construction site, the mostly white construction workers starting throwing rocks and bricks at the people and putting up signs that said "Kill Mumia."

Mumia rally Philly Mumia's daughter GoldieLocks 051707 by JR.jpg CAPTION #3: Goldilocks, daughter of political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, was on the back of a flat-bed truck stage talkin' and rappin' about her father's case during a march through the streets of Philly from the courthouse to City Hall on May 17 after oral arguments in Mumia's case.

Pam Africa, the uncompromising chairwoman of the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal, got on the mic and told the people that "we're not no muthafucking pacifists" among other things and told the holice who were escorting the march that they better get involved or the people will address these construction workers in whatever fashion that we see suitable. After a few minutes, the whole construction site of about 100 workers was shut down as we continued our rally. Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. was the next speaker and the crowd cheered as he said, "We're shuttin' down construction sites today, and systems tomorrow."

As the rally settled on the steps of City Hall, former political prisoner Ramona Africa, who survived the MOVE house bombing in `85, told the crowd not to get lax because of what happened in court, because many times the judges act like they are on our side, but when the judgment comes down, their rulings support the prosecution.

As the day came to an end, many of the organizers traded notes on what we were going to do in the next 45-90 days, which is the time allotted for the three judges to come wit' a decision. I definitely want to give a People's Salute to all of the people who came out there to souljah on behalf of political prisoner and revolutionary journalist Mumia Abu Jamal. Stay tuned to the Bay View for more updates.

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