Saturday, November 29, 2008

Benefit for WBAI and Pacifica Radio Sponsored by Long Island Friends of WBAI

Sunday, December 14
Breakfast: 9:30am / Film: 10:30am/
Followed by PANEL DISCUSSION with distinguished guests
IN PRISON ALL MY LIFE: The Mumia Abu-Jamal Story

$25 All Tickets
Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office during theatre hours or by calling Brown Paper Tickets toll free at 1-800-838-3006.

The new movie entitled "In Prison All My Life", an award winning documentary about Mumia Abu-Jamal, authored by William Francome, who was born the day Mumia was imprisoned. The screening of the film is preceded by a bagel breakfast at 9:30am, and will be followed by a panel discussion on Sunday December 14, Cinema Arts Centre 423 Park Ave, Huntington.

In Prison All My Life, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and screened at Urbanworld NYC, London and Rome International Film Festivals, tells the story of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on Death Row for the past 27 years in solitary confinement for the killing of a white police officer. Mumia has consistently denied the charge and claims that his trial was deeply flawed by racism. Amnesty International concluded in a report that Mumia’s original 1982 trial was unfair. Mumia had been a highly regarded journalist, and since l982, while in prison, his commentaries have been broadcast on WBAI and l00 other radio stations. A central figure in the film, Long Islander William Francome, became involved he explained “because Mumia was arrested on the night I was born…so I am going on a journey to find out about the man who has been in prison my whole life.” Highlights of the film are the startling recently discovered Dec. 9, 1981 crime scene photos as well as a first time interview with Mumia’s brother, Billy Cook, who was at the scene of the crime and who has never spoken since the night of the shooting. He was not called to testify and “disappeared” after that. This is the first time he talks about what happened that night. USA; 2007, 90 min.

Panel Discussion Speakers:

JOHANNA FERNÁNDEZ received a B.A. from Brown University and a Ph.D., M.Phil., M.A. in History from Columbia University. She is a professor in the Department of History at Baruch College. She also taught at Carnegie Mellon University, Trinity College and Columbia University. Her Dissertation was "Radicalism in the 1960s: A History of the Young Lords Party, 1969-1974"

SALLY O'BRIEN is a progressive journalist and media activist. Her journalistic career began in 1980 in the WBAI News Department. She has served as street reporter, Associate News Director, Interim Public Affairs Director, and Executive Producer of several programs at WBAI. She also designed and ran a News Department at WOMR-FM in Provincetown, Mass. She has written for The Nation (magazine), The Guardian, The City Sun, and The Advocate, among others. Currently an audio engineer with UN Radio, Sally also reports weekly to Associated Press "Special Edition" and Maryknoll Radio "Voices of Our World," and is currently working with the Peoples Video Network on a monthly cable program "Activist News." A longtime activist and organizer, Sally does media work on the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal and other US political prisoners, the Jericho Movement and the Justice Committee of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights.

DR. SUSANNE ROSS Clinical Psychologist and Co-Chair of the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition, NYC

More about the film:

William Francome is a fairly typical, white middle-class guy. Typical except for the fact that he is about to embark on a journey into the dark heart of the American judicial system; the tangled world of renowned Death Row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

The connection between these two characters is a simple one, and the pretext for this film, as Will explains:

"I was born in London on December 9th 1981. Over 3000 miles away Mumia Abu-Jamal, a Black Panther and radical journalist, was arrested for the murder of a police officer in Philadelphia. He claimed he was innocent but was sentenced to death and has been awaiting execution ever since. Over the years, he has attracted massive international support from organisations like Amnesty International and world leaders like Nelson Mandela amongst others. I'm now 24 years old and in that time Mumia has become the most famous and controversial death row inmate in America".

Despite his situation, and against all odds, Mumia has managed to penetrate the consciousness of people like Will. Through his writings and his web and radio broadcasts from Death Row, he has become known to many as "the Voice of the Voiceless".

"In Prison My Whole Life" takes us to some surprising places and brings us into contact with some of America’s most original minds. Never-seen-before footage and brand new evidence create a prevailing case for reasonable doubt while exploring the socio-political climate of America – past and present. Angela Davis, Mos Def, Noam Chomsky, Alice Walker, Snoop Dogg, Steve Earle, Amy Goodman and many others take us through a decades-old struggle for equality, fairness and respect that so many Americans strive for to this day.

Mumia’s cause has created a political storm but after the politicians have said their piece, after the court papers have been filed and the protestors have gone home, we are left with a film about a man – a father, a son, an inspiration and a pariah - who faces his twenty-fifth year on Death Row.

Extraordinary though Mumia’s story is, he is only one of 3,350 people currently on death row in the United States. This film allows him not only to speak to us, but also on behalf of those others who cannot find a voice.

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