By WILLIAM T.
(for the ILC International Newsletter)
The November 12 Day of Action in Washington, DC to demand a civil rights investigation into the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal was a big success.
The press conference at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church kicked off the day's events. [See press release and list of speakers below.] The press conference was carried live over the DC Pacifica Radio affiliate. Al Jazeera, the Final Call, and various Black news and independent media also covered the press conference.
It was a powerful and dynamic press conference.
Steven Hawkins, Vice President of National NAACP was not able to make it at the last minute, but Marvin "Doc" Cheatham, Sr., President of the Baltimore NAACP, the country's most active chapter, was there and spoke at the press conference. Also, very significant, Laura Moye, Director of Amnesty International's Death Penalty Abolition Campaign, spoke and gave full support to this campaign.
Suzanne Ross, who moderated the press conference, read the letter from the Socialist Party of Azania [see below] and also referred to many of the key individual and organizational endorsements from Guadeloupe, Brazil, France and Mexico. She also presented a video sent from the Berlin Free Mumia Coalition, which had gathered more than 5,000 signatures in support of the Letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.
Fingolé St.-Cyr, President of the Autonomous Workers Confederation of Haiti (CATH), spoke and mentioned the close to 1,000 signatures gathered in Haiti just since mid-July on the Letter to Eric Holder. (In early July, Brother Fignolé was on an 8-day U.S. tour of the United States along with Eli Domota and Raymond Gamma of the LKP Coalition in Guadeloupe.)
Another highlight of the press conference was the strong participation of Muslim Americans, who pledged their support for Mumia and also raised the need for the labor and democratic rights' activists to champion the cause of imprisoned Muslim activists in this country.
Pam Africa, coordinator of the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu_Jamal, closed the press conference with a review of the case and a renewed call to action.
Following the press conference, a contingent of more than 100 activists marched 10 blocks to the Department of Justice. There, they presented to a representative of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice the 25,000 endorsements gathered in support of the petition for a civil rights investigation into the case of Mumia. The Free Mumia Coalition coordinators also explained the purpose of this undertaking.
Suzanne Ross, one of the event's organizers, told this reporter that one of the next steps in this campaign will be to organize a meeting in Washington, DC between Attorney General Eric Holder and a broad-based international delegation speaking on behalf of the Mumia campaign and the demand for a civil rights investigation into Mumia's case. Ross said that she has been in touch with the office of Thomas Perez, head of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, who said that such a meeting could be arranged.
Ross continued: "We've been told that the Justice Department and the Obama are not going to touch this case at this time. Well, we intend to make it clear that Obama and Attorney General Holder have to heed the will of millions of people worldwide who are demanding a civil rights investigation into Mumia's case. At this critical moment, a civil rights investigation could mean the difference between life and death for Mumia. It could also open the door for his release."
Supporters of Mumia the world over are urged to keep in close touch with the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition in New York City. They can be reached at:
FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL COALITION
P.O. BOX 16, COLLEGE STATION * NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10030
Hotline: 212 330-8029 * Web Site: www.freemumia.com
INTERNATIONAL LIAISON COMMITTEE
P.O. Box 40009
San Francisco, CA 94140