Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Flood the D of J phones demanding a civil rts investigation, & sign petitions

Tomorrow is call-in day to the Department of Justice Day. We've actually decided to do it once a week between now and April 26 when we are going to Washington. Every Thursday will be call-in day, and we will remind you. Leave a message on the Department of Justice Hotline: 202-353-1555. If the line is busy or does not respond, call 202-514-2000 and tell them what you're calling about.

Demand a Civil Rights Investigation into the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Sound logical and knowledgeable. Tell them you know the Department of Justice has jurisdiction to conduct a civil rights investigation when egregious violations of civil rights occur. Also, explain that Mumia never got a fair trial, and that there is extensive evidence of police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct as well as exentsive evidence of Mumia's innocence that was systematically excluded by the courts from the record.

Keep those letter/petitions going as well. You can sign online,, or have a hard copy e-mailed to you if you request that. Get others to sign too. We need all this pressure to fight this uphill battle for justice for Mumia. Free Mumia! Free 'em All!

Save Monday, April 26, to be with us in Washington, DC!

Letter to Eric Holder for Civil Rights Investigation of the Case of MUMIA!

From Sis. Pam Africa:

Campaign for a Civil Rights Investigation of the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal
P.O. Box 16, College Station, New York, NY 10030

February 19, 2010

Pam Africa, 215-476-8812
Dr. Suzanne Ross, 917-584-2135

Attorney General Eric Holder
Cc: Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder:

We write to you about the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. We are sure you know quite a bit about this case and about the person behind the “case.” As you probably have heard, we are asking the Department of Justice to review the extensive history of civil rights violations in this case, dating back to even before there was any issue of a crime involved, to the present day. We are eager to meet with you to discuss these violations. An international delegation will be available to meet with you on Monday, April 26. We certainly hope that it will be possible for you to arrange to see us at that time. By the beginning of April, we will provide you with a legal brief addressing the issues involved.

This letter, and the request we are submitting for a meeting, is our second approach to the Department of Justice in the past few months. Last November 12, we delivered approximately 20,000 letters (online and in hard copy) to the Department of Justice after holding a press conference at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. Henry Louis Gates, Jr, Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Charles Rangel, Ruby Dee, Angela Davis, and Alice Walker were among the signers. We delivered the letters to the Department of Justice spokesperson, Alejandro Mijar. We explained to Mr. Mijar why we are calling for a civil rights investigation into Mumia’s case and also conveyed to him that we hoped to meet with you when we next came to the Department of Justice. This exchange with an official from the department was arranged by telephone by Dr. Suzanne Ross in conversation with the Office of the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Thomas E. Perez, through his secretary, Nathaniel Gamble.

We wish to return in April with many of us listed below as well as other national and international leaders representing unions, anti-death penalty groups, religious, legal, and human rights organizations. On April 26 we will explain the police, prosecutorial, and judicial patterns in this 28 year legal case that could hardly be said to represent the law but rather the lack of law. Clearly this is a very political and highly charged case. As such, the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal cries out for a review of the decades-long history of lawlessness and injustice.

We hope to hear from you in the very near future and very much look forward to sharing ideas about how a civil rights investigation might contribute to establishing fairness and justice in a case where an innocent man, a rather remarkable intellectual leader and visionary, is being railroaded to execution.

We are attaching a number of documents to give you a picture of the issues involved, the work we’ve done to educate people about a civil rights investigation, the support we’ve gotten, and some of the activities we’ve conducted. These are not legal documents. We will submit those in advance of our meeting with you.

Yours for justice,

National Conference of Black Lawyers
The Riverside Church Prison Ministry
Pam Africa, Chair, International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Sion Assidon, member of Moroccan Association of Human Rights, former political prisoner
Alan Benjamin, San Francisco Labor Council Executive Board member; International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples
Patrick Braouezec, former Mayor of Saint-Denis, France; current member of the French Parliament
Dr. Marvin Cheatham, NAACP, Baltimore City, President
Sister Empress Phile Chionesu, Founder and President General of the Original Million Woman March and Universal Movement, Philadelphia, PA
Michael Coard, Esq., Philadelphia, PA
Martha Conley, Esq., Pittsburgh, PA
Mireille Fanon-Mendes France, Chairperson, Frantz Fanon Foundation, Member of International Association of Democratic Lawyers
Larry Hales, Students and Youth for Mumia
Leslie Jones, Esq., Ithaca, NY
Jeff Mackler, Director, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal (San Francisco)
Nada Khader, WESPAC Foundation
Cynthia McKinney, Former Congressional Representative, Atlanta, GA
Suryea Peterson, Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Non-Violence, Board member
Dr. Suzanne Ross, Co-chair, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC)
Sundiata Sadiq, Ossining NAACP, former President
Fignole St. Cyr, Autonomous Unions of Haiti, President
Dr. Michael Schiffman, English Department, University of Heidelberg, Germany
Professor Mark Taylor, Princeton Theological Seminary, Educators for Mumia
Leon Williams, Esq., Philadelphia, PA

List of Attachments

Mass Grassroots Letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Congressional Black Caucus Letter to Attorney General Janet Reno, June 30, 1995
Statement by Martin Luther King, III 1999
Article by Hans Bennett, San Francisco Bay View
Article by Linn Washington, This Is No Victory, March 2008
NAACP Press Conference, July 2009
Julian Bond Statement on Democracy Now!, June 2009
Article by Linn Washington, Wrongs in Civil Rights Underlying Abu-Jamal Conviction, August 11, 2009
Final Call Article by Saeed Shabazz, October 30, 2009
November 12, 2009, Press Conference in Washington, DC
Final Call Article by Askia Muhammad, November 2009
Article by Linn Washington, Cracks in Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Case, December 10, 2009
Article by Linn Washington, The Mumia Exception, February 11, 2010


THINK * DECIDE * ACTJoin Educators for Mumia (EMAJ)

at for

Introductions to Mumia's Case: Urgent Updates
Perspectives on Mumia by Teachers and Published Scholars
The Educators List of 1,000 Teachers Supporting Mumia
Selected Columns by Mumia: Links to additional Mumia Sites

Complete the form below and send to EMAJ, c/o Mark Taylor, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, NJ 08540, or by email to

Your name
Email address
Regular address
Phone number

*EMAJ - one way to participate in the broader movements for Mumia Abu-Jamal

Videos: Feb. 13, 2010 Int'l teach-in says: FREE MUMIA

From Hans Bennett:
Check out this excellent video report from the Feb. 13 event for Mumia in Philadelphia.

Special thanks to Peoples Video Network for all the time and energy put into this.

Link here to watch all the videos:

JR victory, victory for all of us! All charges dropped!

Fantastic News, our victories are few and far between!

Join POCC Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. and Pam and Ramona Africa for a Power to the People Victory Celebration tonight, Monday, Feb. 22, 6:30 p.m., Black Dot Cafe, 1195 Pine St., West Oakland - YOU are invited!

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz - Malcolm X - taught us, "Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression." Though Malcolm was taken from us physically 45 years and a day ago, his spirit lives on ... in the people, in YOU, who have kept the faith in a young freedom fighter.

Today at the Alameda County Courthouse, made famous by the "Free Huey!" rallies held on the steps by the Black Panther Party, all charges were dismissed against POCC Minister of Information JR Valrey, producer of the film "Operation Small Axe" about the movement for justice for Oscar Grant and of Block Report Radio and associate editor of the SF Bay View newspaper. The crowd that packed the courtroom included Prisoners of Conscience Committee Fred Hampton Jr., Pam Africa of the Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Ramona Africa of the MOVE organization and a host of Bay Area activists.

This victory belongs to the people, all of you who attended endless hearings over the past 13 months; donated to his legal defense fund and to send his team earlier this month to Haiti and to help him support his family as the camera he used to earn a living languished in the Oakland Police Department property room - it's still there; recorded rap songs to keep the issues alive on the streets; and wrote and relayed a million messages through cyberspace. Special thanks and the greatest respect is due Marlon Monroe, the young Black lawyer who has provided JR with a brilliant defense.

Minister of Information JR is the critic the Oakland PD most fears; for years he has covered their war against the Black community as other media cowered in silence. On Jan. 7, 2009, as JR was covering the first Oakland Rebellion following the New Year's execution of Oscar Grant, the police grabbed the chance to put him away for a long time. He'd just left an impromptu press conference at the door of City Hall, where Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums sought refuge from reporters' questions - the most pointed coming from JR.

As he walked away from City Hall reviewing the photos he'd just taken on his camera viewer, he was suddenly tackled by cops who nearly broke his leg. Two National Lawyers Guild legal observers, who happened to be nearby, saw that the charge the police pulled out of thin air - felony arson of a trash can - was ridiculous, as he had no matches, no lighter or any other means of setting anything on fire.

Nevertheless, he was the only one of the dozens of journalists covering the rebellion who was arrested and one of only three of the 105 people arrested to be charged with a felony. Currently, only one other defendant, punk rock artist Holly Works, still faces charges. Her trial is set for March 1. Readers are urged to pack the courtroom so that her charges, too, will be dismissed.

It is the people's refusal to abandon or forget about JR's case that must have convinced the Oakland PD and DA that prosecuting him was - instead of demonizing him - making him a rallying point. They must have realized that imprisoning him would not silence him any more than death row has silenced Mumia, who, before he was framed for killing a cop, was beloved on the streets of Philly the way JR is beloved on the streets of Oakland as the "voice of the voiceless."

"Wednesday, just hours before JR was arrested, his Block Report interview with Donald Wiggins, a cousin of Oscar Grant, was broadcast on KPFA's Hard Knock Radio," I wrote shortly after JR's arrest to give readers a taste of his everyday work. "As always, the interview reveals facts and perspectives never voiced to mainstream journalists, who are not trusted by the Black community because, unlike JR, they don't come from the Black community.

"'He (Oscar) lay there (on the BART platform) for about 30 to 45 minutes,' said Oscar's cousin, describing the immediate aftermath of the shooting. 'So it was really inevitable for him not to be revived at the hospital.' 'They let him stay on the platform of the BART for 30 to 45 minutes?' asked JR. 'Yes,' responded Oscar's cousin, 'while they tried to confiscate phones and video and every other thing to cover it up.'" Listen to this and other riveting interviews on JR's website,

When for a week following Oscar Grant's execution and still that night of Jan. 7, Mayor Dellums refused to join the people's demand that killer cop Johannes Mehserle be arrested and charged with murder or to make a statement of any kind, rage turned a rally into a rebellion. An explosion of young people of all races and classes confronting cops in riot gear nose to nose, jumping on a police car and breaking a few downtown store windows - yet hurting no one and stealing nothing - blared across TV screens around the country.

"JR adds," I wrote following his first phone call to the Bay View after his arrest, "that it's the consensus on the streets that all the police on the Fruitvale BART platform at 2 a.m. New Year's are responsible, at least as accomplices, in taking the life of Oscar Grant. All of them should be charged and tried. He also urges readers to hold the BART board and Mayor Dellums to their promises to compensate businesses for damage inflicted on their property Wednesday."

Those remain goals we all need to unite and fight for. Our work is far from over. Killer copy Mehserle's trial begins in Los Angeles June 7, and the crowds at the courthouse must grow exponentially to ensure his conviction. JR is planning right now to return to Haiti as soon as possible with an even larger team to bring help and hope as our U.S. government deliberately starves and denies shelter and medical care to hundreds of thousands of Haitians in the rainy season that's turning their world to inedible, disease-ridden mud.

So to summon the courage to strengthen the struggle and mow down the obstacles in our way, let's celebrate at the Black Dot tonight. Today the power of the people prevailed. Let's keep the victories rolling.

Mary Ratcliff, editor

To reach the Bay View, email or call (415) 671-0789.