By MUMIA ABU-JAMAL
The following message from Mumia Abu-Jamal was read to the Philadelphia demonstration:
I greet you all, and thank you all for coming here today. For perhaps the first time in her history, your presence here today proves that Philadelphia can become a City of Brotherly Love.
We stand today in support of life, in a city that is drunk with the drug of death. We stand in a city that wages a quiet war against the poor, by the wicked withdrawal of resources from them; it is a quiet war which reveals its battle scars in the fractured, shattered buildings that line ghetto streets; the Black captives of this war, shackled and manacled, choke the city’s prisons and jails, men and women who are, more often than not, prisoners solely because of their poverty; for the poor can pay no bail; and the poor can ill afford a decent lawyer.
Thus, prisons become social sinkholes of the poor and rejected, for in this city, poverty is a serious crime.
Your presence here today is testament to the fact that a poor man, like myself, is worthy of your support-and for that, I thank you.
You are standing against the prosecution of people solely for their political beliefs; you are standing against the state that crafts confessions out of whole cloth; you are standing against the state’s capital of death, a city that rivals the death belt of the Deep South in its return of death sentences; you are standing against the corruption of the government that runs on the political promises of death.
We stand today in support of freedom, in a city that boasts more prisoners than some states; in a state that spends more on dungeons than schools; in a state that has criminalized education for the imprisoned!…
What you are doing today is as righteous and as natural as a spring rain! Let us continue doing it! and build! To Freedom! To Liberty! To Life!
Ona Move! Long Live John Africa! Free the Move 9! Free All Political Prisoners!
Your brotha, Mumia Abu-Jamal
Live From Death Row
Kiilu Nyasha, a member of the Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, read the following letter to San Francisco rally participants from Mumia Abu-Jamal:
Thank you all for coming. Ona Move! Long Live John Africa! This is far more than one man’s birthday celebration. It is a celebration of life and a clarion call to something missing from the courtrooms and cages of America.
The call for justice, for people’s justice, where a man or woman is not damned because of their poverty or their politics, where death row is not a black reserve situated out in the boondocks, where judges are not mere politicians in black robes.
This celebration shows us that the call is being heard by more and more people, and heard by enough may mean change for our repressive status quo. From the corrupt courts of Chicago to the county court in Enid, Okla., to the slave pens that surround the Courts of Common Pleas in Philadelphia, cops have created confessions when they needed them and the courts have sustained these lies with writs of approval.
This gathering condemns such practices and I thank you all the more. This celebration is a celebration of life, of the will to be free, of the will for justice for all of us, not just one man. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I urge you to work for freedom, for justice, for liberation and for an end to the racist death penalty.
Ona Move! Long Live John Africa!
From Death Row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal