News from the National Student/Youth Day for Mumia Abu-Jamal
Revolutionary Worker #949, March 22, 1998
February 26 was a national day of student and youth protest for Mumia Abu-Jamal. It was called for by the National Youth Network of Refuse & Resist!, the Student/Youth Network of the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Anti-Racist Action, the Bruderhof Youth, and International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Reports are still being collected about actions around the country. A member of R&R!'s National Youth Network told the RW that from what they know already, these actions were significant because they involved many people who had never participated in actions for Mumia before. "We got an overwhelming response. We got responses from 35 different cities. Up until the last day there were people trying to hook up with it." There were programs organized as part of Black History Month. Most of the high school and college students had problems with the administration. The following information has been collected so far:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One hundred young people took part in a Radical Walking Tour at Temple University. It was a very diverse crowd that, according to an organizer, "included many people that you don't regularly see at Mumia rallies." About half were Temple students. They began with a reading of "The Lost Generation," a piece written by Mumia and published in Live From Death Row. Then they stopped at different campus buildings and did exposure about Mumia's case. Outside the main administration building, the campus security was sent out to try and intimidate the students. But the students refused to stop their protest. They marched out to Broad Street, took over the street and blocked traffic. Then they marched to WRTI, the campus radio station that had censored Mumia's radio commentaries last year. After the action, some Temple students formed a group to make plans for this year's Freedom Summer in Philadelphia.
Shaker Heights, Ohio. A high school student who is a member of Refuse & Resist! organized an after-school showing of the HBO video which about 20 kids attended. It was done as part of Black History Month and to build for a hip hop fundraising benefit on March 15.
Cleveland. After the Urban Guerrilla Poets announced the student/youth day of protest for Mumia at a hip hop show, people got together to organize a benefit for March 14.
Prescott College, Prescott, Arizona. Before the 26th, students held two different video showings of the HBO documentary on Mumia's case, one in a local cafe and the other in a student building. Both were well attended. After the videos were shown, people wrote letters to authorities demanding a new trial for Mumia. They also wrote letters to Mumia himself. On the 26th, students set up a booth on campus with music, banners and posters to spread the word about Mumia. One organizer told R&R!, "Thank you for making this a national day and giving us the opportunity to spread awareness to our community. Thanks and praises."
Oslo, Norway. The autonomous Youth House Blitz in Oslo held an illegal demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Oslo, Norway. The police tried to stop the demonstration but gave up, and the youth continued with slogans and speeches demanding freedom for Mumia.
Woodcrest Bruderhof, Rifton, New York. Five hundred people attended an event that focused on the struggle to free Mumia as well as other outrages of this system. Speakers included Eileen Storey, a nun who has spent time among the Iraqi people who have suffered under U.S.-sponsored sanctions; Jack Lynch, chairman of Mid-Hudson Unit of Irish Northern Aid; Colia Lafayette Clark, who was Medgar Evers' personal assistant, spoke about the history of the struggle of Black people in the civil rights movement; Ali-Bey Hassan, who was one of the Panther 21, spoke about how he was evicted from the prison when he attempted to visit Mumia the week before; Ras-T performed; Tom Midgley spoke about the struggle to free Leonard Peltier; Wes Rehburg spoke about the situation in Chiapas; and Safiya Bukhari spoke about the battle to free Mumia and all political prisoners and especially the Jericho demonstration that will be held in Washington, DC on March 27. There were also speeches by Haitian activists and youth who'd just returned from Cuba.
Spring Valley Bruderhof, Western Pennsylvania. School children marched up Progress Drive, half a mile from the prison where Mumia is held, SCI Greene, and "rallied, shouted and sang."
Port Washington High School, Port Washington, New York. Students from this Long Island school invited a member of R&R! to speak. Thirty kids stayed after school for a discussion of the case. Many bought Mumia buttons. Based on this, some students are planning a benefit concert to raise money to go to Philadelphia for Freedom Summer.
Beacon High School, New York City. Beacon is an alternative public school in Manhattan. The entire school attended a program for Black History Month. A student who is a member of R&R! spoke about Mumia, Jericho '98 and Freedom Summer. He got a great response. Teachers and students wanted to know how they could get involved. A bus was immediately organized to go to the Jericho demonstration.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. A benefit concert raised $600 for Mumia.
Twin Cities Area (Minneapolis/St. Paul). Ramona Africa spoke on February 23 to build support for national day of protest.
San Diego, California. A benefit for Mumia was held at the Che cafe.
South Carolina. College students posted fliers all over their campus.
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