Mumia: Coast to Coast--Outrage Over Death Warrant
Revolutionary Worker #1027, October 24, 1999
On Wednesday, October 14, the shocking news quickly spread around the world that Pennsylvania Governor Ridge had signed a death warrant for Mumia Abu-Jamal. Phone trees activated emergency response networks and mobilized people for "The Day After" (TDA) actions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Many people were determined to respond immediately and powerfully to the governor's outrageous decision to press ahead with this execution.
Here are the events the RW has heard about as we go to press.
On Saturday, October 16, more than 1,500 people rallied and marched in Philadelphia--Mumia's home town--in a powerful expression of their determination to stop his execution. People came in cars and buses from all over the eastern United States--to hold a powerful and diverse action of many nationalities and many different political trends. The new generation of college and high school students made up more than half the march--putting their mark firmly on this day and on this struggle.
The rally was held in front of the State Building, within sight of the offices of the Fraternal Order of Police--that notorious headquarters of the campaign to defame and execute Mumia. Speakers included Pam Africa, of the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; Carl Dix of the RCP; Monica Moorhead of International Action Center; C. Clark Kissinger of Refuse & Resist, and many others. A statement was read from the executive director of the American Friends Service Committee. Both at the podium and in the crowd, people expressed the strong connection between the struggle for Mumia's life, the intensifying campaign to stop police brutality and murder, and the struggle to free Leonard Peltier and all political prisoners.
The spirited march moved through the Black proletarian neighborhoods of north Philly--receiving a tremendous welcome from masses of people who waved their fists, shouted and honked in support.
"My father, Charles Vaughn, Sr. was assassinated last year, shot 11 times by the police... We will not let Mumia die. We do not want to add Mumia's name to the list of Stolen Lives."
Alade Djehuti Mes
October 16--2,000 people, including a large number of students and youth, rallied and marched from the downtown shopping district to the low income Tenderloin. They came from cities throughout the S.F. Bay Area. The National Lawyers Guild, which is holding its convention in San Francisco, adjourned so that the 400 lawyers attending could participate in the protest. Many people felt that a militant response was needed to force the government to back off on their plans to kill Mumia. After the main demonstration ended, a contingent of mostly youthful demonstrators continued the march and blocked Market Street, the main thoroughfare through downtown. Police in riot gear surrounded the 300 protesters and threatened to arrest everyone. Eventually the police backed down and people dispersed. A torchlight march for Mumia is planned in San Francisco on Tuesday, October 19.
Other Marches and Rallies in the Days After
"It's come down to us. We've got to stop this execution--period. I got flyers on me all the time. I'm going into all my classes and talking about it. I talk to everyone on the buses I take. Hell, I'll even go door-to-door. From here on out,no one I talk to is not gonna know about Mumia Abu-Jamal."
Cal State Student, Los Angeles
"Mumia has inspired me with the power of his vision. Even though he's in prison, he's still speaking out against police brutality and injustice and the system. He didn't bow down after they captured him and they framed him up and all of that. And he's never given up. I feel like I could be like that some day, someone strong and powerful, someone that people will come out for and represent for and fight for."
Young woman from Watts
On Thursday, October 14--At the height of rush hour, 600 people defiantly marched around San Francisco's downtown and then through the proletarian Western-Addition neighborhood into the Mission district--where the Latino working people crowded the sidewalks to cheer. Activists of the new generation charged to the front of the march, shut down intersections, and danced in the streets chanting "Free Mumia! Free Free Mumia!"
That same day, a spirited march went through four miles in the heart of New York City--from Wall Street to Times Square--where 500 people held a rush hour rally for Mumia.
On Oct. 14, over 350 people converged on the Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles. To the rhythm of drums, the march snaked through the city's huge immigrant shopping district. When cops threatened the march, the crowd chanted "Rampart! Rampart! No one in Rampart ain't got no heart!"--referring to death-squad-like activities of LAPD's now-exposed "gang" division.
In Philadelphia, the words "Free Mumia" appeared on a 55 foot paint-splattered mural of the city's notorious former Gestapo-Mayor Frank Rizzo.
More than 250 protesters marched in Minneapolis. In Cleveland, 100 people took to the streets and then sat down in the streets to demand that "Mumia must be free!" Forty-five people marched through downtown Prescott, Arizona. Friday, Oct. 15, 200 people held a spirited march through downtown Portland.
The next day, on Saturday, October 16, 200 marched in Seattle. And 300 people demonstrated in Pittsburgh. And outside SCI Greene, the prison where Mumia is being held, the Bruderhof held a demonstration. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania's capital, Harrisburg, activists mobilized by Amnesty International marched on the house of Governor Tom Ridge to oppose the death warrants he signed for Mumia and other death row inmates.
Also on October 16, Ramona Africa of the MOVE organization spoke to 300 people at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, drawing applause as she said, "The government wants to kill Mumia because he dares to tell the truth." 250 people rallied again in Los Angeles, this time at the West Side federal building. Later than night, 120 people marched through Westwood, next to the UCLA campus.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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