Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning journalist and political activist who has been on Pennsylvania's death row since 1982. He was originally targeted by the Philadelphia police department for his outspokenness on police brutality and racism and was subsequently framed for the killing of Officer Daniel Faulkner.
The trial he endured was a complete sham. But Mumia has nonetheless remained a tireless voice of resistance against the death penalty and injustice.
Gray Davis, the new Democratic governor of California, wants to continue the tradition of his Republican predecessor by executing Jay Siripongs on February 9 - the first man of color executed in California in 30 years.
Thus the election of Davis has not changed the perilous situation of the more than 510 people on death row in California.
This is not a surprising situation. During his campaign, Davis reiterated that he "is now and has always been in favor of the death penalty. There simply is no better way to deter and punish society's most heinous criminals."
Shareef Cousin, who was sentenced to death in 1995 at the age of 16, is now off death row. Just three days before his new trial was to begin in January, the New Orleans D.A's office dropped the murder charges against Shareef.
"I would rather be executed than cross a picket line," said death-row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. He was defying ABC reporters from the "20/20" TV news magazine show who wanted to interview him during the recent lockout of 2,500 ABC technicians, members of the National Association of Broadcasters and Technicians/Communications Workers of America (NABET/CWA).
Even from the isolation of death row, Mumia is standing in solidarity with workers being denied job security and decent wage increases.
Some unions have begun to return the solidarity by mobilizing to win a new trial for Mumia.
Activists in major cities around the country are organizing daylong conferences to publicize the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. These meetings will be an important way to educate ourselves about the issues surrounding the case - and to build more support for the Millions for Mumia demonstrations in Philadelphia and San Francisco on April 24.
New York City
Saturday, February 13
Starting at 10 a.m.
City College of New York
138th Street and Convent Avenue
Featured speakers include Pam Africa, Manning Marable, Tonya McClary and Safiya Bukari.
I greet you, brothers and sisters, in the name of peace. As Salaam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Barakatu Allah Akbar.
I want to thank you all very, very much for publishing my article in your newsletter. Please put me on your mailing list so I can receive a copy. I want to touch base on a couple of issues I feel are of paramount importance.
Brother Anthony Porter is in the Cook County Jail, pending a hearing to determine if he is insane or sane. It is a well-known fact that this man is mentally ill.
Lawrence Hayes is a former death-row prisoner who was recently sent back to back to prison for a parole violation.
His death sentence was commuted in 1974 after the death penalty was abolished. In 1991, he was released from prison on parole. But last year, Lawrence was given a five-year sentence for missing a single meeting with his parole officer.