Organizing the struggle for Mumia

By: Cameron Sturdevant

More than 300 supporters and activists who want freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal gathered here for two days of discussion about a wide range of criminal injustice issues. The outcome was a call for groups and individuals to file "joinders," or documents that support a "friend of the court" brief (www.mumia.org/freedom.now/article.php?sid=380) written by independent attorney Michael Yamamoto.

Campaign members presented a workshop on the case of California death row inmates Kevin Cooper and Stan "Tookie" Williams, the Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

The meeting was especially exciting because Greg Wilhoit, an exonerated death row inmate from Oklaho ma’s death row, joined the presentation.

Although the conference was held at the University of California-Berkeley campus, the smaller-than-usual attendance shows the confusion around the best way to advance Mumia’s case.

While leading activists at the conference, including International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Mumia’s legal team, emphasized the importance of the joinder campaign, focusing the fight for Mumia’s freedom in the courts makes it hard to connect to other issues.

Death penalty activists have learned that organizing grassroots pressure that focuses on reaching family members and the growing number of people who have concerns about the death penalty system is the way to move the fight forward.

Mumia’s case needs to be reconnected to activism.