SoCal fights to bring Mumia Abu-Jamal home

Mumia solidarity rally at Leimert Park, Los Angeles, Dec. 15. SLL photos

On Oct. 16, Judge Lucretia Clemons of the Common Pleas Court of Pennsylvania dismissed all the claims that political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal and his lawyers presented – critical evidence, withheld for over 40 years, that could overturn his 1982 conviction, exonerate him and bring him home to his family. 

Mumia has been in jail for over 40 years – 30 of those years spent on death row. This may be his last opportunity to prove his innocence and gain his release. Mumia’s health is rapidly deteriorating, and he is not a candidate for compassionate release in the state of Pennsylvania. 

By dismissing these claims and refusing to grant Mumia a new trial, Judge Clemmons is sentencing him to death through incarceration. Noel Hanrahan, legal director at Prison Radio, told Counterspin, “These were critical documents (just discovered 2 years ago) that many other people have gotten relief on.” 

A video entitled “Healing the Wounds of Racism” by Judge Lucretia Clemons was released after the October hearing and posted on The call from #LoveNotPhear was for people to listen to this six-minute video and send an audio message, an email post, or write a letter in response – what you wanted to tell Judge Clemons – to be presented to her on Dec. 16, when she was scheduled to make her final decision as to whether Mumia would have his day in court.

(At the Dec. 16 hearing, Judge Clemmons announced that she would put off her final ruling for another 60 to 90 days. Read Struggle-La Lucha’s report from Philadelphia here.)

The Black Alliance for Peace, Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice and San Diego Coalition to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal and All Political Prisoners joined with thousands worldwide to answer the call by #LoveNotPhear to act on this gross miscarriage of justice. The groups shared #LoveNotPhear’s website on social media and organized letter-writing sessions in libraries and bookstores. 

Activists also organized events leading up to the hearing. A rally was held in Los Angeles on Dec. 15, and a political prisoners teach-in was held in San Diego on Dec. 16.

San Diego letter-writing workshop, Dec. 6.

Southern California actions

Activists demanding a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal gathered for a speakout at Leimert Park in South Central LA Dec. 15. They brought literature on the latest news and historical background of his case. 

Speakers included former Black Panther Harold Welton; Matyos Kidane of Stop LAPD Spying Coalition; John Parker of Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice; and Sylvester of The Love We Don’t See. 

Natalie Matos of Black Alliance for Peace, who MC’d, began the rally with updates on Mumia’s case and opportunities to continue the struggle. Names were collected from community members interested in volunteering or receiving more information and updates on planned solidarity activities.

The San Diego letter-writing workshop was held on Dec. 6 at the Malcolm X Library and Performing Arts Center. The teach-in, hosted by the San Diego Coalition to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal and All Political Prisoners, was held at the San Diego Justice Center on Dec. 16.

Political prisoners teach-in on Dec. 16 in San Diego.

The teach-in began with an email message received from Philadelphia announcing that Judge Clemons had postponed her decision, followed by a video of the rally outside the courthouse, where the crowd chanted “Brick by brick, wall by wall, free Mumia Abu-Jamal.” In the video, Professor Johanna Fernandez announced that no decision being made sends the message that we won, and this is the moment to fight harder and make sure that light and justice prevail.

Speakers at the teach-in included Justine Mann of Party for Socialism and Liberation; Mary Lou Finley of Leonard Peltier Défense Committee; John Parker of Socialist Unity Party; Natalie Matos of Black Alliance for Peace; and Denzel Draughn of Hands Off Uhuru/Hands Off Africa Defense Campaign. 

Participants discussed the fact that the U.S. has political prisoners and why we believe all prisoners are political prisoners because of the racist, profit-motivated prison-industrial complex. 

We discussed why we need to support political prisoners and become active in the fight to free them all, shut down the prison-industrial complex, end mass incarceration and abolish the death penalty, including death by incarceration.

The teach-in ended with another letter-writing session to continue urging Judge Clemmons to do the right thing. We have two to three months to continue to organize, mobilize, educate and spread the truth about Mumia Abu-Jamal.  

The San Diego Coalition to Free Mumia and All Political Prisoners also hosted a screening of the film “Mumia Abu-Jamal: Long Distance Revolutionary” on Dec. 17 at the Malcolm X Library.

Mumia will be released. It’s up to us to make that happen.

#LoveNotPhear – spread love and challenge fear!

Release Mumia! Free them all!

Mary Lou Finley, Natalie Matos and John Parker contributed to this article.

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