20 November 2014 — In an unexpected announcement, the new Superintendent of Oakland Schools, Antwan Wilson, announced yesterday that the Urban Dreams website, taken down in April of this year by Oakland School officials, would be restored. This teacher-generated, social issues site had been singled out by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and Fox News as a target, because it included a curriculum which focussed on a comparison between Martin Luther King and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Mumia has been a target of the FOP ever since police and prosecutors framed him up for the shooting death of a police officer in 1981 in Philadelphia.
The Oakland School Board could have defied this police attack on free speech and academic freedom months ago, but chose instead to capitulate under a Fox News onslaught without a whimper. Now, let’s make sure they stick to their word to restore the site!
Join Teachers For Mumia
at the Oakland School Board Meeting
Wednesday, the 19th of November,
at 5 p.m.
the Great Room, across from the old OUSD HQ
on 2nd Ave., just up 10th from Laney College
(near Lake Merritt BART Station)
Teachers for Mumia will have small signs reading:
“Repost Urban Dreams Now!
No Police Control of Curriculum”
November 8, 2014
I am dismayed to learn that the Oakland School Board has dismantled a website of Social Justice lesson plans because the police objected to it. The Board has a duty to defend students’ right to learn against police interference. I am asking the Oakland School District to repost the Urban Dreams website.
The police attack on Urban Dreams is part of a long campaign to injure and defame political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, a brilliant journalist and author who is innocent of all charges against him. In October the police obtained a state gag law in Pennsylvania specifically intended to silence Mumia Abu-Jamal. One lesson on the Urban Dreams website in Oakland asked students to compare media suppression of Mumia’s writings with suppression of the radical thoughts of Martin Luther King, and the police call for censorship was meant to shut out the words of both these defenders of freedom.
I hope that the educators of the Oakland School Board will defend free speech and academic freedom by restoring the Urban Dreams website.
CC: Antwan Wilson, Superintendent
David Kakishiba, School Board President
Oakland Teachers for Mumia
San Francisco Chronicle
October 7th, 2014 — World renowned revolutionary journalist and author Mumia Abu-Jamal, an innocent political prisoner known as the “voice of the voiceless,” was heard loud and clear Sunday at Goddard College, his alma mater. Though confined in a Pennsylvania state prison for life without parole for a crime he didn’t commit, Mumia’s recorded commencement address was heard because Goddard College students, having invited him to speak, defied the demands of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and right-wing politicians and media that his address be cancelled and he be silenced. Goddard’s Interim President, Robert Kenny backed up the students.
Mumia’s thought-provoking address was deeply moving, philosophical and generously considerate of the students he was addressing, as he urged them to work for progressive change. It was met with a standing ovation. As Noel Hanrahan, of Prison Radio, the organization that records and makes available Mumia’s commentaries, said in a report from Goddard:
Dear Fellow Goddard-ites, Students, Graduates, Parents, Professors:
I thank you for your kind invitation to join you in voice today. I’ve been away from Goddard College perhaps longer than most of you have been alive.
I last walked on campus during the late 70’s. But although it was undoubtedly quite a long time ago, it still sits in memory, and sometimes even visits in dreams of the funky atmosphere that suffused the campus like a cloud of exhaled marijuana smoke. What really moved me however, was the green life, the abundance of grass, trees standing like ancient sentinels. The majestic mountains of Vermont which possessed a beauty that was, to a guy from the city, simply breathtaking. I remember with crystal clarity walking through woods back to our dorms, Third World Studies, and feeling pure rapture in the presence of those trees. How many centuries had those trees stood on this earth? My mind looked back to Indians who must’ve trod through these very same woods; my steps touching the ground that once crunched under their moccasined feet. Not only have these surviving remnants of their once great numbers been vanished from the land of their fathers, but the reverence with which they held these lands, their collective embrace of Mother Earth, has been vanished as well.