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.