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!
The main credit for this victory goes to Oakland Teachers for Mumia, who have worked tirelessly for this restoration, and to Johanna Fernandez of Educators For Mumia, who valiantly combatted Fox News in an on-air interview on this subject earlier this year. It also goes to Pulitzer Prize-wining author Alice Walker, who wrote a firm letter to the School Board opposing the censorship of Urban Dreams. (We send out her letter again, reproduced below.)
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal is ecstatic that this victory has been achieved, and we salute all those involved in this struggle. But we remind everyone that we need to see the actual restoration without censorship of the Urban Dreams site (promised for the “next week or so”), and we need to keep struggling to combat the other attacks of cops against free speech, chiefly the new “gag” law just passed in Pennsylvania.
PA Gag Law Punishes Prisoners for Speech
Although Mumia Abu-Jamal has been shown to be innocent, having been victimized by (now discredited) “witness” allegations and other prosecutorial fabrications, the FOP, having failed to get him executed, continues to seek to “shut him up.” This is precisely the purpose of a new law, just passed and signed in Pennsylvania, which punishes any felony convict for speech which causes “mental anguish” to the crime victim(s). Clearly unconstitutional, this law threatens not just prisoners, but non-profit organizations which distribute their speech and writings, such as Prison Radio and the Pacifica Radio Network, both of which publish and air Mumia’s prolific commentaries.
Save the Date — 05 December
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, together with Prison Radio and Oakland Teachers for Mumia, will hold a public forum, Cops vs Free Speech, on December 5th at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley. Please join us for this important event!
Cops vs Free Speech
How police are threatening the right
of free speech of convicts, dissidents,
and All of Us!
Speakers: Keith Cook (Mumia’s brother),
Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson,
Mumia’s recorded comments,
and other Speakers.
Film showing: “Manufacturing Guilt,”
an expose of the frame-up of Mumia Abu-Jamal
7 pm Friday Dec. 5th 2014
La Pena Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Av. Berkeley CA
$5 – $!0 sliding scale
All donations benefit the
defense suit against the PA Gag Law
– The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA • 510.763.2347