Report on the Free Mumia Coalition Forum

The Free Mumia Coalition held a forum on “Government Repression, the National Prisoners Strike, and the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal” on the 25th of October 2018, just days prior to the latest court hearing in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. 

At this up-coming court hearing, the question of throwing out all the tainted appeals rulings against Mumia in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was to be posed. These appeals rulings were tainted by the participation of Ronald Castille.

As a prosecutor, Castille aggressively fought (and prevailed) in getting the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to uphold Mumia’s conviction and death sentence in 1989. Then, as a Justice on the Pennsylvania (PA) Supreme Court, Castille participated in the PA Supreme Court’s deliberations, agreed with the arguments he had previously made as Philadelphia District Attorney, and denied the legal challenges raised in Mumia’s appeals from 1998-2012.

The forum on the 25th discussed the issue of Mumia’s case, as well as the plight of prisoners in the US, the attacks of fascists against anti-fascist protestors – in which police  basically sided with the fascists – and other issues. A lively discussion followed the well-attended forum, which took place at the ANSWER Coalition meeting room on Mission St. in San Francisco.

Speakers included Gloria La Riva of the ANSWER Coalition; Yvette Felarca of By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) and a victim of a fascist attack in Sacramento; Gerald Smith of the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal (LAC) and a former Black Panther; Clarence Thomas, a retired leader of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) and also a former Black Panther; and Bilal Mafundi Ali, an organizer of the Bay Area National Prison Strike Solidarity Committee, and of Poor Magazine.

The forum was chaired by Jack Heyman of the LAC, ILWU retired, and an organizer of port shutdowns for Mumia, to protest the police murder of Oscar Grant, and to oppose the Iraq War, among others; and by Ras Ceylon, a local educator, rapper and organizer.

Greetings were recorded and played at the forum from Mumia Abu-Jamal, and from Kevin Cooper, an innocent death row inmate at San Quentin who is first in line to be executed should the death penalty be reactivated in California. 

Donations to the work of the Free Mumia Coalition were collected, and the Free Mumia Coalition thanks the ANSWER Coalition for the use of its meeting hall.