The March 11 Bearing Witness program, as viewed by live stream at the ILWU, longshore workers union local 10 hall in San Francisco, was wonderful and inspiring. Local 10 and the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal co-sponsored the live stream preceded by a report back from longshore delegates who went to South Africa last month to build international support—mainly in Africa—for Mumia. So, before the live stream of the Bearing Witness event, we heard 4 longshore workers speak about their experience and we viewed a short video of a militant demonstration of the largest union in South Africa, NUMSA for freeing Mumia.
The March 11th meeting was built on the heels of a Feb. 16th ILWU shutdown of the Ports of S.F. and Oakland, also calling for Mumia’s freedom, with a march from the union hall to the Embarcadero. This action powerfully linked Mumia’s case to police murder victims. Three of Tyre Nichols’ close relatives spoke at the ILWU rally. Mumia is clearly the other side of the coin of Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Philandro Castille, Walter Scott, Breonna Taylor because he was framed for reporting on police violence and was nearly killed by police himself during his arrest.
Linn Washington was such a knowledgable moderator, with the deepest experience in exposing the frameup of Mumia from the very beginning of the case. Judge Griffen gave a primer on what true justice is, explaining basic fairness (due process) in a unique, understandable way, with a brilliant call for Mumia’s freedom. He spoke at the beginning and wrapped up the program at the end with an Easter themed explanation of the frameup of Jesus Christ and the betrayal of Pontius Pilate, making an appropriate analogy to Mumia’s case.
Gabriel Bryant’s Phildelphia connection was powerful, and I think, new information for many of us West Coast activists.
Marc Lamont Hill gave a rousing, inspiring political education about Mumia’s example.
Johanna Fernandez told the story of the case, the frame-up, and the terrible role played by District Attorney Krasner and how, in upholding and pursuing the frame up conviction of Mumia, he has failed to live up to the promise of his wrongful conviction unit. Linn Washington also explained the “Mumia exception” in policing, prosecution, and the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania courts. Fernandez explained who the prosecutors were—old guard retained in the D.A.’s office from decades ago, previously involved in framing Mumia! She also took apart the prosecution’s frame up case point by point—paid off “witnesses”, false confession, racist jury selection, racist judge, and more.
A high point in a program with many high points was Mumia calling in live to the Church and expressing his appreciation and love for the people assembled there.
Two problems we experienced in the live stream were the inaccuracy of the simultaneous transcription (it never got Mumia’s name right), and the videos, except for the Colin Kaepernick one, were difficult to understand. Videos within a video within a cavernous church may have been too technically difficult to pull off. But, the live speeches were such high calibre, that these problems fade.
Thank you to the organizers for making this excellent program available all around the country.
I hope that accurate transcriptions will be made available for use as the movement continues to work for Mumia’s freedom!