we come from different environments and different background. this is one w0r8d. -- world. we breathe the same air. we drink the same water, you know. they used to have segregated water fountains but they ain't got that no more. >> let me ask you a question which is of significance to me. one of the things i noticed about prisoner that is they are about the only population that we completely stultify and only recognize in terms of the crimes alleged or real. they committed. we allow people to grow and change to become different and be redeemed but with respect to to those in prison we only imagine them only in terms of what could be the worst possible act. and i am interested -- because not everybody can do what you have done.
i think what is extraordinary about you that you have been able to give a face that is not only humane but intellectually potent and how do those in your circle deal with the essentialization -- i'm sorry about the word. do you hope what i'm saying? >> i would just say this if i may. just yesterday i spoke with a brother who was an antideath penalty activist but a global one. and that is he meets with people from around the world and goes to conferences with people from around the world. and he told me something that was really quite remarkable that i had never heard of or read of. he was at a conference in california. and the scholar from turkey was there. and the guy was telling me now, when we hear turkey we think of, of course -- remember the infamous movie "midnight
express," right? >> no. "midnight express" i think it stored brad davis and it showed a very repressive and brutal system in turkey. the scholar explains to him when a turkish politician runs for office, what he promises to get elected forgiveness and leniency for people arrested for offenses. when he said that, damn, i said it's like in that turkey. when i thought about it made only a lot of sense because we know that turkey is a non-arab but a muslim country. many muslim countries really do follow bits of the koran where there are provisions in the koran for forgiveness for all kinds of people.
the only question, of course, in such an instance is, will the family forgive. if the family forgives, then the state offers a forgiveness. when a politician runs like this you can't think of something similar in the american context. it's the exact polar opposite in the united states. it also shows you what we think what we know about another country is based on sometimes false projections over our media. we would never have thought of turkey as that kind of country. but, of course, it is. >> very real. brother, i want to thank you first for your wonderful piece on science fiction on octavia butler. do you remember that piece? >> i remember that piece. i'm amazed you read it. >> i want to keep track of my brother.
and i know you wanted us to read about empires in deep decline, cultures in decay, greed running amuck. poor people, working people feeling powerless they can't mobilize. >> i read that two days ago. >> i was blown away by it. this is a scholar who can be deemed conservative coming from oxford and whatnot and, of course, british. but when he looked at empires around the world he found something very similar. a kind of a rise, a coasting and there's different reasons and different eras. most people understood that the
empire was in decline especially during the last administration, where things were so raw and so crude, shall we say. we don't torture, you know, that kind of stuff. of course, you know, in the former administration we had abu ghraib. and we had guantanamo and those kind of things. the truth of the matter is, we still have those kinds of things. we have abu ghraibs in every state in the united states. we have guantanamos in every state. in the united states. and in the federal system. and it's just that we talk about it in terms of an administration. we don't talk about it in terms of of a system. and until we begin looking at the empire as being -- >> about 60 seconds remaining. >> a bipartisan reality that affects people no matter who's at the top then we'll never be able to change this reality we're living in. the fact that we're all in a kind of prison. >> and, of course, we end newspaper prison in space and time and the question is what kind of person am i going to be. my brother it's amazing in terms of the quality of your spirit.
your voice is just -- it's humble. it's human. it's still firm. it's still fortified. >> you have 30 seconds remaining. >> well, brother, even despite this condition and this place i feel surrounded by love, by people like you and many other people, by joanna and mark. thank you all. i love you all. and love is the most powerful force in the universe. >> yes, it is, my brother. we love you, brother. [applause] >> we love you, brother. >> i love you too. thank you all. [applause] >> thank you for joining us. >> i have to say it's very regrettable he spent such a long time on death row. it's not just a question about a crime because the evidence was inconclusive according to the
best evaluate airs. it's because of his particular ideas and people who don't have proper representation. it's because of the history of race that exist in this country. but having said that, i also want to celebrate this moment because while it is true that there are many wonderful occasions for interaction and justice throughout the world, it is not often that you can have someone calling from a maximum security prison and interact with close to 200 people. so while we are despairing about injustice and about the limitations in this country, let us also celebrate the things that are right about this country. and this particular gathering is very, very right. [applause] >> i just want to welcome two additional special guests, lynn washington, the award-winning philadelphia tribune columnist
is here. [applause] >> and pam africa, the tireless leader in the struggle for mumia is also here. welcome. [applause] >> but at this point, it's really time to open this conversation up even more. and i invite your questions and comments. for the panelists and there are also people that can be part of that discussion. >> maybe i'll start us off. it's wonderful to have you here. i'm thrilled. i'm incredibly moved by the conversation that we just witnessed. the question i want to ask is a follow-up to a conversation virginia and i had with mark.
i want to refer you all to his amazing website. it's full of very important resources on this case. and the issues that concern mumia. the question that we gravitated towards this morning that i would like to put into this room is of contextualizing the struggle for mumia's rights in a post-9/11 climate of the politics of fear and in what way the struggle has met new challenges. and how we think of meeting those particular ones. if you want to reflect on some of those aspects. >> well, i think in many wades, though, it's both 9/11 but also in the age of obama. i think that 9/11 took place during the age of reagan. it was a very, very different
moment. well, it was the age of reagan but bush was a representative. actually, there's elements of carter and clinton that were elements of the age of reagan in terms of punitive policies when it comes to prison, in terms of eliminating and welfare and pushing persons oftentimes that let their entree into the industrial complex. it was the clinton administration decision that helped facilitate the kind of greed that we've seen running amuck on wall street. so that age of reagan is a comprehensive category that includes many of our fellow democratic party, brothers and sisters. i don't want to begin to talk about this spinelessness so much of this party. but the question was this, 9/11 one moment, age of obama -- and
annual of obama has generated a very different kind of context because obama is this political genius respond to the politics of fear with the politics of hope. don't talk about the greed but talk about fairness. we're talking in a different moment but the question is how do we deal with the 9/11 legacy in this age of obama where he now in the white house needs serious critique and pressure and support when he is attacked unfairly by our right winged fellow citizens. but we have to create progressive space within this age of obama that keep track of those who are not just locked into the preindustrial complex but in these communities, black, yellow, black, brown but more black and brown. i know my sister and i were talking about this.
it's not in the age of obama you're getting any serious talk about the preindustrial complex. i wish he had members of his administration -- [inaudible] >> well, you had to hear the different issues. you can't be a one-issue healthcare. healthcare is an amazing thing but now i have problems but you have to be able to hit these situations where poor and working people's lives are being shaped. so it's not just a need for jobs and homes as opposed to bailout for investment banks. but also preindustrial complex situations in which -- 62% of the folk in prisons are there for soft drug convictions. now, murderers and rapists that's something else. 62% soft drug and they get locked into the preindustrial complex. something is deeply wrong. deeply wrong. >> i wanted to say about this question of demonization of 9/11
that it's actually kind of predictable because politicians and, in fact, not just politicians but even sociological analysis shows that the best way -- and it's not a pretty story, the best way through a political community is an external demon. one of the terrible things of the post-9/11 atmosphere is that fair it has allowed the american public with the help of pseudointellectuals, i'm thinking of harvard, never mind, began to see the issue as a clash of civilizations. in a course that i am teaching right now, the point that i have been making is that with the collapse of the soviet union, a lot of the vacuous rhetoric disappeared and it was by a definition of islam.
so that considering the islam as some kind of monolithic entity, the muslim world formed by you know whom? by all those people who hate us. they hate our individualism and our democracy. they just hate us because we're good. and i suppose we have curly hair. it remind you of charlie brown. but, in fact, that kind of approach is of helpful. so part of what i think would be important is to constantly remind the american public that the differences are not so great. and that the reason why islam is, in fact, the fastest growing religious in prisons is not only because of the values that it espouses. but it can be used in order to resist those oppressive administrative practices that i saw so clearly throughout the time that i was allowed to visit prison. >> absolutely. let me just add as a christian i
wish that our churches would spend as much time in prison ministry as they do on building funds. >> i totally agree with you. >> you're supposed to keep track of the imprisoned, the widows, we get that with our jewish brothers and sisters. orphan, the widow and the weak they are the focus of one's witness. and then by the time you get to that first palestinian you name jesus who comes out prophetic judaism what you've done onto to me you've done to the prisoner, the weak and the physically challenged it's at black people. it's not antirich. it's just a sense of wanting to live a life that has some spiritual content and moral substance to it. and bearing witness to the weak is a way of living that kind of life. and so when we talk about the our religious institutions -- >> absolutely. >> prophetic synagogues,
prophetic churches, prophetic differences, the humanity of our precious and brothers and sisters of all in prison. >> one of the great errors i believe that the left has historically made is to be contemptuous of religion. the question is how the religious narrative becomes an alternative in order to resist some of these other forces. so whether you believe or not, i mean, the narratives deserve some respect because they do capture a form of knowledge that can be used, for example, in order to resist the impositions of the market. and it is a narrative, the judeo-christian religion but not exclusively that is very tied to who we think we are. and so perhaps we should be a little less shy about resorting to those narratives. and as i say separately from the question of personal belief in
order to salvage that kind of knowledge that can be deployed in order to achieve some of these ends. >> absolutely. >> and christians worship a criminal named jesus. he was a prisoner. >> he didn't have proper representation. i'm tell you. it was a big problem. >> they were intent on sending him to the cross. and to have a criminal prisoner, a political prisoner named jesus who is a king who rules from the cross because christians look at the world through the lens of the cross and, therefore, that blood at that cross connected to the blood that's flowing. >> i think there's a microphone. i'm sorry. it's just there's a line there. i don't want to interrupt. it's just a line is beginning to form. that's great. but we'll consider you third. and so if you want to speak from there, go ahead. go ahead. >> i think there's an incredible energy room and certainly listening to dr. west and dr. kelly how that humanitarian
justice is very alive and very strong here. and it was such a beautiful and amazing experience to listen to mumia. and it's wonderful we galvanize this energy to speak to it as a global and humanitarian issue. but in more specifics and when mumia brought it up in reading his preface as to this machine where the law was really -- he brought up treaties and so forth that we didn't abide by this and so forth, that's the specific of his battle here. that the law is working -- at least the interpretation of the law in the representation that he's had or he's fought against is that minutia of legalese and we can preach the humanitarian aspects of this. and i think we're on the same page as to how brutal that is.
and how we need to destroy what is there and rebuild our justice system. but in specific, how does someone, that jailhouse lawyer, bring about utilized precedent and current law and legal structure to freeing himself? the dna is a long process. but it's being withheld. police investigative tactics. these are what he needs to address in this case and how are we bringing this battle together? this great oratory, the martials, the wests of the world which is factual that's brought before the court to free someone like this? >> i appreciated that point. i'd also want to invite my dear brother mark taylor to intervene
in terms of the details of the -- i know the number of lawyers. when we were in philadelphia together, the lawyers who were fighting this case. it's a twofold challenge. oftentimes the suspension of the law in the name of the law, you see? and other times the law itself is arbitrarily deployed. but thank god we do have an option. we saw this with our dear sister angela davis and her book is crucial that we can actually fight based on a rights-based argument and free her. so he's had some very good lawyers. is that right, brother mark? and the lawyer now working -- still working? [inaudible] >> come on right up. >> one of the most important things is to stay in touch with the public movements for mumia. educators for mumia has been working for 15 years in
commitment to the larger international movement that pam africa heads up who is here as well. one of the campaigns she has spearheaded and one of the supporters for mumia is on investigation. a campaign to urge attorney general eric holder to begin an investigation into the prosecutorial misconduct, the misconduct of the police. and the continual abrogation of mumia's rights throughout the appeals process and this is gaining momentum thanks to pam africa's work and those supporting it. i would urge you to check the websites at the back of the fact sheet on mumia that we presented. and join in the specifics that one finds there. because an aware public that keeps the pressure on politicians and the courts makes a difference. history shows that to be the case. we often think the courts run on
their own separate sphere, but they are influenced. and, hence, we're trying to generate a lot of pleasure and by the way this lynn washington who was introduced, we have posted on our website an article by him called the mumia exception. a new one that details greatly how the courts refuse creating ever new reasons to keep mumia on death row by abrogating their own laws. and sometimes creating new approaches to the law seemingly to keep mumia on death row and behind bars. read that article at our website by lynn washington called the "the mumia exception." can i take this opportunity to introduce my colleague, also a coordinator of educators. she's announcing a very important upcoming planning event about getting involved at columbia university that's happening april 3rd. is this appropriate to do now very quickly? >> sure, absolutely. >> joanna from baruch college.
>> yes, i'm a historian. and i want to very briefly address a question that you asked initially. which is how do we understand mumia in the context of american history. if we look at the labor struggles of the 19th century we have the haymarket affair, which led to the execution of four anarchists. then we have the anarchists who are executed by the state and they know we have the rosenbe s rosenbergs. and what we see in american history is that every generation has a martyr whom the state makes an example of. and essentially part of what we see is that the state is telling us by executing these men and
women what the costs will be for challenging the state fundamentally. we cannot forget that. mumia is an innocent man on death row who has been there for 28 years because of what he stands for. because he is the voice of the voiceless. he is the voice that will not be silenced. and his voice is one that challenges the structure of american society. but definitely the structure of capitalism. i just want to say mumia's life was saved twice in the 1990s. a movement led in part by pam africa kept mumia from being executed twice. in the 1990s. that gives you a sense of the
power of ordinary people in transforming society. from the bottom up. in the absence of a movement, in part because of 9/11, the supreme court, the lower courts, the state courts, the federal courts have been successfully able to overturn precedent around mumia's case. and he remains incarcerated despite all of the fraudulent character -- despite the fraudulent character of his trial. educators for mumia is of intent on raising the profile of this case on college campuses and in american public life. we support the civil rights investigation about which pam africa will have speak in a minute, i'm sure. we are going to reproduce this event live from death row at columbia.
we had a live from death row not too long ago in january at princeton. we want to reproduce believe event in every college campus and in every community in the united states. we ask you to join us on april 3rd at columbia university where vjpersade who's a young and academic voice will speak on the case. in the 1990s, he was responsible for building asians for mumia. tentatively kathleen cleaver will be speaking at this event. and again, this is intended to be a large event that's oriented around transforming civic discourse in the united states. raising the profile of mumia in american public life but also
and finally -- part of what we're trying to do is say that all of the issues and all of the violations in mumia's case like judicial misconduct, discrimination and jury selection, police corruption and tampering evidence to obtain a conviction, these are all of the issues that are single-handedly responsible for the disproportionate incarceration of african-americans and latinos and increasingly mexicans from mexico and increasingly women -- all of these issues are responsible for the mass incarcerations of african-americans and latinos making mass incarceration the most important civil rights issue of our time. this is the face of racism in the united states today. racism has changed since the 1940s and '50s. we don't necessarily see
lynchings in the united states although we have not too long ago. but the lynchings, the racial lynchings happening in the united states today happen in the court system. and part what we want to do as educators for mumia is raise this issue of civil rights for so many african-americans and latinos. and we ask that you join us at this event which we are calling live on death row mumia at the crossroads in the age of obama. and i want you just ponder on that the meaning of this moment in which you can have someone like obama as the president and someone like mumia in a place that really represents the most unfree condition in a society that's obsessed about freedom and democracy. that's the contradiction of the system in which we live today. thank you. [applause]
>> question? yes. >> i guess my question is, rightfully so i think this conversation is focused what a positive contribution mumia has to society today. but he's in jail because of something that happened in 1982. i guess i was wondering how much you thought it mattered the truth about what happened in 1982 given the fact he seems to not only be a menace to society but an incredibly positive contribution -- how much does the truth matter given who he is today? >> that was my point earlier on. that is -- there isn't conclusive evidence. many people i think the best evaluations arrive at the conclusion that mumia was not guilty, which is not blameless but not guilty. and that what the young woman just mentioned is, in fact, a part of the problem.
that there is -- that he was severely penalized. not for the crime that he committed exclusively but because of what he is and who he represents. the population that he represents. so this is imminently political. this is not just about crime and punishment. this is about ideas that are not popular in american society. and that's the reason why it's such an important case. the second one is, yeah, i mean, if you're asking my own=dñ persl position, i think it's absolutely prepostus to threatening to kill a man for something that happened in 1982. that's the point about change. i have never -- i'm sure there are prisoners who remain static and fixed in time. but that has not been my experience. >> let me say briefly i appreciate the question. for me truth certainly matters. i believe that every life is precious. that includes white brothers in the police department.
and i believe, in fact, as my dear brother mumia, one, didn't do it. the two, the trial has been so exude and thwarted and distorted. witnesses coming in and out and so forth. and the fact that his voice not alone but his prophetic voice tied to a movement that was in place, weak though it was, does constitute the threat and you have the truth that matters and you have the political context that's in place as well. but i don't want to downplay the loss of life for the family and so forth. that my prayers goes out to any family member. and i do want justice for the police and i do want justice for him. >> i want to recognize -- well, okay, pam wants to defer to the next speaker and then we'll take a comment from pam up here after
that. go ahead, please. >> so you have explained to me discussed -- you discussed why mumia is in prison and also he's on death row. his political views he's being sentenced to death. he's been put to death for this. so i've wondered -- i don't understand -- i know that. and i also don't understand why he's there. why is leonard peltier still there. can't obama just free them? so what would it mean if he were not only taken off of death row but set free he? what exactly would that mean? what are people so scared of? >> i'm going to interrupt just for a second because the phone is ringing again. we may get to speak to him again. you think he won't? he was going to try.
>> is that mumia? >> hello, greg, carla. >> no, sorry. >> greg's call has been rerouted. you could call his sfoep. -- cell phone. >> wait a minute, who am i talking to? >> you're talking to freedom fighters at labyrinth. >> so i'm going to say goodbye. and we're going to go on with the program. greg will explain all of this in much greater detail later on. >> okay, thanks. >> god bless you. god bless you. >> we had to hope. we had to hope. [laughter] >> i'm sorry. do we remember -- >> your question -- well, one, it would be a triumph for those truth-seeking freedom fighting forces in our society that would show the degree to which the
nation state is mighty but is not almighty. that's a very, very important fact that people need to know. because if you're up against what seems to be a goliath-like entity, that david can still triumph in times. >> but, sister, in fact, not everybody believes that mumia is innocent. this is what political struggle is all about. the important thing is that those who believe they stand as a great and egregious injustice will step up to the plate metaphysically speaking because this is not something that is resolved by some enlightened person freeing prisoners at discretion. that's not the way the structure is constructed. this requires struggle. small forms of struggle like this one.
larger forms of struggle like combating the inequalities in the justice system. and his case is standing and living evidence that fighting for reform in a society can take you to death row. >> but the question about our dear president is a significant one in this sense. that all of us know that he could not engage in that kind of political gesture and remain in office. it's a political consideration. but for those of us who don't have political consideration is a basic criteria of how we understand struggle. you say well, it's interesting that those who engage in a vicious cycle walk around free and those engaging in illegal wiretapping are walking around free. they are protected by the obama administration. i don't say that out of animosity, my dear barack obama.
i've done over 70 events my dear barack obama. it's the truth. it's the political consideration for the next election. and those of us will have to worry about political consideration for the next election we can try to speak the truth in our own fallible fault and ways. and so we want to keep track. even folk who actually think he did it and i think they're wrong, there's a whole lot of folk out here who have done a whole host of criminal things and they're walking around free and having tea this very moment. it's not just. it's not right. it's not fair. >> last thing i'll say like the police officers who sodomized that young latino man in the last week and they were not convicted of a crime like every police officer that's ever shot an unarmed innocent always black and brown person, they never go to jail. >> we got a lot of stories about that and i have to say that in the spirit of love. arbitrary policing criminal.
>> i'm a tenth grader at the high school. and my question is, and mrs. fernandez's opening statement she said that the black young men were nine times likely to go to jail than anyone else. what can we do to lower that statistic. >> thank you for asking. that is central, central to our concerns, you see. and it takes a long time because we have a historical legacy of inquality with respect to african-americans in general. but particularly african-american men. we have high levels of residential segregation. it's a very long story. it's not just about slavery. after slavery we got a golden period called reconstruction during which it appeared that african-americans were going to
really be conferred actual citizenship, not just nominal citizenship and the response was the jim crow laws. race has been the great drama of this country. and it has skewed and made it impossible for many of those central democratic ideals and ideals of justice to operate. but to bring it to a more recent past, i'm very irked. that only about 25 years ago politicians again discovered that it was possible to scare the american public by showing them the not particularly beautiful face of a convict known as -- named willy horton. and that they didn't even have to say anything that just agitating of the image of someone being disheveled and someone who had, in fact,
committed horrible crimes withstood for the prejudice of the larger society. and as a result, you saw a whole string of really, really bad laws speaking about the sister a moment ago. it was because the public wanted three strikes and you're outlaws that so many young men are in prison for very minimal crimes serving even sentences as long as 25 and 30 years, we had all -- mandatory minimums that disproportionately young black men. there have been a ground-swell of interest in some circles in order to repeal those laws. and many of those laws have been repealed. but i go back to my original point. one of the reasons why i wanted to be here is to again remind us that it is the american public that tolerates this situation. it is because there is no real care for that particular population that so many are
languishing in prison for extended periods of in time. i'm not optimistic, this will never change because it's convenient to have that population behind bars. >> there's been two major efforts to try to change the climate of opinion. one is this major conference that took place, university of pennsylvania, under the able leadership of eliza anderson. it's a book called "the black against the wall: young, black and poor." it's wonderful essays and by peter etleman. what can be done i just got back three days ago from a major conference the first time in history of the black american black church. ame, amez, cme all black methodists coming together focusing in the young black men in the form of recognizing the major reason why we've got so many young black brothers drifting is they have not been loved. cared for.
attended to, focused on -- first with family, then community and then at the larger level of public policy. the dilapidated housing, the disgraceful school systems, levels of unemployment, and underemployment, unavailable healthcare, unavailable child care. what does any group do when you're dangling in that way. >> that's exactly right. >> and aplayshah, if you have -- what is it people must do? better education, better school -- all these things would go a long way in order to change the siation. >> thank you. [inaudible] >> you have to use the microphone. no, come here. >> when i was listening to him speak -- i worked for the new jersey department of corrections.
and so i'm fully familiar with the difficulties. i think there's so many avenues here that you need to attack because a lot of people earn their living by continuing the correctional system. and they're white and they're black and they're hispanic. and i think when you begin -- and i think the lady that was talking about getting a ground movement -- because politicians really respond and have to respond to many letters that come in to their offices. prison administrators have to respond to letters coming in to the prison. so you do have to attack things from this ground level and drown them and having to answer those letters. i'm thinking about the other people you have to from you. -- influence. all these people earning money in the black system.
they're black brothers, black sisters, white brothers, white sisters. you have to get in their heads. they got into the system saying these people are worthless. they belong here. but the other piece is you can go into new jersey state prison. but i'm wondering if you would also consider going into the new jersey training school for boys and the other places where they keep girls. because when i was in training, some of these young -- they called them delinquents would come over to me because i looked like a parent to they mean. they don't have parents. they're in the system. and what do they have. it's like you went to college and your sons went here. they have a member in new jersey state prison. a sister in clinton. and this is their claim to fame. he brings up the spirit of saving a lot of people. and so not only would we want to save him, but we need to work at
that lower level in the churches or wherever where all the people get dressed up nice-nice and get into their heads about some of these things that need to be changed. >> that's true. >> thank you. that was great. >> my friend jean ross. >> eloquent. absolutely right. >> i think we have time for maybe two more. pam, would you please cough on up here. i know that you won't unless i insist. so i just wanted you to say a word. >> on the move. on the move. [applause] >> i am really overwhelmed at what i see here tonight. i had no idea that this would be this big. you know, thank you. you know, mumia -- you know, i was listening to one of the people who was saying about, you know -- mumia being innocent and, you know, the truth. and do they execute people, you know, like that?
i remember when a brother by the name named herrara headlines, is it right to kill an innocent man? i was outraged. how could somebody ask a question like that? and then the answer came -- i mean, we all should have been in an uproar going against the governor because it was a question what they were going to do with this brother of herrara. there was evidence that he was innocent. the answer came out that yes it's all right to kill an innocent man as long as they had a fair trial and they killed herrara. that falls on us as a people. to allow these people to dare put something out like that without a massive response. but because we did not rise to
the occasion on that, then we had others. we had zion israel and many, many more. and i heard people say if they died there will be fire in the skies. i looked around and, you know, i didn't see a match strike and a puff of smoke anywhere. and i'm saying people who challenge this government and say that we're sick and tired of it and, you know, it's just words to these people, until we set an example that we're not going to accept it anymore -- and sister johanna, she said, you know, in every lifetime there's someone who comes forth that is sent to us with an example, jesus christ was one. and, you know, jesus christ wasn't drug up to that cross by some angry mob. he was drug there by the government who framed him.
he was the best, well-known person that sat on death row and was framed. but he didn't die because -- he died because of apathy. because people should have rushed and should have did what was right but that was the example. what we need to do now and our people got to understand there's only two things happening with mumia's case. life in prison without the possibility of parole or death sentence. there's nothing else. you can bring in all the evidence you want because the judge said very clearly -- you know, you can bring in evidence but these are the only two things that's happening. and a lot of people don't understand that. if he would get a hearing, it don't mean -- he can bring all the evidence he want. it doesn't mean he's coming out of there. and these things have got to be challenged. am i right there? yes. and so, you know, a lot of people waiting around to find out which thing is going to happen. is it going to be death because
if it is, it's going to be fire in the sky so some people say -- i'm saying it's going to be fire in the sky before you get, you know, executed. and, you know, i'm not pushing fire in the sky other than people throwing their fists up and going up against this government. we had the civil rights investigation going and that's something that can work. and people say but it hadn't. yes have it worked. and i'll give you an example. in philadelphia -- there was three young new black panther members -- they said violated something when the president was being elected. they put him up on charges. they indicted him. those charges was dropped from the justice department. these are three black men that didn't have no political background. there was nobody in the streets throwing their fists up in the air. there was no big political movement. how did this happen?
i don't know. but it's an example of what -- how is it when you have a country like france who named a street after mumia to bring attention to what was happening with mumia. paris made mumia an honorary citizen to bring attention to the case of mumia, to make people rise up. and our brother fidel castro in cuba have hundreds of thousands of people in the street. and sister fernandez and -- when you were saying it was two times we beat that death warrant back? no, it was three. but a lot of people don't know that first time because they don't want you to know about the power of a movement. it's the power of not only a movement but a legal movement. and we demand it. when governor -- we found out governor casey was going to sign mumia's death warrant. we went to the late great state
representative david p. richardson and asked him, you know, how do we go to see the governor? and he said, pam, he said you can't see the governor. the death warrant haven't been signed but we have inside information that death warrant is selected already. and the only way you're going to be able to see the governor you've got to bring a massive movement. you want to make a long story short, we did that. we brought people -- i mean, you know, and it was started in a small grassroots movement and it was mostly grassroots people. it was the cure organization. it was prison organizations. it was the mother and the father and the sister and the brother who were sick and tired of, you know, injustice that was happening. and we all came together. and we went on in to harrisburg. and it looked like a massive, mighty tidal wave coming up against this government. and they looked and they were like what the heck is this, right? and so i'm saying that movement there forced the movement with
the pennsylvania attorney general whose claim to fame is enhave no meetings with black folks. they had never had a meeting with him but casey told him you got to meet with these people because they've never seen anything like what we brought in there. and when we met with him, we had the lawyers. we had state representatives. we have congress people. we have people from france and italy coming there and presenting the case of mumia. all the facts and he sat there with himself and he says, well -- in fact, they ended the meeting they thought he would end it in 10 and 15 minutes and finally they said, okay, we're finished. and then he says, well, i'm going to let you know this. and mumia's death warrant was on casey's desk and it was team off. but he said i'm going to tell you this, in six months, mumia's death warrant will be signed and on casey's death. he said how do i know?
i was the one who selected and put it there. well, when people came up they were thoroughly upset. this man -- we told you, pam, if you do this what would happen it gave a birth to a moment. people in the streets, people all because nobody really believed that they would do this to mumia. the hopes and things were destroyed. and action had to come about. as a result of that. governor casey never signed that death warrant. and that was the first one. and that's the power of the people. and they don't want you to know that. the only time most people here is when most people that was around even the lawyers and things that was there and witnessed it and was a part of it -- and when they seen that death warrant go back, you know, it's not in your books anymore. -- anywhere. i know what people can do.
withholder, as the first black u.s. attorney general, you know, and we're looking for something from him, we got to massively get in the street the same way we was in the street when we wanted obama -- those of us who wanted obama in office. and we was on the street corners signing, you know -- sign up. i'm saying here you go. this is cards to obama -- not obama. to the attorney general calling for him to have a civil rights investigation on mumia. and then you release mumia based on the evidence that you find out. because if you look at this case, the only thing that you can do is release mumia based on judicial and prosecutorial misconduct. and the terrorism that has been heaped upon people. david p. richardson on august the 12th -- we had a massive demonstration. and he stood there. and he challenged and he told
people about the innocence of mumia. and he said don't be afraid of these chumps. they're supposed to execute mumia on garvey's birthday august the 17th to 12:00. david dies. i have the cards and i also have the stamps if you give me the money for the stamps i'll give you the card and we'll put them in the mail tonight and let's do a movement. long live revolution >> sister pam, sister pam, sister pam! love you. love you. >> power to the people. >> love you, love you. >> my friend, jean cross. >> i'm going to be very brief -- >> unfortunately, i do have to go. go ahead. >> i'm going to be really brief and i'm so glad that i'm
speaking after pam africa. the first thing is that over the last 12 months there were about eight hearings on the criminal justice system in new jersey held. they were real legislative hearings convened by the then majority leader bonnie watson coleman. at those hearings people came out family members of prisoners people who are working with reentering prisoners around the country came out. and they spoke about the conditions of the prison. they spoke about the sentencing laws. this was a -- these were community hearings not just hearings in the state house in trenton. out of those hearings came three little bills that were just passed in the lame duck session of the noonl legislature. -- new jersey legislature. it was something and a start and something to give us hope. the people who worked on putting together those hearings, the
people who helped abolish the death penalty in new jersey, new jerseyans for alternatives to the death penalty, those people will be continuing working for us. we'll be making known the things that we will be doing to continue the work in the legislature. because these little bills, although they had a couple of good things in them, just scratched the service. bonnie watson coleman said to us a week ago at a hearing -- she said -- i'm sorry. it was a celebration. it wasn't a hearing. she said we just scratched the surface. she said don't go on to another issue. stick with us. we've got to work. that's the first thing i want to tell you. the second thing is, it should be of particular interest to this audience and that is we're down the block from new jersey state prison. there are about 2,000 people in new jersey state application it aspires to be a super max. half the people in new jersey state prison are in solitary confinement. they are being disciplined. 95% of the people in that prison are in little cells for 22 1/2
hours not being disciplined because there are no programs. they've been decimating the educational programs. we have in this audience people from the abc literacy product one of the responses here. they cut out one of the peer educational programs in the prison. we have a new commissioner -- on monday there's going to be senate judiciary hearings about presumably they will confirm gary lanigan of the department of corrections. we need educators for mumia to stand with us, to go to that commissioner and say we need education in the prison. not for the folks who are getting out in 18 months but for everybody but we need it as soon as possible. we need to get that program back up and running. and we need your help. there are people here -- i'm pointing. >> thanks a lot. because i think that's a wonderful place for me to leave. and with apologies. thank you very much for your invitation. [applause] >> absolutely.
can i just say one thing. can i say one last thing. this has been a magnificent evening. i do want to invoke the spirit of brother howard zinn. sister pam africa talking about movement. he left such a great example. and theodore cross whom we just lost bearing dtance runners and that's what we're talking about when we're talking about wrestling with the prison industrial complex. thank you so much, virginia thanks so much. [applause] >> thank you. thanks so much, dr. west. dr. fernandez for your ation mu let's keep fighting. we need to do this again. >> beautiful, beautiful. [applause]
>> mumia is a former black panther party member convicted of killing a police officer in 1982. he awaits the pennsylvania appellate court decision on whether his original sentence will be carried out or commuted to life in prison. he's the author of several books including live from death row and we want freedom. for more information, visit citylights.com. >> in his book "the next 100 years" a forecast for the 21st century, george friedman predicts which countries will rise in power and where the wars will be fought over the next century. he spoke at the carnegie council in new york city for about an hour. >> g