Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Writers for Mumia

The struggle to save the life of and free political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, the revolutionary writer imprisoned on death row in Pennsylvania for nearly 30 years now, is at a critical juncture. Since the most recent court ruling against him, the state could move to set an execution date at any time. The last time they tried that, back in the 1990s, his supporters thronged to Philadelphia for a mass demonstration whose anger and energy convinced the racist cops and prosecutors to back off.

The next step in the struggle at this point is to go to Washington, D.C., this coming Monday, April 26. At a news conference and rally, Mumia's supporters will demand that the Justice Department open a civil rights investigation into the case.

Two days before the D.C. actions, this Saturday, April 24, is Mumia's birthday. Here in New York City, there will be a gathering of writers, poets, musicians and activists to wish him long life and share our words, our art, our energy and our organizing ideas for continuing this long fight that will not end until our brother is free. I'm happy to say that I'll be taking part. I'll read a poem or two. Possibly, if it's not too long, the middle one of these three that were published six years ago in the Mississippi Review, because it has to do with Mumia. I'll bring along a couple of others in case there's time. Which there probably won't be. Look at the lineup! The event is sponsored by the National Writers Union along with the New York Coalition to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, and it takes place at St. Mary's Church in Harlem, site of many peace-and-justice events and home church of Rev. Luis Barrios, a great friend to all who fight for a better world. I'm really looking forward to it.

If you're not familiar with Mumia's case, or you are but want to learn more, you might want to head over to to order some of his books.