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Word. An Open Letter to the American People from President Nicolás Maduro

Mindless obedience and determined ignorance are killing people and causing an incredible amount of suffering. Wake up, people…

Tony Seed's Weblog

2019.02.maduro-letter Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

If I know anything, it is about peoples, such as you. I am a man of the people. I was born and raised in a poor neighborhood of Caracas. I forged myself in the heat of popular and union struggles in a Venezuela submerged in exclusion and inequality. I am not a tycoon, I am a worker of reason and heart. Today I have the great privilege of presiding over the new Venezuela, rooted in a model of inclusive development and social equality, which was forged by Commander Hugo Chávez since 1998 inspired by the Bolivarian legacy.

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Yale RebLaw Conference Rescinds Keynote Offer To Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 1, 2019

UNDER PRESSURE, YALE REBLAW CONFERENCE RESCINDS KEYNOTE OFFER TO PHILLY D.A. LARRY KRASNNER

Instead Invites Political Prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal

In their letter to RebLaw, they said, “The so-called progressive Larry Krasner is hell-bent on keeping [Mumia’s case] out of the appellate process. Larry Krasner was voted into office by the Black, working-class people of Philadelphia, but in the hour of truth, he has upheld the rulings of racist judges [in this case] and is doing the bidding of one of the country’s most corrupt and homicidal police forces.”

The signers added: “Prosecutors, those managers of the oppressive state, regardless of the rhetoric they may espouse during a campaign, should not be invited to speak at a conference for Rebellious Lawyering.”

Signator attorney Anneke Dunbar-Gronke noted, “Krasner will go down in history as the well-meaning, “progressive” DA who opposed justice in the case of the Nelson Mandela of our time.”

Harvard Law Student Felipe Hernández concluded, “The lesson here is that in the mind of a progressive DA, justice is doled out selectively and only when there is no real political risk involved. Thankfully the conference participants will hear from Mumia, an actual jailhouse lawyer—and pinnacle of rebellious lawyering.”

Feb. 1, 2019

Dear RebLaw attendees and comrades,

REBLAW 25 centers on a question: how can rebellious lawyers engage with our existing institutions and government? In other words, are there just and effective ways that grassroots movements can wield power through electoral politics?

In this spirit, we invited Larry Krasner, the District Attorney for Philadelphia, to serve as one of our keynote speakers. We invited a prosecutor to a Rebellious Lawyering conference hoping to foster a critical conversation about what place, if any, prosecutors should have in rebellious lawyering. Larry Krasner has spent the majority of his career as a defense attorney and civil rights lawyer, building solidarity with communities he has served. He has consistently challenged the power and credibility of law enforcement. Inevitably, prosecutors are implicated in the deep injustices of the system they serve. But as a DA, Larry Krasner has largely shown an admirable, if imperfect, new approach by using his office to challenge the morality and logic of incarceration and to divert police resources away from the project of controlling communities of color.

Given this record, we were disturbed to hear that DA Krasner will challenge the court decision giving Mumia Abu-Jamal the right to re-appeal his conviction of the 1981 death of a white Philadelphia police officer. Mumia, a longtime political activist and writer who has always maintained his innocence, spent decades on death row and is now serving a life sentence without parole. Mumia’s case is marred by injustices, including clear evidence of systematic racial bias, political targeting, conflicts of interest and police corruption. In short, Mumia’s case illustrates many of the pervasive injustices that Krasner campaigned against.

Like many of you, we were immediately troubled by DA Krasner’s decision when it was announced. Because this issue is so important—and because as RebLaw directors we strive to make decisions together, incorporating the voices of our communities—we waited to release this letter until we had a chance to reflect, discuss and determine how to best advance the goals and values that RebLaw embodies.

We cannot understand how DA Krasner’s decision in this case serves justice or the transformative vision that he ran on. We also hear and deeply appreciate the voices of the law students and activists calling on us to take action in response.

We have rescinded Larry Krasner’s invitation to serve as a keynote speaker at RebLaw, and we strongly urged him to drop his appeal. We asked the DA, instead, to join activists in a conversation about the promise and perils of “progressive prosecution,” including directly discussing his decision to appeal Mumia’s court decision. The DA declined to take part in such a conversation.

It was communities of color who lifted up Larry Krasner to a position of power. He is obligated to respond to those same movements as he wields the power the community has vested in him. We are working with activists to craft programming that examines both Mumia’s case and the successes and limitations of DA Krasner’s regime.

We look forward to coming together with all of you at REBLAW.

In solidarity,

REBLAW 25 Directors

Posted by: info@freemumia.com

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition, NYC
P.O. Box 16, College Station, NY, NY 10030
212-330-8029, http://www.FreeMumia.com, info@FreeMumia.com

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Latest News On The Case Of Mumia Abu-Jamal

 

http://www.philly.com/news/philadelphia-da-office-appeal-mumia-abu-jamal-judge-leon-tucker-20190125.html

Philly DA’s Office appeals judge’s ruling on Mumia Abu-Jamal

by Chris Palmer, Updated: January 25, 2019

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office on Friday appealed a judge’s ruling that convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal should be allowed to reargue his appeal before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The decision is the latest development in the long-running post-conviction saga of Abu-Jamal, 64, a former Black Panther and sometime radio reporter serving a life sentence for the Dec. 9, 1981, shooting death of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, 25, at 13th and Locust Streets.

The District Attorney’s Office did not comment beyond filing its notice of appeal.

Judith Ritter, an attorney for Abu-Jamal, said in an email that she was “very disappointed” by District Attorney Larry Krasner’s decision.

“Krasner’s appeal only risks delaying our opportunity to make our case to an appellate court untainted by bias,” Ritter said.

Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker ruled last month that Abu-Jamal could reargue his appeal before the high court because former Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille — who previously served as Philadelphia’s district attorney — did not recuse himself when Abu-Jamal’s case came before the court.

Tucker denied for lack of evidence an argument by Abu-Jamal that Castille had “personal involvement” in the prosecution.

Abu-Jamal’s case has moved slowly through the appeals process, which has frustrated Faulkner’s widow.

John McNesby, president of the Philadelphia police officers’ union and a frequent Krasner critic, said Friday that the district attorney’s decision to appeal was “the right thing to do.”

“Good,” he said when told of the decision. “I applaud them for doing that.”

 

January 28, 2019

We respect the trial Court and its independence as a distinct branch of government. The Philadelphia DAO’s notice of appeal reflects its agreement with some and disagreement with other aspects of the Court’s opinion. That opinion has sweeping and, in our view, problematic implications for a large volume of cases, in addition to its effect on the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Our positions will be explained in full in our legal brief.

Meanwhile, our recent discovery of additional boxes relating to the Mumia Abu-Jamal matter that were either lost or concealed by prior administrations has been disclosed. It is disturbing that these boxes were marked with the name of a supervisor from a prior administration and are numbered in a fashion that is inconsistent with information about the case entered in the DAO’s file database by a prior administration.

Since that discovery, access to those boxes has been offered to the Court and defense counsel as our constitutional obligations and transparency require.

Also, in light of the recent discovery of boxes, an exhaustive search is underway for more boxes that may be mis-marked or housed in obscure locations. Additional discoveries, if any, will be disclosed with constitutionally required transparency.”

 

From attorney Bret Grote of the Abolitionist Law Center, Pittsburgh

They are playing both sides. First, they claim the dispute with Judge Tucker’s ruling is not specific to Mumia but about its implications in general. This is different from past DA’s that have all repeatedly asserted Mumia’s guilt. This DA has yet to do that. Second, it shows a pivot to focus on misconduct of the past administrations for misrepresenting and concealing the records in this case. This latter point suggests a potential to push the DA to take a different position if further evidence of prosecutorial misconduct emerges. The statement is bullshit, and equivocation, but it shows that the office does not want to be seen in the same light as past administrations and could be susceptible to pressure down the line, it shows Krasner is vulnerable to being perceived as having been bullied by the FOP. The statement does not change his position, but it shows that the political calculus of the office has shifted and can be pushed in the future.

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The Sugar Land 95: Help us protect the sacred burial ground of our ancestors in Texas

🤯

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Manufacturing Dysfunction

I recently saw a video on youtube that I found disturbing. It may seem naive to some people for me to be disturbed that a mentally and emotionally ill person with below average intelligence would put effort into an untruthful attack on someone and post it on social media, but then again, maybe it isn’t healthy to take shameful acts of hate for granted simply because they happen so frequently.

Maybe they happen so frequently because we’ve taken them for granted for so long.

Call me unrealistic – many people that know me, do – but I don’t want to become immune to being appalled at such sordid behavior.

The video was about a talented actor, but I’m not going to name him. This rant isn’t about him, it’s about the cancerous individual – and others like him or her – who’ve learned to put aside decency and integrity in order to lash out at people who think differently than they do.

Even more so, it’s about the sadistic manipulators who manufacture these mindlessly hateful automatons like so many toys on a shelf. They then push the buttons and flick the switches they’ve placed in the emotionally charged minds of their army of defective thinkers in a war on the human mind (and heart) designed to convince more people to follow their directions and surrender the ability to think creatively and critically. It’s basically just one of the tools of distraction used to sedate the masses. (Though mindless anger mind not seem like sedation, I’m talking about sedation of creativity and logic, while enhancing and rewarding obedience).

“The public is not to see where power lies, how it shapes policy, and for what ends. Rather, people are to hate and fear one another.” – Noam Chomsky

The video associated this actor with the vile sexual predator, Harvey Weinstein. It showed him in various still photos with Weinstein, all of which showed other people involved in the movie industry as well. It showed the actor with scruffy facial hair in a couple of unflattering shots, something we subconsciously associate with being dirty and dingy. I was surprised at first because I’d heard nothing of this in the media and it would definitely be big news if there had been actual evidence.

Then, the reason for this pathetic farce became obvious: a short video of the actor saying something derogatory about donald trump.

Wow.

The disingenuous yet persuasive aura of powerful respectability surrounding donald trump has reached a level of insanity that is surreal – and frightening. I find myself wondering how so many people can see something worthwhile in such a contemptible human being. There have always been public people who were respected and/or admired who turned out to be deeply flawed. This is nothing new. But this phenomenon with trump is something very different.

There has been ample evidence for quite a few years about his lack of compassion, vile behavior and obsessive desire for wealth and fame. It may not have been as obvious outside of the New York area (I honestly don’t know since this is where I’ve lived most of my life, I watch very little television and don’t pay attention to celebrity nonsense), but far more than enough information about this man’s wretched and loathsome character became public during his campaign in 2016 and I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that he couldn’t possibly win the election. I KNEW it.

Holy shit, was I wrong about the country I’ve lived in my entire life.

“I did try and fuck her. She was married. I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

(I’m sorry to publish something so disgusting, but I’m making a point). The person who said that is the president of one of the most powerful countries in the history of the planet?

53% of the white women who bothered to vote in the 2016 U.S. election supposedly voted for that person? After that comment was made public?

He got 100% of the white supremacy vote and was (s)elected to the highest office in the land? Despite the fact that he ran against a person who supported a deeply racist crime bill while her husband was president?

What’s that? He’d be good for the economy?

“Oh, he’s a successful businessman. He’s made billions of dollars, he can run the country. He’ll reign in “liberal” spending.”

This man is the world champion of conspicuous over-consumption. CNNMoney reported that his only public company went belly-up & lost tens of millions of dollars for investors while he took in $39 million. He has had 6 bankruptcies & lost $900 million in one year.

Yeah, that’s who we want to reign in spending?

How have we gotten to this point? How can so many people choose not to care about truth? How can people who wave the U.S. flag and who identify with a political ideology that has a strong sense of nationalism wear t-shirts that espouse the idea that to be in the “other” political party in the country they live in is worse than identifying with the so-called enemy they’ve hated for decades? At the flip of a switch.

We need to talk to each other and address just how deep our fear and hate go. It is the root of the ideology of tens of millions of our fellow citizens. Can we survive this? It certainly can’t continue much longer. Lying to “others” has become commonplace in modern society. It’s an integral aspect of the system we live in, actually, the dominant belief system in much of the world. But it takes a lot of effort to lie to yourself. I think that most liars know they are lying. How much longer can they keep it up? The people who’ve sold their integrity and support this insanity don’t even get a share of the proverbial pie that the rulers consume every day. The only satisfaction I would think they get is having their “team” win the championship, having their fears and prejudices justified, being given a license to hate and feeling that they don’t have to apologize for it.

Too many of us have built a wall in our minds, a wall of dishonesty constructed from our crushed hopes and forgotten dreams. It’s time to expose the lies and address the cracks in our wall of manufactured reality. Those cracks are the ugly truths that frighten us. And they can lead us to a certain amount of freedom.

Noted author Edward Abby had some much needed wisdom on this:

“Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.”

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The Time To Act Is Now

There was some trash talking recently by a parasitic megalomaniac who has lived a life of lies and had the disgusting audacity to use the word “honesty” in public. It was a truly embarrassing thing to behold since this particular person has never understood the meaning of the word throughout an entire life of hate, greed, deceit and obsession with money. This is the type of person who talks about things to be able to profit financially, then does the opposite, for the most part, a person who helps make rules for “others” to follow. It reminded me of how far into an abyss of immorality and indecency we’ve fallen as a society. Here’s a quick story about someone a bit different who managed to play the mainstream game and become mildly successful:

There was this boy who grew up with the idea that many people call “the American dream” and who actually acted upon it. (Let’s set aside, for the time being, the fact that this idea is a clever and sordid tool of manipulation, this boy was born with the “proper” skin tone). He didn’t have much as a child, but he got up at 4 o’ clock in the morning and used what he had, turning a small profit, taking that and investing it along with hard work to grow it larger and continuing this until he had enough money to buy land.

It wasn’t a large piece of land, but he had made himself a landowner. From there he continued working hard, living simply and making sacrifices – without personally doing violence to others – paused to join the U.S. Navy to help fight Fascism during WWII, then continued working, often for the benefit of others until he made it all the way to becoming president of the United States.

This sounds like the basic blueprint of a successful, politically conservative person who screams incoherently about how the U.S. was built by unswerving entrepreneurship, waves the flag (of genocide, slavery and economic terrorism) and preaches dogmatic adherence to the state religion of Capitalism.

Who was this intelligent, patriotic, hard working entrepreneur who showed what a strong work ethic and perseverance could accomplish when the ministers of Capitalism haven’t completely taken over economic control of the country?

Was it wealthy businessman donald trump? Was it one of the wealthy Bushes? Was it the figurehead of Greed & Manipulation Inc. Ronnie Raygun? Maybe the charismatic fake democrat Bill Clinton?

No.

It was not a parasite (the first three), an imbecilic actor playing the role of a politician (the fourth) or a very clever politician who knew precisely what strings to pull to get what he wanted no matter the cost to others (the last).

It was the last person to be president of the United States whose honesty and moral courage were stronger than his ambition: Jimmy Carter.

Yes, yes, say what you will about the corporate indoctrination of “a failed presidency” or a “weak president” who didn’t have what it takes. There is some truth to the latter description. Jimmy Carter definitely did not have what it takes to kneel at the altar of fear, hate and greed, massage the egos and fatten the bank accounts of our corporate rulers and to swallow his integrity and shit it on the heads of the people of the world. He was not perfect, but no one who has been president since the Great Depression was close to as decent of a person.

However, this is not about “nice guy” Jimmy Carter. And to those who laugh derisively at the idea and loudly proclaim that being a good person is meaningless when it comes to leading people and that strength and aggression are all that counts, I say that you have forgotten what it is to be moral and what the true definition of leadership is. Strength without compassion is not courage, it is recklessness. It takes courage to stand up against hate and put its practitioners in their place, to expose them for the cowards that they are.

We’ve developed a barbaric habit in recent decades to put either vain, ambitious people (who makes us feel good) or immoral, reckless people (who make us feel protected, often from an invisible enemy) in government instead of people with the courage to show compassion and the integrity to tell the truth. It’s easy to make people smile and actually say nothing while asking them to vote for you. It’s even easier to give them a big smile and make false promises. And it’s easier still to frighten people into following you when they’ve been reared on fear and hate. It’s another thing altogether to tell people the truth and ask them to find the courage to do something they’ve never done before – in this instance, to take responsibility for our collective actions and sacrifice comfort for compassion and integrity.

And for survival.

We’ve been traveling a path toward suicide for quite a while. There are people who’ve been pointing it out and asking us to face reality and take responsibility, but the parasites who care about nothing other than personal gain tell us it’s acceptable to continue on this path. They question the wisdom of science and facts – they make war on truth – all to get us to put them in control and continue our suicidal dive into the aforementioned abyss.

“It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein

Those among us who refuse to stand up for truth, justice and integrity have been taken in by the manipulations of those who lurk about in corporate boardrooms and exist without putting anything at all into society, the parasitic rulers who want to own and control everything but have no empathy, no love, no compassion. These rulers who call themselves leaders (but who rule instead of lead) are narcissists and psychopaths who present themselves as successful by pushing the buttons of fearful people and convincing them that possession and control over others is the definition of success.

A quote from a GOP president that might be of help to those who still can’t find the decency to stop voting for a terrorist organization: “To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”

That was Theodore Roosevelt, not exactly a liberal in his day and definitely not someone who could be described as weak.

What will it take to climb out of the abyss? Maybe, instead of asking self-described leaders this question we need to ask ourselves. What can each of us do to stop this madness?

Working a job without regard to the consequences of that particular business or that industry, obediently making more babies, obediently consuming whatever the con men in advertising obediently tell us we “need” and blaming only “others” instead of looking at what we can do just won’t work. It never has. Industry still gets a free ride on the taxpayer’s “dime” while brutalizing the workforce and contaminating the planet. Overpopulation is strangling all of us. Our repugnant selfishness has become mindless suicide.

And who we elect (if we finally choose electing over selecting here in the U.S.) to lead us into a possible future is a reflection of who we are to the rest of the world. The United States is at the end of its reign as the dominant force in global politics. The end might drag on, but it is upon us. Consider the state of affairs in this country (shithole?) and it should come as no surprise to those who have retained some capacity for understanding. The section of the U.S. population who gave away their ability to think for themselves and who dwell in an echo chamber of self-indulgent preaching to the insane choir due to a delusional, oxymoronic combination of ignorance and arrogance will be bludgeoned with the inevitable club of reality one day.

Is it too late to reach them? Is it too late to teach them? Maybe. Maybe we need to do what it takes and let them wallow in their fear and hate while we save them as well as ourselves. Maybe that’s the lesson we need to learn. Whatever choices we make, the time to act is now.

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Updates On Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Quest For Freedom

From the MumiaNYC Website:

Philly D.A.’s Office finds file boxes in Abu-Jamal case
by Robert Moran, Updated: January 9, 2019- 9:53 PM

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has informed a judge that prosecutors have found six boxes of files in the case of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal that may be significant to his appeals effort. Or, they could just be copies of existing documents.

In a Jan. 3 letter to Common Pleas Court Judge Leon W. Tucker, Assistant District Attorney Tracey Kavanagh wrote that the boxes were discovered Dec. 28, a day after Tucker ruled that Abu-Jamal can reargue an appeal before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

In his 36-page decision filed Dec. 27, Tucker noted that prosecutors had failed to produce two documents they were obligated to preserve while Abu-Jamal’s appeals were active. The unavailability of the documents could be prejudicial to Abu-Jamal, but the prosecutors’ conduct was not egregious, Tucker said.

Kavanagh wrote in the Jan. 3 letter that the District Attorney’s Office was reviewing the contents of the six boxes and the judge was welcome to take a look, too.

Ben Waxman, spokesperson for District Attorney Larry Krasner, said Wednesday in an email that the boxes were being made available for review to Abu-Jamal’s lawyers. The letter was released to the media Wednesday.

Kavanagh explained that on Dec. 28, “the D.A. and members of his staff went to a remote and largely inaccessible room of the District Attorney’s Office marked ‘Storage,’ looking for office furniture.”

They discovered the boxes, which were labeled with variations of Abu-Jamal’s name and were designated as “18/29, 21/29, 23/29, 24/29, 29/29. The sixth had no numbering.”

Five of the boxes also were marked with the name “McCann.” Edward McCann was a high-level supervisor in the District Attorney’s Office who left the office in 2015.

Kavanagh wrote: “This means the Commonwealth’s prior representations that it had produced the complete file for this Court’s review in this case were incorrect, although those representations were based upon a diligent search and were accurate to the best of the Commonwealth’s knowledge at the time.”

Prosecutors had previously delivered to the court what they said was their complete file in the Abu-Jamal case, which included 32 boxes with each being marked as “1 of 31, 2 of 32, 3 of 32, etc.”

Lawyers for Abu-Jamal did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night. McCann declined to comment on the development.

In his ruling, Tucker wrote that Abu-Jamal can reargue his appeal because former Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille did not recuse himself due to his prior role as Philadelphia district attorney when Abu-Jamal was appealing his case.

Abu-Jamal, 64, a former Black Panther and sometime radio reporter, is serving a life sentence for the Dec. 9, 1981, shooting death of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, 25, at 13th and Locust Streets.

Staff writer Chris Palmer contributed to this article

 

My own observations about this article:

1. The term “convicted cop-killer”, though technically accurate, is a common technique to lean in a specific direction while not actually being incorrect. It causes a specific reaction in the reader which very likely creates a negative feeling about someone who, in this particular case, is a compassionate, articulate person who made a decision to help others rather than himself, who was hunted by “law” enforcement and goaded into a fatal confrontation simply for being a member of a group created to help black people survive in a hostile country with a definite presence of white supremacy throughout the corridors of power – especially in the areas of law enforcement and the judicial system and who has been a model prisoner dedicated to truth and justice since his biased and unjust incarceration.

2. Is it a coincidence that one day after Judge Tucker ruled the the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office “had failed to produce two documents they were obligated to preserve while Abu-Jamal’s appeals were active” and that the unavailability of the documents “could be prejudicial to Abu-Jamal”, that these documents were mysteriously found? It is possible that if they weren’t produced that Mumia’s case would improve distinctly – possibly causing a mistrial? Or, is it also possible that a judge could possibly have signed off on a search warrant allowing defense attorneys to search for additional records? I honestly don’t have knowledge about the law to know the answer, but it is interesting to ponder the possibilities.

3. A spokesperson for D.A. Larry Krasner said “that the boxes were being made available for review to Abu-Jamal’s lawyers.” I wonder how much time will elapse between the D.A.’s office finding the boxes and the time that Mumia’s attorneys will have access to them. And, also, how many people in the D.A.’s office will be working at collating material and possibly taking papers out to put in their own “special” file.

4. “This means the Commonwealth’s prior representations that it had produced the complete file for this Court’s review in this case were incorrect, although those representations were based upon a diligent search and were accurate to the best of the Commonwealth’s knowledge at the time.” How diligent of a search? And it’s disingenuous to say it was “accurate to the best of the Commonwealth’s knowledge” since someone in their employ apparently hid that information at some point.

 

Also from the MumiaNYC Website:

Special Report: New and Favorable Development’s in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal

Saturday, January 12, 2019, 3 pm
The People’s Forum
320 West 37th Street, New York City

Speakers:
Pam Africa, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; MOVE
Johanna Fernandez, Campaign to Bring Mumia Home; History Professor, Baruch College
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report
Bob Boyle, Mumia’s Civil Rights Attorney

MC:
Robyn Spencer, Campaign to Bring Mumia Home; History Professor, Lehman College