Happy Birthday, Mumia! May God Grant You Health, Peace, and Freedom!
April 28, 2016 by Herbert Daughtry
On Sunday, April 24, 2016, it was Mumia Abu-Jamal’s birthday. He turned 62. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982 for the 1981 murder of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Mumia spent over 30 years on death row. After numerous appeals, his conviction was upheld, but the death sentence was set aside; and, he was re-sentenced to life in prison without parole. From the beginning, many people including celebrities questioned the fairness of the decision. Mumia always maintained his innocence.
Significantly, two weeks after Mumia’s trial, 15 of the 35 police officers who collected evidence at the crime scene of Officer Faulkner’s shooting were convicted and jailed on charges which included graft, corruption, extortion, and tampering with evidence to obtain convictions in hundreds of cases. Chief Inspector Alfonzo Giordano who led the crime scene investigation in Mumia’s case was among those convicted officers.
On Friday, April 22, 2016, we journeyed to Philadelphia, PA to participate in a rally for Mumia. After the rally, there was a march to Governor Tom Wolfe’s office to meet with the Governor. The rally did happen, but the Governor indicated that he would not meet. The march took place anyway. The letter was delivered to the Governor’s assistant by Ms. Suzanne Ross, Mr. Keith Cook (Mumia’s brother), and Mr. Joe Piette.
Specifically, the primary focus of the rally, march, and proposed meeting with the Governor was the health of Mumia and thousands of other prisoners. The following is the letter that was delivered to the Governor. The letter is of paramount importance. Not only does it address the health issue of Mumia and thousands of incarcerated persons, it records vital information regarding Mumia’s trial and appeals. Many organizations and individuals, even from foreign countries, have signed the letter. If you would love to sign the letter, contact: Pam Africa – 267-760-7344; Joe Piette – 610-931-2615; or, Suzanne Ross – 917-584-2135.
April 20, 2016
The Honorable Tom Wolf
Governor of Pennsylvania
508 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Dear Governor Tom Wolf:
In this election season, we are writing on behalf of a growing movement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and beyond. We are concerned with the failure of the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) to administer the known Hepatitis C cure to Mumia Abu-Jamal and the 7,000 to 10,000 other Pennsylvania prisoners who are suffering with the disease. As the top elected official of Pennsylvania, you have been sworn to protect the rights of all of the people of your state and respond to their grievances. We are appalled at the civic indifference demonstrated by your repeated failure to respond to our multiple requests for a meeting.
After more than a year of requests, we are writing, once again, for an immediate in-person meeting to discuss this life and death issue. The failure to cure prisoners of this debilitating and contagious, life-threatening disease of the liver is a violation in Pennsylvania of the U.S. Constitution’s 8th amendment ban on cruel and usual punishment and of international human rights laws. In addition, the failure to medically cure prisoners with Hep C, many of whom will return to their communities, is exacerbating a widely-known public health crisis, which disproportionately devastates African Americans and other communities of color, as well as poor and working class people throughout your state.
In March 2016, we delivered to your office our most recent request for a meeting, to which your office failed to respond. On April 19, 2016, after the failure of a response to our second letter of April 7, we called your office to follow-up. We spoke to your office manager, Jalila Parker, in Philadelphia, who offered a compromise. She would meet with us briefly to accept petitions for delivery to you. Because of her lack of authority to discuss this matter, we rejected her proposal. During our conversation by phone, she also informed us, erroneously, that per your website’s instructions, your office responds to requests within 6 to 8 weeks of their receipt. However, your website, which we consulted when we sent our March request, only offers instructions for “greetings, proclamations, and recognition of personal and professional milestones.” Surely you must recognize that the nature of our request is different from those outlined on your site. It involves a government policy issue. It is not a ceremonial gathering. Ours is an urgent matter and involves the life and death of residents of your state, and it requires immediate response.
Even if such requests required a 6 to 8-week response from your office, we find extremely callous your failure to respond to our requests about this matter, especially since we have submitted them to your office in many different forms over the last year. As early as April 29, 2015, when Mumia Abu-Jamal was deathly ill, leaders of the movement to free him held a press conference in the Rotunda in Harrisburg, and delivered a letter to your office, demanding immediate and appropriate care for Mr. Abu-Jamal, which our movement was gladly willing to provide. That letter was signed by dozens of noted international leaders, headed by Archbishop Desmund Tutu and Minister Louis Farrakhan. You never responded to that letter.
Since March 30, 2015, when Mr. Abu-Jamal fell into diabetic shock and was hospitalized due to Hep C complications, your office has received thousands of calls demanding a response to this crisis. In addition, in a letter dated October 21, 2015, a member of the European Parliament, Patrick Le Hyaric, also requested a meeting with you, which you denied. Le Hyaric formed part of a French delegation to the US that visited Mr. Abu-Jamal as part of a fact-finding mission on the failure of the PA Department of Corrections to cure Mr. Abu-Jamal and other PA prisoners suffering with Hepatitis C.
… to be continued.