Subject: [coc_ncc] National Conference on Mumia
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 17:34:23 EST
National Conference on Mumia
The Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism has committed its resources and members to the fight against capital punishment and for justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal. The CofC is part of the planning for this national conference in New York City on Saturday Feb. 19. Members and friends are urged to try to attend and bring others. Chapters are encouraged to send a member. Distribute the call widely. If members need housing, let the national office know.
A Call to Organizations and Organizers
Emergency National Conference to Save Mumia Abu Jamal
Saturday, February 19, 2000
At the Synod Hall of the Cathedral of St. John The Divine, New York, NY
The case of Death Row Journalist Mumia Abu Jamal stands at a pivotal point in the fight against capital punishment and for justice in this country and around the world.
This case is now at its most critical stage. Federal District court Justice William Yohn is reviewing Mumia's petition for habeas corpus relief based on allegations of 29 constitutional violations. This is Mumia's final legal avenue and will determine whether or not he is granted a new and fair trial. It is expected that Yohn's decision on whether to hear new evidence will be handed down sometime in March or April. If we lose at this level, it will be immeasurably harder to win in the federal appeals courts. After this stage, the appeals process is very rapid and could result in a new execution date before the end of 2000.
Obviously much work must be done to affect the outcome of Judge Yohn's deliberations. In order to be successful we need to have a unified vision and strategy. Thus we are calling an Emergency National Conference to Save Mumia Abu Jamal to take place in New York City on February 19. A major goal is to provide an opportunity for a wide array of social forces to come together and strategize for this next round in the fight. Participation of increasingly wider forces will send an important and timely message that justice is the only option in this case.
As organizations and institutions concerned about social justice, due process, racism, police brutality, and the death penalty we are calling on you to join this effort by endorsing this conference, by joining the planning committee, by publicizing, and by participating in the event itself.
The heart of the conference will be a series of workshops designed to strategize around key constituencies and areas of work (e.g., legal, religious, youth mobilization, organizing in communities of color, and labor) Each of these sessions will come out, not only with a plan, but with a structure to implement that plan. Prior to breaking up into workshops a short plenary session will launch the conference with one speaker describing the day's goal. One of Mumia's attorneys will give a brief legal update and assessment of where things stand in the courts at this juncture.
The evening will be devoted to "a public session to remember." This will be a program that tells Mumia's story -- an artfully crafted series of presentations on Mumia's life and his writings. This session will bring both educational content and an emotional impact. Here we are inviting the participation of major artists. The evening program will be open to the public, and a video will be made. It will pose to people Alice Walker's penetrating question "with whom do you want to walk into the next century?"
We must emphasize the emergency of the moment as well as making sure that the organizing committee represents the people and organizations who must now become involved. We are inviting several levels of pre-conference participation: 1) the actual organizing committee, 2) a national advisory board who will be consulted at every step, and 3) sub-committees for the individual workshops.
The conference will map out a battle plan to save Mumia's life and provide direction for what role organizations and individuals can and must play in that plan. It will lay plans for a major mobilization in Philadelphia on the first day of Mumia's hearing in federal court.
Legal: Can we organize a major public statement by the legal community? How to we get the amicus briefs on the key legal issues? How do we get resolutions by local bar associations, and programs in law schools? How do we assist the legal team to start work now on the legal research and papers that will be needed for various contingencies?
Youth: This should be led by youth and perhaps this should be an all-day session. How do we make the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal the issue that "tears up" the campuses and high-schools this winter and spring? How to we take on the right-wing anti-Mumia forces trying to reach youth?
Religious: How can we expand the excellent statement already being signed by persons of faith into a nationally publicized statement? How can we systematically reach the congregations of major religious denominations? How can we develop acts of witness by religious forces (here work around the School of the Americas is a good model)?
Black Community and other people of color: How do we make the case of Mumia into a central felt concern of the Black community as a whole? How can we get the Black churches to take this up? How do we put this case in the center of the Black media from local papers to BET? How do we reach influential groups like the NAACP, Operation PUSH, the King family, and AKA? Community and political outreach to other communities of color including Latino, Asian, etc. must also be a focal point of this conference and workshops.
Media: How can we get major authors to write a major piece on this case for prominent national publications? Can we hit the other side with a series of full page ads through the winter and spring (educators, religious figures, lawyers, etc.)? How can we continue to develop the support of the alternative media? Who will produce the needed Public Service Announcements?
The Battle in Philadelphia: How can we develop more expressions of support in Philadelphia for justice for Mumia? Going up against the attacks by the Fraternal Order of Police, the city, and the local media on Mumia's supporters. Mobilizing for Mumia's coming court appearances.
Artists & Writers: Building on Mumia 911 and other efforts, how can we unleash the talents of writers and artists to continue to create moving images and sounds for Mumia? An example is the statement in the Nation by Angela Davis, June Jordan, and Alice Walker.
Labor: Building on the labor actions in the Bay Area and elsewhere, what forms can actions by organized working people now take? How can we continue the union resolutions working toward pressure on the national union leaderships to take action?
Lesbian/gay/bi/trans Outreach: Broad layers of the lesbian/gay/bi/trans movement have taken interest in Mumia's case in the wake of the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard. How can we broaden the Rainbow Flags for Mumia coalition which has been endorsed by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, LLEGO, and Pride at Work?
Special Events: How can we promote and make most effective the major rallies and mobilizations in the first half of 2000. Plans for the Republican National Convention hosted by Gov. Tom Ridge in Philadelphia in August, and to challenge Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell at the Democratic Convention for his prosecution of Mumia.
Civil Disobedience: What better place than here? What better time than now? Building on the example of the mass arrests July 4th 1999 at Philadelphia's Liberty Bell - shouldn't this case become the issue over which people of conscience are prepared to act?
Anti-Death Penalty Movement: So much of the speeded-up death penalty is concentrated in Mumia's case, and Mumia speaks for all death row inmates. Prisoners on death row everywhere are watching this effort with both hope and dread. How can we bring Mumia's case more to the center of the anti-death penalty movement?
International Support: A major component of pressure on the government comes from throughout the world. That has included statements by world leaders, a resolution of the European Parliament, and activity by organizations such as Amnesty International. These efforts need more coordination and greater publicity in the United States.
Racism and the Death Penalty: What happened to Mumia is typical of what happens to young Black men in the criminal justice system. Knowing how racism is used in the application of the death penalty is key to the understanding why Mumia is on death row.
Police Torture and Falsified Confessions: Using the example of eleven Illinois death row inmates who were tortured into making confessions. The recent exposure of both police torture and fabricated confessions in Illinois give us a window on the need for an immediate halt to executions.
Mumia 101: This would be the place for a thorough introduction to the case, and the issues that are concentrated in it, for the many new people who will be drawn to the conference.
Please circulate this call and endorse the Emergency National Conference to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal
Registration information: Solidarity Registration--$25, Basic Registration--$15, Student Registration--$5. Make checks payable to "National Lawyers Guild/NYC Chapter" and mark in the memo field "Feb 19 Conference."
Mail to: Emergency National Conference to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal, c/o Center for Constitutional Rights, 666 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-2317. E-mail address is
City, State, Zip __________________________________________________
Phone _________________________ E-mail _________________________
__ $25, Solidarity Registration
__ $15, Regular Registration
__ $5, Student Registration
Please indicate the two workshops you are most interested in (see list above):