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Approximately 100 gathered outside of the Department of Justice in Washington, DC today (Apr. 24) to recognize the born day of Mumia Abu Jamal and, as Angela Davis said, “to breathe life into the old Labor slogan, ‘an injury to one is an injury to all.'” Hip-hop and reggae blasted from the speakers on the makeshift stage as leaders of various organizations decried mass incarceration; the death penalty, solitary confinement and torture; and immigrant detainment. Immigrants, Davis noted on a video posted to the Occupy Wall St. site, are the fastest growing group of prisoners in the U.S. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
Chants of “We are the 99 percent!” rose from the crowd signifying the continued “Occupy” movement for the elimination of corruption from the democratic process.
Demands included a release of Mumia Abu Jamal and the creation of jobs and public schools rather than jails.
M-1 of dead prez and actor Danny Glover are among the public figures scheduled to join the civil disobedience rally.
One woman came with one of two “Yes We Can Free Mumia!” signs held. Abu Jamal supporters, who consider him wrongly convicted, have asked for a presidential pardon.
Trayvon Martin’s memory was also invoked as people protested the criminalization of African-American and Latino youth. Like Abu Jamal’s case, the incidents surrounding Martin’s death have been heavily debated in the court of public opinion, often with racial overtones.
Activist and journalist Mumia Abu Jamal (born Wesley Cook) was sentenced to death row in 1982 for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer. In January of this year, he was removed from death row, but remains incarcerated.
– Sia Barnes