Partisan Defense Committee Letter

8 March 2007

Honor Mumia Abu-Jamal!

PDC Letter on NYC Street-Naming

The following letter was sent by the Partisan Defense Committee to Christine C. Quinn, Speaker of the New York City Council, on March 8.

We are writing to join the efforts to have a New York City street named after Mumia Abu-Jamal. A fighter for black freedom from the age of 14, Mumia’s name should take its place on a street sign beside such champions of black rights as Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass in this center of black culture, with this crucial difference: a street named for Mumia must honor a living fighter for the rights of the oppressed and exploited.

A Black Panther Party spokesman in his youth, later a supporter of the MOVE organization and award-winning journalist known as the “voice of the voiceless,” Mumia was framed up in 1982 on false charges of killing a Philadelphia police officer. Sentenced to death based on his political history and beliefs, Mumia has spent over 24 years on death row for a crime that cops and prosecutors know he did not commit. The frame-up of Mumia Abu-Jamal shows what the death penalty is all about. It is a legacy of chattel slavery and a barbaric outrage; it is the lynch rope made legal.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an innocent man. Mumia’s case exemplifies the race and class bias of the U.S. justice system against workers, black people, the poor and all the oppressed. The notorious trial judge, Albert Sabo, was overheard promising, “I’m going to help them fry the n----r.” Racist jury-rigging, false testimony coerced through police threats and prosecutorial cover-up were the basis for Mumia’s conviction. Both the Pennsylvania state courts and the federal courts have refused to consider the reams of documented evidence that prove Mumia’s innocence. Foremost is the sworn confession of Arnold Beverly that he, not Mumia, shot and killed the police officer, and that Mumia had nothing to do with the shooting.

Millions around the world have seen Mumia’s case as a rallying point against the barbaric and racist death penalty in the U.S. Representatives of the Partisan Defense Committee and our French sister organization, the Comité de Défense Sociale, participated in the ceremonies last April when a street in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis was designated Rue Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to condemn Saint-Denis for its symbolic act honoring Mumia. As Mumia himself said about an earlier attempt to vilify that French city, “The merchants of death” seek “not only to kill me but to wipe my name from the face of the earth.” Mumia Abu-Jamal Street would not only frustrate those efforts but help rally all those opposed not only to Mumia’s imprisonment and execution but to all legal lynchings. As part of that effort, we support the naming of a New York City street after Mumia Abu-Jamal.