The sixth annual Philly Freedom Summer will bring young people from around the country to the site of the Republican National Convention and the home of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a journalist and death row inmate for the past 19 years. The 10-day event, which will focus on stopping Abu-Jamal's execution, will start July 24, 2000.
In the tradition of the Civil Rights movements of the 1960's, youth attending Philly Freedom Summer will work with people in the communities most adversely affected by police brutality. Door-to-door campaigns, speak outs, block parties, and cultural events are planned. The youths' work with the people of Philadelphia will highlight support for Mumia Abu-Jamal and opposition to the death penalty.
"As we saw in Seattle against the WTO and in D.C. against the IMF/World Bank, today's youth are not complacent, not apathetic, not willing to allow the politics of cruelty to dominate our society," said Miles Solay, a 19 year-old member of Refuse & Resist!. "We will stand up against the right wing agenda, we will fight for a new trial for Mumia, and we will crash this 'Executioner's Ball'."
In Support of a New Trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal20
* Citing 29 Constitutional violations in his original trial, Mumia Abu-Jamal and his lawyers have presented a brief to Federal District Judge William Yohn of Philadelphia, who will preside over oral arguments this summer. This highly publicized and politicized case focuses national attention on police brutality and police corruption, America's unparalleled prison rates, and mounting criticism of capital punishment.
Against Capital Punishment
* Governor George W. Bush (R-Texas) has executed more prisoners than any other Governor since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1978.
* Governor Thomas Ridge's (R-PA) state has the most racially skewed death row in the country. In a state with a black population of 10%, Blacks comprise 60% of Pennsylvania's death row.
Criminal Justice Reforms
* There are nearly 2,000,000 people in U.S. prisons. 25% of the world's prisoners are in U.S. prisons.
"Reactionary politics have created a Draconian penal policy which has led to entire regions of this country depending on prisons for economic growth. These irresponsible policies, pushed by the Republican Party, have created the largest and most racist prison population the earth has ever seen," said Jana Astraea, 23, of Refuse & Resist!.
Reject "Zero Tolerance" Policies
"The promotion of zero tolerance policies is another example of the criminalization of America's youth," said Astraea. "Where does a culture of reactionary violence start from a fourth grader who threatens to shoot a rubber band at his classmates, from a President who bombs four countries in five month, or from a Governor who executes over 130 people in five years? The answer is clear, yet fourth graders are expelled while Republicans celebrate their 'accomplishments'."
Stand Up for Immigrant Rights
"The climate created by Governor Bush is one which promotes 'vigilante justice' on the Mexican boarder. Immigration policies have resulted in the death of over 500 people since 1994," said Miles Solay. "We believe that human life is more important than citizenship."
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