Step up the fight!

Don't let them silence Mumia

April 24 1999: 15,000 marched for Mumia in San Francisco
By: Marlene Martin

Mumia Abu-Jamal is facing a new smear campaign from his opponents -- and the threat of an execution date.

With a Philadelphia newspaper reporting that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge could sign an execution warrant as early as August, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) stepped up its attacks on Mumia, the well-known Black journalist and radical who was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death for killing Philadelphia officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

The latest slander appeared in the August issue of Vanity Fair, where a story denouncing Mumia and his supporters contained new allegations from Philip Bloch, a former volunteer visitor at Pennsylvania prisons. Bloch claims that he asked Mumia in 1991 if he had any regrets about killing Faulkner, and Mumia -- who has consistently refused to speak to anyone about the details of his case -- said, "Yes." And now, after seven years of silence, Bloch decided to come forward.

Other media outlets, including ABC's "20/20," broadcast the Bloch story -- without even contacting Mumia for a response.

But Mumia and his supporters have fought back. Recently, Mumia revealed a letter that he received from Bloch months after the supposed confession took place in which Bloch says he thinks Mumia would be acquitted in a new trial.

This is obviously an attempt to discredit Mumia at a sensitive time -- while his case is pending before the federal courts. The FOP and its allies may be trying to build momentum on their side before Ridge signs a death warrant.

But Mumia's supporters won't let them get away with it. In April of this year, thousands of people showed their support for Mumia at demonstrations in Philadelphia and San Francisco. Now, activists are planning events for Mumia Awareness Week, scheduled for September 19-25 -- from demonstrations and speakouts to film showings and educational events.

We need to step up our efforts against this latest attack on Mumia!