Students Make Historical Marker for 1985 MOVE Family Bombing

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has approved a historical marker for the West Philadelphia site of the 1985 MOVE bombing, near Osage Avenue and Cobbs Creek Parkway.

The marker was nominated by students of the private, Southwest Philadelphia-based Jubilee School who for two years have studied the 1985 incident in which Philadelphia police dropped a bomb on a residential neighborhood, leaving 11 dead — including five children – and 61 rowhomes destroyed.

“The students were determined to get the whole story and not just one perspective,” said Karen Falcon, history teacher and director of the Jubilee School. “They understood that the neighbors had a different perspective than the MOVE members, and that everybody’s perspective – other than the city government – had some relevance. The students had a very complex view of what happened.”

MOVE family home after FBI/police bombing on May 13, 1985

                          MOVE family home after FBI/police aerial bombing on May 13, 1985

According to Karen Galle, Historical Marker Program Coordinator, only 18 markers were approved for 2017, and the decision regarding the MOVE bombing location was tough.

“Generally speaking markers are marking people, places, events and innovations that do have a positive light,” she said. “But the panel thought it was important to mark this because it did have substantial impact and maybe would go to preventing something similar from happening again.”

Founded in 1977, the Jubilee is a private Pre-K to 5th grade school at 4211 Chester Ave., with less than 100 students who not only study the world, but the history and culture of its neighborhood. The 4th- and 5th-grade students’ historical research into MOVE was sparked in 2015 by Freddie Grey’s death and led to their investigation into police brutality and the subsequent 1985 MOVE encounter.

After visiting the Osage Avenue site and interviewing residents, journalists, neighbors and police, the students decided to submit a nomination for a historical marker.

In applying for the PHMC marker the students wrote: “The MOVE bombing wasn’t only an issues of the City of Philadelphia or the State of Pennsylvania. It made an impact nationwide and was reported in the international press. It’s part of American history. Since there were no consequences to the police and city officials for their actions, it paved the way for government assistance to, and tolerance of, police brutality. The reason Pennsylvania needs to have this historical marker is that the MOVE bombing was one of the most extreme cases of police violence and government abuses of power. The marker can help spread awareness of a troubled history which has been buried for so many years. Not enough people are aware of what happened on May 13th, 1985. The marker will inform people about that tragic event. It can open eyes to mistakes that were made that still haven’t been resolved. When history is known, people can learn from problems of the past so they can make improvements for the future.”

The marker will be dedicated June 24, 2017.

Water in Mahanoy Correctional Institute (Eddie Africa & Mumia) is Severely Polluted

Saturday, April 01, 2017
By Lamont Lilly, Workers World,
Interview – Segment of Part 2 of 2.

Lamont Lilly: I heard that the prison where Mumia Abu-Jamal is being detained doesn’t have clean drinking water. Is that true? You also have family members in that prison. What have you heard about this?

Polluted water in Dixie cupsRamona: Lamont, let me tell you. I know people have heard about Flint, Michigan but contaminated water is not just in Flint. The prison that our brother Eddie Africa and Mumia are in is called Mahanoy Correctional Institute. The water there is so so bad! It is so bad that they started giving the inmates, (and this is ridiculous), three little Dixie cups of water with each meal. That’s nine little Dixie cups of water per day because the regular water is not drinkable. This is what they’re giving them, nine little Dixie cups of water per day? It’s unreal! Most people have no idea this is going on.

Where my brother Mike Africa is being incarcerated, at Graterford Prison here in Pennsylvania the water is really bad there, too. He convinced the “Lifer’s Association” to sell bottled water. It’s one of their fundraisers. But he pays like close to US $20 for a case of water. That’s ridiculous. He’s spending 60 bucks a month for water.

They were telling the guards, straight up, don’t drink the water; bring your own. My brother Mike works in the kitchen there, and he was telling me that in the guard’s dining room they have filters on the water spigots, but not for the inmates, of course. That is the state of what’s happening in this country, not just with Mumia, but in prisons all over this country.

I don’t know what it’s going to take for people to really, and I mean REALLY, get the message that this system and those running it are not operating in our interests, in the interests of the people. Their only interest is money and keeping this system going. I don’t know when people are really going to get that, but we can’t look to this system for anything.

…I don’t know what it’s going to take for people to realize that we don’t need this system. We can’t use or get anything from this system. It’s the system that needs us — that relies on the people, not the other way around. We have to let this system go and make up our minds to do for ourselves because we sure aren’t getting anything from this system. Nothing!

Thank you, Lamont. Long live the revolution! Free Mumia! Ona move!

Read entire interview:  http://www.workers.org/2017/03/26/former-u-s-political-prisoner-ramona-africa-discusses-mumia-abu-jamals-incarceration-u-s-prisons-and-donald-trump/#.WTORPhPytE4

Michael Africa Sr Denied Parole

Mike Davis Africa Sr.Back In 2014 our Brother Michael Africa Sr went before The Pennsylvania Parole Board and was as expected denied parole. What was even more sinister with this parole denial was the fact that Michael was given a five year hit, that is, he cannot come back to The Parole Board for five more years!  One of the reasons cited was that Michael was considered a threat to the safety of the community at large. Back in 2015 Michael had appealed this denial and was granted an appeal hearing that took place in August of 2016. Nonetheless, after a six month wait Mike was finally given word that he was again denied parole. We know that Michael was given a one year hit for reasons not yet cited, but as usual we know the forces behind his denial .

A couple of weeks ago we brought to people’s attention the background of Mark Koch one of the newest members of The Pennsylvania Parole Board. We exposed in full Mr. Koch’s lifelong career in Law Enforcement and the Special Role he has played with The Fraternal Order of Police. We exposed to people the danger in having someone of such a long storied background in law enforcement voting over the potential release of parole for Move Political Prisoners. Mr Koch was one of The Parole Board Members who recently voted against parole for Michael as was to be expected. The Fraternal Order of Police no longer have to lobby against parole for The Move 9 now that they have one of their members in place on the Pennsylvania Parole Board to do their work.

From 2012-2014 a former Board Member Randy Feathers voted against parole for the Move 9 stating in their denial that they were a risk to the safety of the community. Meanwhile, Randy Feathers resigned from his position from the board due to himself being involved in the recent kiddie porn scandal with recently convicted disgraced former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane!  A man that is the greatest risk to the safety of every child in the community stated that our family risks a threat to the communities safety and cannot be paroled!

We are asking people to Sign And Share the petition we have aimed at The United States Justice Department calling for a civil rights investigation into the case of The Move 9. People can sign the petition at https://www.causes.com/campaigns/92454-free-the-move-9.

Ona Move
The Justice And Accountability Campaign

For More Info:
https://move9parole.blogspot.com
http://onamove.com
Justice For The Move 9/Facebook

Clean Water Resolution Passes Philadelphia

Thank you, Philadelphia Councilpersons Jannie Blackwell, Curtis Jones and Cindy Bass for their work on this resolution that passed the Philadelphia City Council on October 28, 2016.  Thank you, Pam Africa, for your overall initiation and shepherding of this resolution.

Resolution

Calling upon Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania State Legislature to ensure that individuals incarcerated and working in state prisons have access to clean water and proper health services.

WHEREAS, Recently there have been claims of black, foul smelling water at SCI Mahanoy, SCI Frackville and other State Prisons in Pennsylvania, as well as reports of prisoners not receiving specialized medications needed to treat their health conditions; and

WHEREAS, Recently there have been claims of black, foul smelling water at SCI Mahanoy, SCI Frackville and other State Prisons in Pennsylvania, as well as reports of prisoners not receiving specialized medications needed to treat their health conditions; and

WHEREAS, In some cases, the water is so toxic that prisoners are unable to use the water, leaving them with little to no drinking water and virtually no water to bathe in or in less severe cases prisoners are left to drink and bathe in dirty brown water; and

WHEREAS, Using the dirty water can exacerbate existing health conditions for some prisoners, and many prisoners do not have proper access to healthcare services to met their medical needs, and those needing medication become increasingly ill without it; and

WHEREAS, While the water problems at SCI Mahanoy and Frackville are fairly recent, other state prisons have been experiencing similar problems for years causing both prisoners and guards to experience serious health problems including but not limited to shortness of breath, dizziness, body sores and tumors; and

WHEREAS, The Department of Corrections has received complaints about the ongoing issues regarding water and medication but has reportedly not alleviated the problems; and

WHEREAS, The cause of the contaminated water has not been confirmed by the Pennsylvania State Government, and more resources and energy need to be devoted to solving this water and health crisis; and

WHEREAS, The Government bears the responsibility of protecting its prisoners and should remember that those who are incarcerated are people too, deserving of the basic human necessities that are required for their survival. Therefore, we ask that there be a sense of urgency in resolving these issues that affect the health of individuals under the Pennsylvania State Government’s care; and

WHEREAS, A copy of this resolution will be forwarded to the Governor and to all members of the Pennsylvania State Legislature.
Now therefore, be it resolved that the City Council of Philadelphia Calls upon Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania State Legislature to ensure that individuals incarcerated and working in state prisons have access to clean water and proper health services.

Jannie L. Blackwell
Councilwoman, Third District, City Council of Philadelphia

Cindy Bass
Councilwoman, Eighth District, City Council of Philadelphia

Curtis Jones Jr.
Councilman, Fourth District, City Council of Philadelphia

Ramona Africa Interviewed by The Guardian newspaper from London

Media descended on Philadelphia last week for the Democratic National Convention (DNC) which exhorted Democratic Party faithful to back Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. Many media wanted to cover additional stories about Philadelphia and Ramona Africa gave several interviews. Check out this well-made video interview by The Guardian newspaper, all the way from London.

 

Ramona Africa Interview on Loud & Clear Radio

Social Justice Activists Still Behind Bars After Decades

Ramona Africa, for the MOVE 9

Noelle Hanrahan, for Mumia Abu-Jamal

Eddie Conway, recently-freed political prisoner;

Cynthia Dunne, for Leonard Peltier

blue-play-button
click to play

 

Loud & Clear radio interview with Ramona Africa
*** Host Brian Becker, Loud & Clear Radio, Sputnik News, July 5, 2016

Janet, Janine & Debbie Africa Denied Parole: Take Action On Tues., June 7, 2016

Janet, Janine and Debbie Africa 2015 First Action From 9:00am to 12:00 Noon

Call, Fax, Email, or Tweet Pa Governor Tom Wolf at:

(P) (717) 787-2500
(F) (717) 772-8284
(Email) pa.gov (contact page)

Twitter  @GovernorTomWolf  OR  Click here to auto-tweet: @GovernorTomWolf Parole Janet and Janine Africa. Parole ALL of the MOVE 9. The F.O.P./police should not decide. Their families need them.

Reach out to Governor and inquire into why Janet (Holloway) Africa #006308, Janine (Phillips ) Africa #006309 and Debbie (Sims) Africa  #006307 were denied parole and why has he allowed these continued illegal denials to continue when he oversees and has responsibility over the same parole board in which he himself has called for reform over?

2-inside-red-circle From 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Call or tweet the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane

(P) (717) 787-3391

Twitter @PaAttorneyGeneral

Reach out to her office and inquire why from a period of 2008 thru 2016 have former police officers and former law enforcement officials been allowed to review a case that revolves around the murder of a police officer and how can an outside organization like the Fraternal Order of Police legally influence the parole review of Move Political Prisoners?

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

We are demanding a complete criminal investigation into the illegal parole denials of the Move 9 Janet (Holloway) Africa 006308; Janine (Phillips) Africa 006309;Debbie (Sims) Africa  #006307; William (Phillips) Africa am4984 (now deceased); Delbert (Orr) Africa am4985; Edward (Goodman) Africa am4974; and, Michael (Davis) Africa am4973.

Eddie Africa Denied Parole by Pennsylvania Parole Board Against Community Wishes

February 23, 2016

Ona Move

Eddie Africa

Eddie Africa

When The Move 9 became eligible for parole in 2008 The Pennsylvania Parole Board took on the responsibility of officials of this system in keeping innocent Move Members in prison for the rest of their lives. From 2008 up until as recent as this past week, all of The Move 9 have been denied parole . We received a call last night from our brother Eddie Africa who was calling to let us know he was denied yet again by The Pennsylvania Parole Board and was given a two year hit where he would not go before the board again until 2018.

The Parole Board has cited the issue of Eddie being a risk to the safety of the community. At Eddie’s parole hearing the Parole Board was presented with a petition of 300 signatures of members of the community who would welcome him on parole into the community and who in fact felt no threat to their safety with Eddie in the community. It’s obvious that this community that the Parole Board is talking about is none other than the law enforcement community across the country who have mobilized against parole for Move Members .

This clearly shows that the Parole Board has no regards to the community of Philadelphia and their input on anything as they only value the input of law enforcement officials who they are obviously working in conjunction with to keep our family in prison. Eddie sounded strong as always and he has not been deterred by this and neither are we. The fight continues to win parole for our family as we prepare for our sisters May 2016 parole hearings.

Ona Move,
The Justice And Accountability Campaign

In the meantime we urge people to Sign the Petition we aimed at U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch as we demand that the Justice Department investigate the wrongful and ongoing imprisonment of The Move 9.  Please sign on at:  https://www.causes.com/campaigns/92454-free-the-move-9.

Bombing Black People: The Philadelphia Police’s War on Move

Global Research News Hour Episode 129
By Michael Welch and Linn Washington
January 31, 2016

Click to hear audio:   audio-iconhttp://www.radio4all.net/files/scottprice666@hotmail.com/4319-1-GRNH_Jan_29_2016_episode_129_session_mixdown.mp3

“May 13, 1985 is a day that shall live in infamy, but for far more reasons than the obvious. It was the death knell of a system committing suicide. It proved that a man called John Africa spoke powerful truths when he spoke about the nature of the system as corrupt, as flawed, as poisoned. Every day past that date has only proved it even more. ” -Mumia Abu-Jamal, from a May 9 2010 radio essay

The only aerial bombing by police ever carried out on US soil was on May 13, 1985, when a Philadelphia police helicopter dropped military grade explosives on the house run by a group of self-styled revolutionaries known as Move. This group, which claims to adhere to principles of non-violence was founded by John Africa in 1972, and was composed mostly, but not exclusively, of African-Americans. They rejected the norms of 20th century American society in their dress, grooming, diet and lifestyles, and had come in conflict with authorities on several occasions.[1]

The 1985 bombing claimed the lives of five children and six adults including founder John Africa. Another adult named Ramona Africa, and a child named Birdie Africa were the only survivors of the assault. More than 250 people in the predominantly black middle class neighbourhood were left homeless after more than 60 other homes were destroyed as a result of the aerial bombing, and the fires that followed.[2]

This attack followed a previous assault on August 8, 1978. A police raid on the Move house, then located in the Philadelphia neighbourhood of Powelton village, resulted in the death of police officer James Ramp. The Courts held nine Move members responsible for the death and sentenced them to 30 to 100 years behind bars. [3]

Thirty-seven years later, two of the nine have died in prison under suspicious circumstances. Supporters of the Move 9, as they are called, are appealing to the Philadelphia Parole Board to set the remaining seven members free, now that they have all served their minimum sentences. [4][5]

In this installment of the Global Research News Hour we examine the attacks on Move in the context of a history of police and state repression of the black minority population of the US.

Ramona Africa showing burns from police bomb on her homeRamona Africa is the spokesperson for Move. She served seven years in prison on riot charges following the bombing by Philadelphia police. She and other plaintiffs eventually received a $1.5 million settlement from the city in connection with the incident. In this interview Ramona provides some background on the group and the police stand-offs in 1978 and 1985, and speaks at length about the unjust incarceration of nine Move members who she explains could not possibly have been responsible for the murder of police officer Ramp.

Linn WashingtonLinn Washington is a journalist and currently serves as an Associate Professor of Journalism at Temple University. He has covered Move almost from the group’s beginnings and was present on the scene as a reporter during the 1985 police action against the group. He will put the 1985 Bombing and the events that led up to it in their proper context and establish the failures, as he sees it, of the media to hold those in authority to account.

Mumia Abu-JamalMumia Abu-Jamal is a renowned journalist from Philadelphia who has been in prison since 1981 and is known as the “Voice of the Voiceless” for his award- winning reporting on police brutality and other social and racial epidemics that plague communities of color in Philadelphia and throughout the world.  Much of his journalism called attention to the blatant injustice and brutality he watched happen on a daily basis to MOVE, a revolutionary organization that works to protect all forms of life–human, animal, plant–and the Earth as a whole.

Incredibly, it’s been almost 30 years – 30 years! – since 9 MOVE men and women were unjustly consigned to prisons across Pennsylvania. Although known as the MOVE 9, there really are seven survivors of the August 8th, 1978 police assault on MOVE’s West Philadelphia home and headquarters. They are: Janine Africa, Mike Africa, Debbie Africa, Janet Africa, Eddie Africa, Chuck Africa and Delbert Africa. The late Merle Africa died at the women’s prison in Muncy, PA (near Williamsport, PA) under quite mysterious circumstances. Phil Africa passed away under suspicious circumstances at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, PA.

All 9 MOVE men and women were convicted in one of the longest (and most contentious) trials in city history, on dubious charges of 3rd degree murder of a city cop engaged in the raid on their home, and related charges. Even if all the charges were true (and they most certainly are not), the sentence 30 to 100 years can only be termed grossly excessive. At the time of trial, 3rd degree carried a sentence of 71/2 to 15 years –so essentially the MOVE people got more than double, and indeed, quadruple the maximum of what the statute provided. Indeed, the woman got the same sentences as the men, even though none of them faced weapons charges! There’s little real doubt that they’re in prison today because they’re MOVE members. Today, 30 years later, they should be entitled to their freedom–and they would be, but for the concerted campaign of cops and local media to keep them imprisoned for a century.

MOVE members continue to fight for their imprisoned brothers and sisters, and they ask that you join that struggle by supporting their parole demands. On the web, contact: onamovellja@aol.com for more information or see http://onamove.com. Or write the MOVE Organization, P.O. Box 19709, Philadelphia, PA, 19143. As many of you know, I covered the press conference of August 8th, 1978.

Every reporter present knows that within hours of that press conference, the police department issued a written press release giving a completely revised statement of how the cop met his death. That makes sense when you consider that the cop was most likely the victim of friendly fire, for the MOVE house had become a shooting gallery, with police expending literally hundreds of rounds during the raid. Moreover, when’s the last time you’ve seen a crime scene destroyed before nightfall, within hours of the shooting? It happened here. I also covered the trial, a parade of legalized injustice if ever there was one. Indeed, days after the trial, Judge Edwin S. Malmed took to the airwaves to defend his unjust rulings. On a radio talk show on WWDB-FM, I phoned him and asked him if he knew who killed the cop. He replied, live on air, “I haven’t the faintest idea.” Yet, this guy sent 9 people to prison for 30-to-100 years!
– by Mumia Abu-Jamal from a May 9 2010 radio essay

For more resources on Move, and how to help the Move 9, please visit the following sites:

http://onamove.com

http://move9parole.blogspot.ca

Support Parole for Eddie Africa

In November 2015 our Brother Eddie Africa is set to make another appearance before the Pennsylvania State Parole Board. Your letters of support is urgently needed. All of the information is below as follows:

We are asking for your support at this critical stage to secure the freedom Eddie deserves.  Feel free to use parts of the sample letter below. Please write in your own words and with your own experiences of/with Eddie.

NOTE: Please send all letters of support to Orie Ross, P.O. Box 575, Times Square Station, New York, NY 10108-0575 so they can be reviewed and sent to the Parole Board. 

Sample Letter:

Board of Probation and Parole
Attn: Inmate Inquiry
1001 South Front Street, Suite 5300
Harrisburg, PA 17104

September 3, 2015

Regarding October 2015 Parole Hearing for: Edward Goodman #AM-4974

Dear Honorable Members of the Parole Board:

As a concerned citizen interested in helping Mr. Goodman successfully transition into life outside prison, I am writing to ask that you please grant him parole.  He has served now  37 years of a 30-100 year sentence, even though the average sentence for his charges is 10-15 years.  He is still in prison years after his minimum sentence despite having no major disciplinary problems in the last three decades.  The notice provided to Mr. Goodman for his last parole denial lists the reasons for the denial as: “Your minimization/denial of the nature and circumstances of the offense(s) committed,” “Your refusal to accept responsibility for the offense(s) committed” and “The negative recommendation made by the prosecuting attorney.”

I understand the severe nature of the crime of which Mr. Goodman was convicted, however, I am concerned that Mr. Goodman maintaining his innocence is seen as an attempt to minimize or deny the nature and circumstances of the offense(s) or refuse to take responsibility, even while there is evidence that corroborates that the shot was fired from a location where it is well known he was nowhere near.  This phenomenon is referred to as “the innocent prisoner’s dilemma” implying that it is unfair and unethical to require someone who may have been wrongly convicted to provide false admission of guilt or remorse.  Please take this dilemma into consideration.

I also understand that Mr. Goodman has not been recommended for parole by the institution where he is held despite having a clear disciplinary record for many years.  In fact, the only time he received a disciplinary infraction in the last fifteen years was for not cutting his hair.  He has completed all of the institutional programs he was asked to complete and has volunteered for others. Please take into consideration his good conduct as well as him having housing and employment secured upon his release. These factors, along with strong family and community support, make it very unlikely that Mr. Goodman will recidivate and I firmly believe that he is an excellent candidate for parole.  I will personally help him acclimate in any way I can upon his release.

Mr. Goodman has now spent most of his life in prison, and the recidivism rate for people released at his age is very low. Please grant parole and allow him to be a part of, and contribute to, society as free citizen, a loving father and grandfather.

Sincerely,

[Name and signature]