Pack the Court and Streets for Mumia Abu Jamal on August 30, 2018

Demonstrate for Mumia Abu Jamal in PhiladelphiaAugust 30, 2018 – 8 am,
Court Hearing for Mumia,
Criminal Justice Center,
1301 Filbert Street,
Room 1108,
Philadelphia, PA;
Get directions

 

In a court case that could eventually lead to Mumia Abu-Jamal’s freedom, Judge Leon Tucker has ordered the District Attorney’s office to present new testimony in reference to Ronald Castille, on August 30, 2018. Castille is a former PA Supreme Court judge who refused to disqualify himself when Mumia’s case came before the court despite having been the Philadelphia District Attorney during Mumia’s prior appeals. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such conduct is unconstitutional.

A New Chance for Mumia

Click graphic for large version

 

 

 


A recent update on Mumia Abu Jamal’s case:
Philadelphia DA’s office stonewalls at hearing for Mumia Abu-Jamal
May 3, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Baby-Snatching Practice Blocked Motherhood For 20-million Seconds (40 years)

June 20, 2018
Linn Washington Jr.
Reprinted from ThisCantBeHappening.net

Justice system abuses mothers with no apologies

Debbie’s son Mike said life was “hard” for him growing up without his mother and father, not having their “guidance” at times when he needed it. Mike said that when he went to wake up his mother the morning after her release from prison he saw her feet for the first time in his life.

“Things people take for granted like just talking to your parents — I never had,” Michael said. “Fortunately I had the support of my parent’s family, other MOVE members and MOVE supporters. It helped a lot.

“I can’t wait to see my dad come home.”

Debbie Africa, with son Mike Africa Jr. with photo of still imprisoned husband/father Mike Africa Sr

Debbie Africa with son Mike Jr. and photo of still imprisoned husband/father Mike Africa Sr. LBWPhoto

The arbitrary and often abusive practices of authorities that drove clashes between MOVE and Philadelphia City authorities were evident in the parole release of Debbie Africa – a parole granted after eight previous parole rejections.

Debbie and fellow MOVE members Janine and Janet each saw the Pennsylvania Parole Board on the same day. Each had similar unblemished prison records, each were credited with positively mentoring other inmates, each were praised for helping keep calm in the prison and each – for the first time ever – had a release recommendation from Philadelphia’s new District Attorney, Larry Krasner.

But the Parole Board rejected Janine and Janet while that Board released Debbie during a process that is completely secret even from lawyers representing inmates.

One reason given by the Parole Board for the rejection of Janine and Janet was they received a negative recommendation from Philly’s DA – a claim that is factually inaccurate according to Brad Thomson, the lawyer who represented Debbie, Janine and Janet during that parole proceeding.

“It is shocking that Janet and Janine were denied parole. Their circumstances and institutional records are nearly identical to Debbie’s,” stated Thomson, who attended the press conference with Debbie and Mike Jr.

“The decision to deny Janet and Janine appears arbitrary and it is difficult to understand how the Parole Board could justify it based on the facts that were presented,” noted Thomson of the People’s Law Office in Chicago.

Then again, arbitrariness and abuse riddled the MOVE 9 trial. The judge who convicted and sentenced the MOVE 9 during a non-jury proceeding said he meted out identical sentences because they “were a family” and that he, therefore, would sentence them as a family – a stance that made a mockery of the so-called maxim of prison time fitting the crime.

Police testimony during that long trial was that only the four MOVE men were armed and the MOVE women, including Debbie Africa, were merely holding children while huddled inside the basement of the then MOVE compound in Philadelphia’s Powelton Village during that 1978 shootout.

(Evidence furthermore indicates that police gunfire accidentally killed the policeman. Police experts could not match the bullet removed from the slain officer to any of the weapons recovered from the MOVE compound.)

The arrest and imprisonment of the MOVE 9 unleashed a chain of events that culminated in the horrific May 13, 1985 incident where Philadelphia police bombed another house occupied by MOVE members and deliberately allowed an inferno sparked by that bomb to burn, preventing firefighters from trying to put it out.

That bomb-triggered blaze incinerated 11 MOVE members including five children. That police blaze also destroyed 61 adjacent homes and left 250 people homeless.

Pennsylvania State Historic Marker near site of deadly 1985 bombing by Philadelphia police and FBI

Pennsylvania State Historic Marker near site of deadly 1985 bombing by police. LBWPhoto

Police snipers drove some MOVE members who tried to flee their burning building back into the inferno where temperatures reached 2,000-degrees. Only one MOVE adult and one child escaped that deadly firestorm.

One of the MOVE members murdered by police action during that 1985 clash was MOVE founder John Africa. The five youth deaths included the children of Janine and Janet, Debbie’s now former cellmates. No Philadelphia police officer or City official faced prosecution for that incident where an FBI agent supplied the main component for that bomb — military C-4 hi-explosive — that Philadelphia police dropped from a Pa State Police helicopter.

Debbie Africa said she is looking forward to strengthening bonds with her children and grandchildren. She will adjust to life outside prison like learning how to use a cell phone, a now ubiquitous device that didn’t exist at the time of her arrest in 1978. And she said she would work for the release of her imprisoned MOVE family members.

MOVE: Over four decades of resistance

By Ted Kelly
July 30, 2018
Reprinted from International Action Center website

MOVE 9 40 Year Commemoration

Earlier this summer, Philadelphia was in a state of celebration when political prisoner Debbie Africa was released after nearly four decades in prison. In August, prison abolitionists, in Philadelphia and across the world, will observe an anniversary with more solemnity than rejoicing.

August 8, 2018, marks the 40th anniversary of the city’s first major assault on the MOVE family, an episode that ended in the death of one of the family’s infants and in the arrest and imprisonment of nine MOVE family members.

To commemorate this anniversary, a three-part event will be held on Aug. 5. At 10 a.m., there will be a 5k run and walk that starts in Fairmount Park and goes to the original MOVE house in the city’s Powelton Village neighborhood. Then, at 3 p.m., there will be a public forum at Mastery Shoemaker High School on what today’s movements should learn from MOVE’s struggle. Following that forum will be a live concert at 5 p.m. featuring local artists Seraiah Nicole, Mic Africa, Raw Life Crew and more.

Free the MOVE 9

Debbie Africa, with son Mike Africa Jr. with photo of still imprisoned husband/father Mike Africa Sr

Debbie Africa with son Mike Jr. and photo of still imprisoned husband/ father Mike Africa Sr. LBWPhoto

Michael Africa Sr., one of the MOVE 9, has a new parole hearing this September. Despite the fact that Janet and Janine Africa were also up for parole at the same time as Debbie, she remains the only member of the MOVE 9 to be released. Debbie was imprisoned in 1978 along with her partner Mike Sr., as well as Delbert, Phil, Janet, Janine, Eddie, Merle and Chuck Africa.

All nine were convicted of the murder of a Philadelphia police officer who died from being struck by one of his fellow officers’ bullets in the hail of gunfire the police blasted into the MOVE home. Despite forensic evidence and scores of eyewitnesses indicating the officer was slain by “friendly fire,” all nine of the arrested MOVE members were convicted of firing the single bullet that killed him.

Immediately after the police assault on the MOVE family, the city bulldozed and destroyed the house, annihilating any and all evidence that could have been used to help exonerate the MOVE 9. The demolition also erased all evidence of the police siege on the compound and the massive structural damage done to the house by police water cannons, chemical gas and thousands of rounds of ammunition fired into the home.

Despite all this, even the city had to acknowledge that of the few weapons that were recovered from the MOVE family home, none of them were operable. That is to say, the MOVE 9 had no way of shooting anyone. Yet each of the MOVE 9 were sentenced to 30 to 100 years in prison.

Judge Edwin Malmed, who handed down the bogus convictions, was asked by then reporter Mumia Abu-Jamal how it could be considered a just decision that nine people were convicted of firing a single bullet. Malmed replied that since the nine wanted to be tried as a family, he convicted them as a family.

A history of oppression — and resistance

The Philadelphia police assault on the MOVE family on Aug. 8, 1978, was a clear escalation of violence, brutality and injustice. But the war on the Philadelphia Black Liberation movement had been raging for at least a decade before. The generalissimo who prosecuted that war was Frank Rizzo, the white supremacist police commissioner turned mayor.

A major attack on Black Liberation began in August 1970 when police raided the Philadelphia Black Panther headquarters. Dozens of Panthers were publicly stripped naked on Columbia Avenue before their arrest. In that era of Cointelpro infiltration, intimidation and assassination, the Philadelphia chapter of the Black Panthers was just one of many to go underground or be destroyed outright.

The MOVE Organization, led by the visionary John Africa, is what filled the vacuum left by the Panthers in Philadelphia. With an ideology that combined an uncompromising dedication to Black Liberation with an unprecedented commitment to environmental justice and animal rights, MOVE became a revolutionary force to be reckoned with.

In a recent interview in Workers World, Debbie Africa explained: “[My brothers] got involved in MOVE activities, in speaking engagements — at the time they were in full throttle speaking out against injustice. They loved it, taking care of the dogs and going to study sessions that MOVE founder John Africa held, educating people how to avoid violence in their communities and on police brutality — the things that made people’s lives miserable.”

She added: “John Africa’s teachings really lock you into the reality of what’s really going on. The rest is history.”

For years, the city attempted to lock up members of the MOVE Organization. But John, and later Ramona, Africa’s remarkable legal astuteness meant they often escaped serious charges. That changed in 1978 when weeks of a siege on the MOVE house culminated in the Aug. 8 assault and the imprisonment of the MOVE 9.

Three years later, Black Panther journalist and MOVE supporter Mumia Abu-Jamal was also framed for the murder of a Philadelphia cop. A key witness to that incident was found dead under mysterious circumstances on May 13, 1985 — the same night that Philadelphia police dropped a bomb on the new MOVE house on Osage Avenue, killing eleven people, including founder John Africa and five children.

In the years since the 1978 assault and the 1985 state murders, the MOVE family has flourished and grown, despite mainstream media accounts to the contrary. Still, the city’s oppression has taken its toll. Mumia Abu-Jamal and six of the MOVE 9 are still in prison after 40 years. Merle and Phil Africa were murdered by the prison system — they died under lock and key.

This fortieth anniversary must mark not just four decades of resistance, but also a new chapter in that struggle.

Free the MOVE 9! Free Mumia Abu-Jamal! Free ‘em all!

‘This is huge’: black liberationist speaks out after her 40 years in prison

Reprint from original
By Ed Pilkington in New York
The Guardian
June 18, 2018

Exclusive: Debbie Sims Africa, the first freed member of a radical Philadelphia group many say were unjustly imprisoned, talks about reuniting with her son and defends the Move members still locked up: ‘We are peaceful people’

Debbie Sims Africa, age 22

Debbie Sims Africa was 22 when she was sentenced. Her release is seen as a major breakthrough for those imprisoned during the black liberation movement. Photograph: Courtesy of Michael Davis Africa Jr

The first member of a group of black radicals known as the Move Nine who have been incarcerated, they insist unjustly, for almost 40 years for killing a Philadelphia police officer has been released from prison.

Debbie Sims Africa, 61, walked free from Cambridge Springs prison in Pennsylvania on Saturday, June 16, 2018, having been granted parole. She was 22 when with her co-defendants she was arrested and sentenced to 30 to 100 years for the shooting death of officer James Ramp during a police siege of the group’s communal home on 8 August 1978.

She emerged from the correctional institution to be reunited with her son, Michael Davis Africa Jr, to whom she gave birth in a prison cell in September 1978, a month after her arrest.

“This is huge for us personally,” Sims Africa told the Guardian, speaking from her son’s home in a small town on the outskirts of Philadelphia where she will now live.

Davis Africa, 39, who was separated from his mother at less than a week old and has never spent time with her outside prison, said they were coming to terms with being reunited after almost four decades.

“Today I had breakfast with my mother for the first time,” he said. “There’s so much we haven’t done together.”

The release of Debbie Sims Africa is a major breakthrough regarding the ongoing incarceration of large numbers of individuals involved in the black liberation movement of the late 1960s and 1970s who are now growing old behind bars. At least 25 men and women belonging to Move or the former Black Panther party remain locked up, in some cases almost half a century after their arrests.

Michael Davis Africa Jr

Michael Davis Africa Jr on reunited with his mother: ‘There’s so much we haven’t done together.’ Photograph: Ed Pilkington for the Guardian

Sims Africa’s release also addresses one of the most hotly contested criminal justice cases in Philadelphia history. The nine were prosecuted together following a police siege of their headquarters in Powelton Village at the orders of Philadelphia’s notoriously hardline mayor and former police commissioner, Frank Rizzo.

Move, which exists today, regarded itself as a revolutionary movement committed to a healthy life free from oppression or pollution. In the 1970s it was something of a cross between black liberationists and early environmental activists. Its members all take “Africa” as their last name, to signal that they see each other as family.

Hundreds of police officers, organized in Swat teams and armed with machine guns, water cannons, teargas and bulldozers, were involved in the siege, which came at the end of a long standoff with the group relating to complaints about conditions in its premises. Two water cannon and smoke bombs were unleashed. The Move residents took refuge in a basement.

I had to feel my way up the stairs to get out of the basement with my baby in my arms

Sims Africa was eight months pregnant and was carrying her two-year-old daughter, Michelle. “We were being battered with high-powered water and smoke was everywhere,” she said. “I couldn’t see my hands in front of my face and I was choking. I had to feel my way up the stairs to get out of the basement with my baby in my arms.”

Shooting broke out and Ramp was killed by a single bullet. Prosecutors alleged that Move members fired the fatal shot and charged Sims Africa and the other eight with collective responsibility for his death.

Eyewitnesses, however, gave accounts suggesting that the shot may have come from the opposite direction to the basement, raising the possibility that Ramp was accidentally felled, by police fire. After the raid was over, weapons were found within the property. None were in operative condition.

In 1985, Philadelphia authorities carried out an even more controversial and deadly action against the remaining members of Move. A police helicopter dropped an incendiary bomb on to the roof of its then HQ in west Philadelphia, killing six adults including the group’s leader, John Africa, and five of their children.

That incident continues to have the distinction of being the only aerial bombing by police carried out on US soil.

At Sims Africa’s trial, no evidence was presented that she or the three other women charged alongside her had brandished or handled firearms during the siege. Nor was there any attempt on the part of the prosecution to prove that they had had any role in firing the shot that killed Ramp.

Sims Africa has had an unblemished disciplinary record in prison for the past 25 years. The last claim of misconduct against her dates to 1992.

Her attorneys presented the parole board with a 13-page dossier outlining her work as a mentor to other prisoners and as a dog handler who trains puppies that assist people with physical and cognitive disabilities. The dossier includes testimony from the correctional expert Martin Horn, who reviewed her record and concluded it was “remarkable”.

1984 Philadelphia police and FBI bombing of Move members

Philadelphia burn after officials dropped a bomb on the Move house in 1985. Photograph: AP

Horn said Sims Africa had “chosen to be a rule-abiding individual with the ability to be a productive, law-abiding citizen if she is released. I see a record of growing maturity, improved judgment and the assumption of personal responsibility. I do not believe that Debbie Sims is today a threat to the community.”

Sims Africa’s lawyer, Brad Thomson, commended the parole board for “recognizing that she is of exceptional character and well-deserving of parole. This is a storied victory for Debbie and her family, and the Move organization, and we are hoping it will be the first step in getting all the Move Nine out of prison.”

The release of Sims Africa comes less than two months before the 40th anniversary of the siege. Commemorative events are being held in Philadelphia, organised by Move, on 5 and 11 August.

The release of Sims Africa is bittersweet, however. Two of the nine have died in prison – another female inmate, Merle Austin Africa, in March 1998, and Phil Africa in January 2015.

Having to leave them was hard. I was torn up inside because I want to come home but I want them to come with me

Also bittersweet is the fact that Sims Africa went up for parole at exactly the same time, and on exactly the same terms, as the other two remaining Move Nine women – Janine Phillips Africa and Janet Hollaway Africa. They were both denied parole and will have to wait until May 2019 to try again.

Thomson said the disparity in the parole board’s decision was “very surprising”, given that the Philadelphia district attorney’s office that carried out the original trial prosecution had written letters supporting parole for all three. The parole board gave what the lawyer said were “boilerplate justifications” for the denial of Phillips Africa and Hollaway Africa, saying they displayed “lack of remorse”.

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Debbie Sims Africa’s husband also remains behind bars. Mike Davis Africa Sr is next up before the parole board, in September. The other Move Nine prisoners are Chuck Sims Africa, Delbert Orr Africa and Eddie Goodman Africa.

Michael Africa Jr and mother Debbie Sims Africa

Debbie Sims Africa with her son after her release from prison. Photograph: Courtesy of Michael Davis Africa Jr

Debbie Sims Africa told the Guardian the remaining prisoners were constantly in her mind and that she planned to devote much of her time campaigning for their release.

“Having to leave them was hard,” she said. “I was torn up inside because of course I want to come home but I want them to come with me. I was in shock when it didn’t happen that way.”

Asked if the two Move women with whom she had shared a cell in Cambridge Springs would be a threat to society if released, she said: “Absolutely not. They would not be a danger as I’m not.

“Nobody from the Move movement has been released from prison and ever committed a crime, going back to 1988. We are peaceful people.”

Conscience Mind Talent Showcase

MOVE youth performersFebrary 15, 2018 at 7:00 PM

Hip Hop / R&B / Poetry / B-Boy Dancers / Live DJ

Revolution!

$10 spectator fee
The Rotunda
4014 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
For more info: (267) 456-2880
TheSeedofWisdomFoundation@gmail.com
FB and IG: @TheSeedofWisdomFoundation

MOVE bombing will be the subject of Philadelphia opera fest world premiere

David Patrick Stearns, Music Critic
Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News/Philly.com

MOVE OperaWhat started as a “hip h’opera” involving student poets in public schools has evolved into what will be perhaps the most daring show in Opera Philadelphia’s O17 festival this fall: We Shall Not be Moved, about modern-day displaced kids confronting the ghosts of the notorious 1985 MOVE bombing.

Details about the project have just been released in advance of the Sept. 16-24 performances at the Wilma Theater. The Philadelphia world premiere will be followed by runs at New York’s Apollo Theater and London’s Hackney Empire. The message from the creative team, most of whom are not from Philadelphia, is this: The opera doesn’t take a position or even dramatize the showdown between MOVE and local police that ended with the bombing that burned an extensive section of West Philadelphia.

“We’re not reopening the wound. The wound is present … and that’s true of so many things in American history,” said librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, 41. “It’s about how do we responsibly ask questions … in a past that’s never really lost.”

“First and foremost, this is … a musical theater experience with serious questions at its core,” said the much-honored director/choreographer Bill T. Jones, 65. “People are kind of nervous about it … and though we’ve watched many hours of documentary footage … the question is what is truth and reconciliation here.”

Those posing the questions are five teen runaways who take refuge in abandoned buildings on the original MOVE site (which was on Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia). Each teen represents a particular aspect of modern urban life: one is transgender, another is white yet identifies as African American, and so on. All are haunted by the ghosts of children who died in the 1985 fire. Added to all that is a tough Latina police officer whose provocative lines include “The one with the gun has the moral high ground, no?” The operatic score is not likely to sound like Carmen. The eclectic composer is Haitian American Daniel Bernard Roumain, who has worked intensively with Jones in years past.

Modern parallels with police violence were almost accidental, said Joseph. The project began around 2013, when he was working with student poets, in conjunction with the City of Philadelphia and Art Sanctuary. He had a mandate from Opera Philadelphia: determine whether an operatic theater piece could be drawn from their work. What struck Joseph was the absence of active awareness of the past in a social-media generation that exists in the present amid a near-forgotten yesterday, not to mention a major historic event such as the MOVE bombing. He first drafted the libretto in 2014, and by the end of the year, he pitched the idea to Opera Philadelphia. Nobody flinched.

What started as a “hip h’opera” involving student poets in public schools has evolved into what will be perhaps the most daring show in Opera Philadelphia’s O17 festival this fall: We Shall Not be Moved, about modern-day displaced kids confronting the ghosts of the notorious 1985 MOVE bombing.

Details about the project have just been released in advance of the Sept. 16-24 performances at the Wilma Theater. The Philadelphia world premiere will be followed by runs at New York’s Apollo Theater and London’s Hackney Empire. The message from the creative team, most of whom are not from Philadelphia, is this: The opera doesn’t take a position or even dramatize the showdown between MOVE and local police that ended with the bombing that burned an extensive section of West Philadelphia.

“We’re not reopening the wound. The wound is present … and that’s true of so many things in American history,” said librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, 41. “It’s about how do we responsibly ask questions … in a past that’s never really lost.”

“First and foremost, this is  … a musical theater experience with serious questions at its core,” said the much-honored director/choreographer Bill T. Jones, 65. “People are kind of nervous about it … and though we’ve watched many hours of documentary footage … the question is what is truth and reconciliation here.”

Those posing the questions are five teen runaways who take refuge in abandoned buildings on the original MOVE site (which was on Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia). Each teen represents a particular aspect of modern urban life: one is transgender, another is white yet identifies as African American, and so on. All are haunted by the ghosts of children who died in the 1985 fire. Added to all that is a tough Latina police officer whose provocative lines include “The one with the gun has the moral high ground, no?” The operatic score is not likely to sound like Carmen. The eclectic composer is Haitian American Daniel Bernard Roumain, who has worked intensively with Jones in years past.

Modern parallels with police violence were almost accidental, said Joseph. The project began around 2013, when he was working with student poets, in conjunction with the City of Philadelphia and Art Sanctuary. He had a mandate from Opera Philadelphia: determine whether an operatic theater piece could be drawn from their work. What struck Joseph was the absence of active awareness of the past in a social-media generation that exists in the present amid a near-forgotten yesterday, not to mention a major historic event such as the MOVE bombing. He first drafted the libretto in 2014, and by the end of the year, he pitched the idea to Opera Philadelphia. Nobody flinched. 

As much as the MOVE disaster has been examined, the librettist had some startling revelations from interviewing survivors. “There were white children who died in the fire,” he said. “MOVE is painted as a separatist group, which is probably right, but also segregated, which is totally wrong.” The libretto, in fact, wasn’t finished until March, which makes the final gestation of the piece incredibly fast by operatic standards. This process usually takes years.

Jones describes the project as being in “mid-stroke,” with creative-team members making their own lists of priorities. However, dance is likely to be prominent, if only because Jones is a choreographer, and he has hired Raphael Xavier, an alum of Philadelphia dance company Rennie Harris Puremovement, to supply more hip-hop elements. Joseph calls the approach “choreographic poetry … the idea that poetry can be spoken through the body.” Especially the ghosts.

Roumain wasn’t available for comment, but Jones pointed out that the term opera has been defined more loosely in recent years. The score is expected to have the gravity of opera but with surface elements of  gospel, jazz, and African folklore. A video element is particularly in a state of artistic flux but may be used to set the historic context of the original MOVE tragedy.

Much will be decided after rehearsals begin in August, during which We Shall Not Be Moved will be in production along with four other productions: a Komische Oper Berlin production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute Sept. 15-24 at the Academy of Music, Kevin Puts’ Elizabeth Cree Sept. 14-23 at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater, a Monteverdi/Lembit Beecher double bill titled War Stories Sept. 16-23 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and David Hertzberg’s The Wake World Sept. 18-25 at the Barnes Foundation.

The We Shall Not Be Moved company has roughly a month to pull together a hybrid work for which few clear templates exist. Yet Jones is tentatively confident: “We don’t often work in such a complicated palette. But I’m committed to keeping things smiling,” he said. “They [the collaborators] are ambitious and talented, and I think it’s going to be all right. Sometimes I’m very stern. The [set building] shop is doing three or four productions. But they’re very organized and the spirit is in a good place right now.”

Note from Ramona:

ONA MOVE, family, and friends! You may be aware that an opera based on MOVE (We Shall Not Be Moved) has been produced and opens at The Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia on Saturday, September 16th. What you, our NYC area friends, may not know is that this same opera will be at The Apollo Theatre on Friday, October 6th and Saturday, October 7th. I understand that tickets are $28.50 and $53.50 but double check that. For our friends in and around London in the UK, this opera based on MOVE, will open at The Hackney Empire from October 14th through the 21st. Ticket prices depend on where you want to sit. Hope some of our friends in and around the London area will be able to attend one of the performances. Be well and lots of love—–Ramona

Children of the MOVE family remember MOVE 9 during dedication of new marker

MOVE family youth at marker ceremony on June 24, 2017During the dedication of the new marker on Saturday, June 24, 2017, children of the MOVE family stand silently with photos of MOVE members who have been incarcerated for 38 years. Photograph by Ed Hille, Staff Photographer for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News.

A historical marker was unveiled during a ceremony this afternoon at Osage Avenue and Cobbs Creek Parkway, Philadelphia, where the Move activist community lived until they along with neighbors were bombed in 1985.

The marker is the result of two years’ worth of work by students at the Jubilee School.

Unveiling of MOVE historical marker with MOVE youth speaking

Jubilee School youth unveiling MOVE historical marker

Save the Date: MOVE Art Exhibit and Commemoration

August 5, 2017 - Free the MOVE 9 Program at House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn, NYSaturday, August 5, 2017,

2 – 4 pm: MOVE Art Exhibit – With The Art of Sophia Dawson
$20 – Fundraiser

5 – 8 pm: Program – 39 Years Too Long: Free The Move 9
Free
Featuring:
Ramona Africa (Move Org), Pam Africa (ICFFMAJ), Lawrence Hamm (POP), Suzanne Ross (Free Mumia Coalition), James McIntosh (CEMOTAP), Inez Barron (NYC Councilperson) & Charles Barron (NYS Assemblyperson), and more to be added

House of The Lord Church
415 Atlantic Avenue (bet. Bond & Nevins Sts.) – see map
Brooklyn, NY

For more info: (215) 386-1165 & onamovellja@aol.com

Get flyer

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.

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