By Donna Muhammad, Contributing Writer
“Freedom is the only treatment.” According to Pam Africa, MOVE member and head of International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal, that was the sentiment recently expressed by Dr. Ricardo Alvarez. Dr. Alvarez is the personal physician to political prisoner and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal. Ms. Africa was a guest on a recent broadcast of “Elevated Places” hosted by Student Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad, national spokesperson for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Ms. Africa provided an update of Mr. Abu-Jamal’s dire health conditions and issued a call to action regarding his current health challenges and for his long sought-after freedom. She also expressed her deep respect for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam in the long-time fight for justice for Mr. Abu-Jamal along with offers by Min. Farrakhan of financial support for his healthcare over the years.
Mr. Abu-Jamal, 66, who was convicted of killing a police officer in 1981 and has maintained his innocence, has served 40 years in the Mahanoy State Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania. He contacted Ms. Africa in early March, concerned that he had contracted Covid-19, which led to a subsequent press conference to address his concerns and appeal for health care. Ms. Africa said the press conference resulted in a response from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections in which their lawyers contacted Mr. Abu-Jamal’s lawyers and stated he did not have Covid-19 and that he never had it.
Amid public pressure, Mr. Abu-Jamal was finally allowed to go to an outside facility where he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and Covid-19, said Ms. Africa. During his four-day stay, he reached out to Dr. Johanna Fernandez, associate professor of history at Baruch College CUNY, who has helped published his writings.
He shared with Dr. Fernandez that he was shackled to his bed the entire time resulting in further damage to his skin which, according to a recent press release, he was already experiencing “Unrelenting skin eruptions causing damaged, ruptured, leathery, dry, exposed wounds. Not one spot on his body is free of dry cracked and bloody open wounds.”
Mr. Abu-Jamal has since been returned to the correctional center’s infirmary, where he is allegedly being denied proper treatment.
Ms. Africa said she and supporters of Mr. Abu-Jamal are asking people to mobilize to continue fighting for his release and prove his innocence. “You know who I feel like? I feel like Mamie Till, you know when she showed the body of her son laying in that casket, ‘look what they did to my son,’” she explained, referring to Emmett Till whose brutal killing at the hands of White men in 1955 in Mississippi sparked outrage.
“I’m looking at Mumia, and I’m saying ‘Look what they are doing to Mumia. Innocent. They are trying to kill him before the whole world and want us to hold hands,’” Mrs. Africa stressed to listeners during the March 11 broadcast.
Support includes efforts by Dr. James MacIntosh of CEMOTAP in New York, who is garnering support of doctors to sign a petition to put pressure on the system for Mr. Abu-Jamal’s health care and release and Phile Chinoseu, convenor of Million Woman March, who has established a campaign to contact the Pennsylvania governor along with other elected officials. Dr. Fernandez and Santiago Alveraz, a California-based college student, have mobilized 75 colleges in the “Campaign to bring Mumia Home.”
For more information, call 215-724-1618 or email [email protected]; The Campaign to bring Mumia Home at [email protected] and The Prison Radio Project at 415-648-4505, [email protected] “STAND UP/SPEAK OUT” Rally is scheduled for April 10, 12:00 noon EDT at City Hall in downtown Philadelphia to push to free Mumia and all elder political prisoners. For more info contact: [email protected] or [email protected] or text: 267-636-3802.