Protest Now! No To Police Censorship of Mumia, and Teachers!
Reinstate the Urban Dreams Website!
Action Still Needed! Please send messages to the School Board!
- Scroll down for School Board addresses -
Here’s what happened: Under pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)—operating through a friendly publicity agent called Fox News—the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) earlier this year shut down an entire website composed of teacher-drafted curriculum material called Urban Dreams. Why? Because this site included course guidelines on the censorship of innocent political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal! The course material compared the censorship of Mumia’s extensive radio commentaries and writings, with that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s later writings, which focused on class exploitation and his opposition to the US’ imperialist War against Vietnam. Both were effectively silenced by the big media, including in Mumia’s case, by National Public Radio (NPR).
Mumia Is Innocent! But He’s Still a Top Target of FOP
Abu-Jamal has long been a top-row target for the FOP, which tried to get him legally killed for decades. Mumia was framed by the Philadelphia police and falsely convicted of murdering a Philadelphia policeman in 1982, with the extensive collaboration of lying prosecutors, corrupt courts, the US Justice Department, and key political figures.
Mumia’s death sentence was dropped only when a federal appeals court judge set it aside because of blatantly illegal jury instructions by the original highly racist trial judge. (The same federal judge upheld every bogus detail of Mumia’s conviction.) The local Philadelphia prosecutor and politicians chickened out of trying to get Mumia’s original death sentence reinstated due to the fact that all their evidence of his guilt had long been exposed as totally fraudulent!
FOP: Can’t Kill Him? Silence Him!
The FOP had to swallow the fact that the local mucky-mucks had dropped the ball on executing Mumia, but they were rewarded with a substitute sentence of life without the possibility of parole, imposed by a local court acting in secret. Mumia is now serving this new and equally unjust sentence of “slow death.”
This gets us back to the FOP’s main point here, which is to silence Mumia. They can’t stop Mumia from writing and recording his world-renownd commentaries (which are available at Prison Radio, www.prisonradio.org). But they look for any opportunity to smear and discredit Mumia, and keep him out of the public eye; and these snakes have found a morsel on the Urban Dreams web site to go after!
Urban Dreams Was Well Used by Teachers
Urban Dreams was initially set up under a grant from the federal Dept. of Education in 1999-2004 and contains teacher-written material on a wide variety of issues. It is (was) used extensively in California and beyond. The OUSD’s knee-jerk reaction to shut the whole site down because of a complaint from police, broadcast on the all-powerful Fox News network, shows the rapid decline of the US into police-state status. Why should we let a bunch of lying, vicious cops, whose only real job is to protect the wealthy and powerful from all of us, get away with this?
Fresh from defeating Obama’s nominee to head the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department because he served for a period as Mumia’s attorney, the FOP is attacking a school lesson plan that asks students to think outside the box of system propaganda. But the grave-diggers of capitalist oppression are stirring.
Labor Says No To Police Persecution of Mumia!
In 1999, the Oakland teachers union, Oakland Education Association (OEA), held an unauthorized teach-in on Mumia and the death penalty. Later the same year, longshore workers in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) shut down all West-Coast ports to Free Mumia. Other teacher actions happened around the country and internationally. And now the Alameda County Labor Council, acting on a resolution submitted by an OEA member, has denounced the FOP-inspired shutdown of Urban Dreams, and called for the site’s complete restoration (ie no deletions).
Labor Says No To Censorship of Mumia, and Teachers!
We are asking union members particularly, and everyone else as well, if you abhor police-sponsored censorship of school curricula, and want to see justice and freedom for the wrongfully convicted such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, send your message of protest now to the Oakland School Board, at the three addresses below.
Union members: take the resolution below to your local union or labor council, and get it passed!
Whatever you do, send a copy of your protest letter or resolution, or a report of your actions, to Oakland Teachers for Mumia, at email@example.com.
Here is the Alameda County Labor Council resolution:
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Labor Speaks: Urban Dreams Censorship Resolution
Alameda County Labor Council
Whereas Mumia Abu-Jamal, an award winning journalist, defender of the rights of the working class, people of color, and oppressed people has been imprisoned since 1982 without parole for a crime he didn’t commit after his death sentence was finally overturned;
Whereas the Oakland Unified School District’s censorship of the Urban Dreams website was in reaction to a Fox News and Fraternal Order of Police attack on a lesson plan asking students to consider a parallel between censorship of Martin Luther King’s radical ideas and censorship of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and;
Whereas it is dangerous and unacceptable to allow the police to determine the curriculum of a major school district like Oakland, or any school district;
Whereas removal of the Urban Dreams OUSD website denies educators and student access to invaluable curriculum resources by Oakland teachers with social justice themes promoting critical thinking, and;
Whereas in 1999, the Oakland Education Association led the teach-in on Mumia Abu-Jamal and the death penalty which helped deepen the debate in the U.S. on the death penalty itself, and greatly intensified the spotlight on the widespread issue of wrongful conviction and demanded justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal, and;
Whereas OEA and Alameda Contra Costa County Service Center of CTA cited the Mumia teach-in and the censored unit on Martin Luther King Jr. in its Human Rights WHO AWARD for 2013;
Be it resolved that the Alameda Labor Council condemns OUSD’s censorship of the Urban Dreams website and demands that it immediately restore access to all materials on the website, reaffirms its demand for justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal, and issues a press release to seek the widest possible support from defenders of free speech and those who seek justice for Mumia.
- Submitted by Keith Brown, OEA
- Passed, Alameda County Labor Council, 14 July 2014
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Now It’s your turn!
Join with Ed Asner, and with the Alameda County Labor Council, in protesting the
Oakland School Board’s censorship of the Urban Dreams web site!
• Ask your local union, labor council or other organization to endorse the resolution by the Alameda County Labor Council.
• Demand the School Board reinstate the Urban Dreams website without any deletions!
• Send your union resolutions or letters of protest to the following;
1. Oakland Board of Education: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Board President Davd Kakishiba: David.Kakishiba@ousd.k12.ca.us
3. Superintendent Antwan Wilson: Antwan.Wilson@ousd.k12.ca.us
Important: Send a copy of your resolution or email to:
Bob Mandel/Teachers for Mumia at: email@example.com.
Thank you for your support!
-This message is from the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Oakland Teachers for Mumia.