THIS IS A CALL TO ACTION:
The Pennsylvania Senate will vote this week on House bill HB2533 and Senate bill SB508. Governor Corbett has pledged to sign it.. This bill will make it illegal for prisoners to speak publicly AND allow the Attorney General or District Attorney to sue prisoners and the folks that assist them. This legislation was fast tracked in direct response to the positive support Mumia Mumia Abu Jamal Abu Jamal received for his Goddard College commencement speech. This Bill must not pass in Pennsylvania or we may find Florida blindsided by similar political tactics.
Link to commencement speech video:
This legislation was created to silence political prisoners like Mumia Abu Jamal, Kerry Shakaboona Marshall, Bryant Arroyo and Russell Shoatz whose voices can be heard around the world, in spite of their physical captivity. Consider how much their voices have contributed to our intellectual heritage and collective growth. Consider all that we have learned about prison conditions and prisoner rights violations from those imprisoned. These bills are a clear violation of the First Amendment. The state has no right to silence the speech of those it disagrees with or to restrict the right of the public to hear them.
Take action today by calling Pennsylvania lawmakers to tell them that prisoners should not be denied the right to speak. Demand they vote NO on HB 2533 and SB 508.
Senate Majority Whip Pat Browne (717) 787-1349
Senate Minority Whip Anthony Williams (717) 787-5970
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (717) 787-4712
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (717) 787-7683
We believe that this legislation is a cynical move by legislators to stop people in prison from speaking out against an unjust system. The legislation could be voted on as early as Wednesday, October 15, 2014. If this bill passes, it will be a huge blow to the movement against mass incarceration. People inside prisons play a leading role in these struggles and their perspectives, analysis, and strategies are essential to our work. Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people who write books, contribute to newspapers or even write for ‘Voices from the Inside’ would run the risk of legal consequences just for sharing their ideas.
Noelle Hanrahan producer of Mumia’s radio essays notes in response “The mainstream media would do well to listen to Mumia Abu-Jamal’s always illuminating and insightful commentaries. She notes that John Edgar Wideman, professor at Brown University has said, “If Mumia Abu-Jamal has nothing important to say, why are so many powerful people trying to shut him up?”.
Prison Radio Essay: The tragedy of Troy Davis http://www.prisonradio.org/media/audio/mumia/troy-davis-tragedy-315-mumia-abu-jamal?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Critical+Alert%3A+FOP+and+PA+Legislature+try+…&utm_source=YMLP&utm_term=Listen