An edited version of the film "Green With A Vengence" refreshed everone's memory about the spin that law enforcment and media put on Jeff's case, and fleshed out the ensuing copycat fire at the Romania car dealership, resulting in the burning of over 30 SUV's the week before Jeff's trial... supposedly done "in his name". I believe this is the fire that people are currently being subpoena'd to Grand Jury about in Eugene.
Kevin Price spoke with authority about the lies surrounding Mumia Abu Jamal's case, the fact that Mumia is not off death row at all, as the government has led the public to believe. Kevin proceeded to draw analogies between the misinformation surrounding Free's case and the injustice surrounding the severity of Free's sentence, with Mumia's case, where he clearly didn't wasn't the person who killed the cop (Arnold Beverly, has even confessed to shooting the cop.) Mumia is on death row for his political beliefs, for his refusal to stop reporting the truth. Kevin is a MOVE Supporter who started doing work for Mumia and MOVE political prisoners at the age of 14. Kevin is now working with International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal. He is publisher of the Friends of MOVE newsletter. For more information about mumia's case, go to: http://www.afrikan.i-dentity.com/freedom.now/
Claude Marks from the Freedom Archives Project gave a compelling speech about the importance of prisoner support and the importance of being an ally, allowing those you are allies to determine the direction your support will take. This touched me deeply, as I often see the word "solidarity" used to mean the activist's own determination of what is right for people s/he advocates for. Other powerful messages came from this speaker as well. The website to go to for more information is freedomarchives.org
Ramona Africa reminded us all of the oppression and brutality suffered by all who speaks out against injustice, at the hands of this racist classist system. She wanted people to remember that the people in power need to be removed from power and the systems changed before we can ever expect anything to change. She pointed out that to go to the oppressor to ask for oppression of your people to stop is never going to work. She gave many analogies for this, encouraging people to understand that the system itself will not ever change until the people in control are taken out.
Blackfire got us dancing for the rest of the night with their inspirational rockin' political music, pointing out that whether we are fighting against injustice caused by homophobia, sexism, racism, or classism, it is all the same fight, we are all fighting against the same oppressive system and we need to work together to become a force to be reckoned with. They brought the message from the hopi and dine people on Black Mesa, that that mountain is being ravaged by Peabody Coal, and that the same company that owns half of Peabody Coal is also responsible for many other messed up problems - I didn't catch the name of that company, if anyone else did, please put a comment on the end of this... I was unaware of this transnational connection.
Another thing that Blackfire pointed out, among the many, was that walls are being put up to create a sense of separation between people and mother earth, and between each other. In Palestine, in Iraq, at Anti-globalization protests, in Prison, On the Reservation in Flagstaff... these walls are up to keep people feeling isolated, separated from our family and mother earth. We need to work hard to get past the physical and psychological barriers that separate us so that our struggles can become more powerful and the alliances we make can grow stronger as we face oppression on all fronts.
A great show, kudos to the break the chains folks for putting this event on, and for standing in true solidarity with the political prisoners they support. For more information about Break the Chains, go to breakthechains.net and to join their listserve with important information about how to support political prisoners internationally, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to their listserve