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Racism And The Criminal Justice System

HARLEM - “Can’t Jail the Spirit: The Resistance of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Political Prisoners,” a film and discussion event being held in Harlem, will center on the incarceration of Abu-Jamal, imprisoned on death row since 1983 for the shooting death of a police officer in Philadelphia. The event will include a screening of the recently released film "Justice on Trial" which features Abu-Jamal’s case as an example of greater problems in the criminal justice system:  judicial bias, prosecutorial misconduct, racial discrimination in jury selection, police corruption, and tampering with evidence to obtain a conviction.  Guest speakers include the filmmaker, Kouross Esmaeli, and former Black Panther Francisco Torres.
Mumia Abu-Jamal is a renowned journalist from Philadelphia convicted in the 1981 killing of a police officer and sentenced to death, despite negligence in the police investigation, evidence tampering, and manipulation of prosecution witnesses.  Known as the “voice of the voiceless,” a broad international movement of millions has formed in support of him. Abu-Jamal’s case serves as a touchstone for many social justice movements because of the myriad of issues it encompasses:  the rise in prison populations, police brutality, the death penalty, persecution of political dissent, and racism.
Esmaeli and Torres will address the incarceration of African Americans as the civil rights issue of the 21st century, and participants will discuss how to build a movement in support of Abu-Jamal and political prisoners.  Says Francisco Torres, "As events unfold in Egypt, we see that it is the people who are the determining factor in the movement, and we too shall be the determining factor in undoing the injustice and oppression here in the U.S."
“Can’t Jail the Spirit” will be held Saturday, February 19, 2011, at 7:30 PM, at Freedom Hall, in Harlem



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