We’re happy to report the success of our third annual Philadelphia Running Down The Walls in support of political prisoners, held on September 6th 2020.
On this beautiful sunny day, participants began gathering in FDR park to check-in for their t-shirts, make donations, set up tables, and hang banners. With a nice breeze coming off the lake, Sheena Sood led another amazing yoga warm-up – this time right on the boardwalk by the shore. Blak Rapp MADUSA with the Dignity Act Now Collective kicked off the event with an epic introduction to Maroon and his book, Maroon the Implacable.
Walkers left the start line around 11:30 am, followed by folks moving at a medium pace, and finally the runners around 11:50 am. Afterward, we gathered to hear from two former juvenile lifers who were mentored in prison by Maroon– Kempis “Ghani” Songster and Robert Saleem Holbrook. We were also blessed to have Chuck Africa - the last of the MOVE 9 to be released from prison - speak for the first time since he was paroled on February 7th of this year. Check out this video for highlights of these speeches.
We’d like to thank Solidarity Food Not Bombs, Mike Africa Jr. , and Dadaji Odinga from Akbar Originals for refreshments. More big thanks to Hate5six , Unicorn Riot , and photographers Joe Piette and Clifford Smith for media coverage, and the campaign to free Mumia Abu-Jamal for the banners that decorated the stage area. It was a huge honor to have all of the remaining Move 9 participating in this event with us; they not only donated themselves, but provided an additional donation from the Move organization . It was also an honor that we were joined by former Black Liberation prisoner of war, Ojore Lutalo , a founding member of the ABCF. We would like to thank Saleem and Ghani for sharing their powerful experiences spending time with Maroon, and Chuck Africa for choosing our event as the outlet for his first speech back home. We thank the tablers - Socialist Rifle Association , Here & Now Zines, the Never Give Up project, Khalid with the political prisoner artwork, as well as the families of Eric Riddick and Omar Askia Ali . Of course, we also thank the comrades behind bars who ran with us, and the families of people in prison who came out.
Together we raised a total of $14,012! As described in the event announcement , funds are split between Russell Maroon Shoatz and the ABCF Warchest– a fund sending monthly stipends to 19 political prisoners with lacking, little, or no financial support. A full breakdown of Warchest funds in and out since 1994 is available here . In accordance with Warchest policies, any funds over the reserved amount needed to send the monthly stipends will be disbursed as one-time donations to other political prisoners who demonstrate financial need. Philly ABC contributed our organization’s savings to the production of the event t-shirts, lovingly hand-printed by the Reclaim Printshop .
We look forward to more successes in the next year as we further the struggle to free Maroon and abolish the carceral system!
Until all are free!