Although Black August has come to an end, Black Lives Matter Philly is committed to carrying on the spirit and work of our ancestors, whose tireless struggles for liberation and justice for all Black people we honor during the month of August. As we uplift the important moments of global Black resistance that have transpired in August from the start of the Haitian revolution to the Ferguson uprisings, let us not forget that the observance of Black August began in California prisons in the 1970s after the assassination of political prisoner and revolutionary, George Jackson.
Black August is a time to remember our fallen political prisoners whose leadership and sacrifices have paved the way for the work of Black Lives Matter and our collective fight for freedom. It is also a time to give flowers to our movement elders and political prisoners who are still living, teaching, leading, and fighting for us. BLM Philly acknowledges and holds dear the members of the MOVE Organization and all political prisoners in the state of Pennsylvania, whose struggles and immense sacrifices have directly impacted our local communities.
In honor of our beloved political prisoners, BLM Philly proudly announces the Brick by Brick Freedom Fund, which we are establishing in partnership with the Abolitionist Law Center and the Philadelphia chapter of The Jericho Movement. This campaign will focus on securing freedom and life-sustaining support for current and former political prisoners in Pennsylvania.
Between 2018-2020, 7 members of the MOVE 9 were released after 40 years of unjust incarceration, which claimed the lives of Merle Africa, Phil Africa, and Delbert Africa (after six months of freedom). The Brick by Brick Freedom Fund will provide financial assistance to surviving MOVE members as they rebuild their lives. Currently, 10 of our elderly freedom fighters continue to be held as political prisoners in Pennsylvania and this campaign will provide resources for the medical and daily needs as well as the legal defense needed to secure the freedom of Russell Maroon Shoatz, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Joseph “Joe Joe” Bowen, Dawud Lee, Arthur Cetawayo Johnson, Kerry Shakaboona Marshall, Safir Chuma Asafo, Fred “Muhammad” Burton, Bryant Arroyo, and Dennis Solo McKeithen.
BLM Philly has set a fundraising goal for our contribution to this campaign of $260,000, which will provide direct support to surviving members of the MOVE 9 and the next five years of commissary deposits for the daily needs of 10 current political prisoners. Beginning on September 1, 2020, we will begin accepting donations to the Brick by Brick Freedom Fund.
Join us in our effort to support political prisoners in the state of Pennsylvania, who have sacrificed their freedom for the cause of justice. They have committed their lives to the struggle, and it is now our turn to support them in securing and sustaining their freedom.
Brick by Brick, Wall by Wall
We’re gonna Free Mumia Abu Jamal
We’re gonna Free Russell Maroon Shoatz
We’re gonna Free Joseph “Joe Joe” Bowen
We’re gonna Free Dawud Lee
We’re gonna Free Arthur Cetawayo Johnson
We’re gonna Free Kerry Shakaboona Marshall
We’re gonna Free Safir Chuma Asafo
We’re gonna Free Fred “Muhammad” Burton
We’re gonna Free Bryant Arroyo
We’re gonna Free Dennis Solo McKeithen