I Get That You’re Handing Out Pardons, But Can We Vet Them Better Next Time?
I’m not mad at black men being pardoned. I would have loved for Mumia to get out though.
Today is a joyous day in the eyes of most Americans. Notice I said most, not all. For most, today is the first day of America’s new relationship with a seemingly stable and efficient leader. I can see how most are happy.
To others who aren’t followers of white nationalist gangs and who aren’t crumping in front of police though, today is yet another day in the saga of being black in America. Nothing to raise hell over or shout praises for.
But I admit seeing 45 pardoning a slew of famous black celebrities like Kwame Kilpatrick, Lil Wayne, Kodak Black, and Death Row founder Harry O definitely caused me to raise an eyebrow. I can’t say job well done for a man whose mere presence reaffirms white nationalism, entitlement, and mediocrity, but I can acknowledge his willingness to work with other black celebrities and weigh their opinion. I’m sure A$AP Rocky would agree as well, but that’s not what I’m writing about today.
No, today, I’m writing because I am upset that out of all the pardons we could give, not one has been offered to Mumia Abu-Jamal. Former President Barack Obama made history in his legacy by pardoning and commuting more sentences than any other president, but somehow people like Mumia and Delbert Orr missed the cut. Now today, we see it again as rappers with more access to the president proved to be the deciding factor.
Mumia Abu-Jamal is an influential journalist, author, and speaker for the Black Panther Party in Philadelphia. Since 1983, Mumia has been a political prisoner. He was sentenced to death for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer, Daniel Faulkner, and since then has remained on death row. His case has invoked worldwide attention as many have called for the case to be retried due to accusations of police intimidation and witness tampering. His case and his books such as Live From Death Row have brought to light the cruelty of the criminal justice system.
I understand why his name and the names of other political prisoners aren’t being mentioned. What do I expect from an administration that has continually shown me that I am expendable? Black people serve the system and if it weren’t for them being the cogs in this capitalist system how else could the system survive? Mumia and other political prisoners are essential to the system. They are reminders to all who would choose to think for themselves that there are consequences for not adhering to their system.
Still, I would have loved to wake up and see Mumia’s face plastered across my timeline. But in a time of constant unrest and uncertainty, I am sure that sooner rather than later I will. Until then, there’s more to be done.