(en) Mumia: report from death row.

Lyn Gerry (redlyn@loop.com)
Fri, 21 Nov 1997 08:23:04 +0000

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Column Written 11/11/1997 1997 Mumia Abu-Jamal---All Rights Reserved

De nigger woman is de mule uh de world to fur as Ah can see. Ah been prayin' fuh it tuh be different wid you. Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

Let me ask you a quick question: What is the difference between the Million Man March and the Million Woman March?

What is the difference between the Million Woman March and the Promise Keeper's gathering?

Of these three events, which was denied wall-to wall live coverage?

Of them all, which was truly a March, and which garnered the largest contingent of people?

Of course, I've asked more than one question.

However, they serve to illustrate to us how the largest mass march in American history, larger than the celebrated Million Man March, and the Promise-Keepers' event, got minimized in the electric eyes of the media, by denial of its live presence, and by outrageous undercounting attributed to the anonymous 'police source', which claimed 300,000 attendees at its height (later figures were 1.5 to 2 million women!)

When one considers the vast, enormous difference between the initial and the subsequent numbers (between 1.2 million and 1.7 million women were 'missed'!) provided by cops it appears they went to great lengths to discount the magnificence of the MWM.

The march itself, and the white, majoritarian, corporate media's schizophrenic response to it, reflected the powerful determination of grassroots black women, and resistance to their success.

The media, itself one of the most racially exclusive of American institutions, criticized and spat on the effort from its very inception why then wouldn't it try to silence and minimize these black voices?

Despite the media's denigration of the March organizers (not well-known), its speakers (not from "recognized" [which means "approved"] groups), or its organizing efforts (unorthodox, poorly-planned, etc.), it proved some important things. Among them, the organizers don't have to be "well-known" to work well, that speakers don't have to come from "approved" groups to attract admiring audiences, and what is "unorthodox" may be successful.

The success of the March proved the white, majoritarian media was not only wrong, but irrelevant, as black women utilized both old-fashioned (word-of-mouth) and new-fangled (internet) methods of communication to make it happen.

They proved that women could bypass the established media to get their word out, and generate an unprecedented response. They proved that people like Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, so reviled by the establishment and post-apartheid press, is loved and revered by millions of African women on this side of the Atlantic, and others, like Tynetta Muhammad, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ramona & Pam Africa, Julia Wright, and Ava Muhammad had something to say that they wanted to hear. They proved that millions of black women, Christians, Muslims, Yorubas, Hebrew Israelites, Rastafarians, etc., of various political, economic, and class states, could unite in the face of state and societal repression, as one body.

That they prevailed is remarkable, but that they had to do so in the face of white press hostility and resistance, a press that millions of black women consume daily, borders on the criminal.

To boycott the media that assaults your very presence seems only sane.

MAJ 1997

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