Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Remarks by Martin Luther King III

President, Southern Christian Leadership Conference International Committee to Save the Life of Mumia Abu-Jamal, January 12, 2000

Conscience compels me to unite with Nelson Mandela, Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbelton, elected representatives of the European Parliament, the Congressional Black Caucus, Amnesty International, Harry Belafonte, Paul Newman, Ossie Davis, Danny Glover, Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, and millions of others around the globe to fight for the life of our brother in "the struggle," Mumia Abu-Jamal.

SCLC's commitment to justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal, dates back over a decade. We thank God for the energy of Ralph Schoenman, our board member Dick Gregory, and others, who have made today's international witness a reality.

First of all, at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference we are unequivocally opposed to capital punishment. The conductors of the evil system of injustice made Abu-Jamal a political prisoner and now they have planned his execution. As "consciousness-raising members" of the global society, we cannot afford to sit back and let an innocent man die.

The world must know that the judge purposely withheld "crucial evidence" from Abu-Jamal's case. Experts say this evidence alone could have brought an acquittal. We can no longer afford to allow bias in the criminal justice system to continue.

We must stand by Abu-Jamal's side just as we stood by the sides of Nelson Mandela, Angela Davis, Ben Chavis, and Joann Little.

I do not believe it is incidental that I find myself protesting for the life of this innocent man, one month after my family and I received the verdict from a multicultural jury that said my father's assassination was part of a conspiracy. Martin Luther King, Jr. was brutally murdered because he spoke out against social injustices.

Today, almost thirty-three years after he was killed, we must unite together in the name of justice to stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a young man who was respected in the community for reporting stories about economic and social injustices.

My family was able to find out who killed my father because my brother, Dexter never gave up. He persevered in his search for the truth and our family let our faith sustain us until we found out who killed my father.

We must come together as a family in the spirit of my father who said, "the arc of the universe is long but is bent towards justice," and never give up until we save the life of our brother, Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Americans should know that the world is watching to see if she will do the right thing. Under the system of government dictated by our Constitution, the judicial system is the final repository of public power. It should be held inviolate from racism and other prejudices, which plague our society. We demand that all those with the power to intervene do so now in the name of justice…do so now in the name of all that America holds, claims to hold, true and fair…do so now in the name of humanity…do so now, in the name of all those who have already died to force America to live up to its motto of liberty and justice for all…