Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Message to Jack Heyman’s Retirement Celebration
Long Live John Africa! On a Move!
Greetings to all assembled in honor of Jack Heyman, the longtime ILWU organizer and organizer for a half dozen other causes besides. Jack represents the best of the labor tradition, one not bounded by national borders or the other lines we create to keep us corralled into spaces approved by the state. I think the last time I saw him on the tube he was in London before about a million people protesting maybe the stupidest war in generations — Iraq. Jack knows, as do we all, that our borders are a lot like prison walls that keep us divided and isolated. So he spent a lot of time and a lot of energy with his sledgehammer knocking holes in the walls.
Oh, by the way, I KNOW, I KNOW that Wisconsin has him chomping at the bit.
Anyway, congratulations on his retirement and, On a Move.
This is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union has defended Mumia Abu-Jamal for nearly 25 years, since 1985, including an action in 1999 which closed down all the U.S. West Coast ports demanding freedom for Mumia. This was the first port shutdown in defense of a political prisoner in the United States. Although the union did take a position to free Angela Davis in 1972 no port action was taken.
And, the relationship has been mutual. Mumia has supported every strike and action of the ILWU including defense of the Charleston longshore union, support for the Inland Boatmen’s Union organizing rallies at the Hornblower Ferry terminal on the S.F. Embarcadero, defense of the two young Black longshoremen victimized by police and security goons in the Port of Sacramento under the guise of Homeland Security.
This is a message from Mumia in honor of retiring longshore member, Jack Heyman, who has been an ILWU organizer mobilizing support of death row and political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, Kevin Cooper, the S.F. 8 and Troy Anthony Davis; a leader in the struggles against U.S. wars on Iraq and Afghanistan and in support of Palestinian rights (shutting down the Israeli Zim Line ship in 2010 in the Port of Oakland); and international labor solidarity for the Liverpool Dockers and against South African apartheid.
Jack Heyman is also a member of the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal which organized a labor conference in 2000 that brought many union members, including a delegation of the Charleston longshoremen, into the struggle in defense of Mumia.
Jack was honored on Feb. 25th for his leadership in the union and its struggles for social justice at an event which included many rank and file ILWU members, Angela Davis, Brian McWilliams, Leo Robinson, Howard Keylor, many leaders and rank and file members in the Bay Area labor movement, and activists in the causes of Mumia defense, immigrant rights, civil liberties, and Black liberation and against imperialist wars.