In a recent article, third graders in an Orange Public School have written letters to Mumia Abu-Jamal. The letters were delivered by a third grade teacher. Orange Public Schools will have to avoid any future allegations of racism due to the letters that were written to Mumia Abu-Jamal.

 

According to a recent article, “The Orange Public Schools was surprised to learn through recent news reports that one of its teachers, Ms. Marilyn Zuniga, a third grade teacher at Forest Street Elementary School, involved her students in a ‘get well’ letter writing assignment to convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal,” the statement reads.

“The school’s principal and district administrators vehemently deny that it had any knowledge of the assignment and preliminary inquiries find that no approval was ever sought nor were parents notified about this unauthorized activity.

“The incident reported is in no way condoned nor does it reflect curriculum, program or activities approved by the district.”

“Ms. Zuniga will be immediately suspended with pay until such time the investigation is completed and based upon the results of the investigation additional action may be taken by the Board of Education,” the statement reads.

 

Who is Mumia Abu-Jamal?

 

Mumia Abu-Jamal (born Wesley Cook April 24, 1954) is an American activist and journalist who was convicted and sentenced to death in July 1982 for the December 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.

 

Abu-Jamal became involved in black nationalism in his youth and was a member of the Black Panther Party until October 1970, after which he became a radio journalist – eventually becoming president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. On December 9, 1981, Officer Faulkner was fatally shot while conducting a routine traffic stop of Abu-Jamal’s brother, William Cook. Abu-Jamal, whose discharged revolver was found at the scene, was arrested and charged with first degree murder. He attempted to represent himself at his 1982 trial but was repeatedly reprimanded for disruptive behavior and given a court-appointed lawyer. Prosecution witnesses identified him as the shooter and testified that he had confessed to shooting Faulkner. A jury convicted Abu-Jamal of first degree murder and sentenced him to death. He spent the next 30 years on death row.

 

Why do some citizens consider the Mumia Abu-Jamal case a case of racism in America?

 

At the time of the shooting the statistics involving alleged racially motivated traffic stops of Blacks was not prominent. Since then it has been surmised that traffic stops of Blacks was racially motivated and designed as an process for incarcerating Black men. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that Black drivers (12.3%) were about three times as likely as white drivers (3.9%) and about two times as likely as Hispanic drivers (5.8%) to be searched during a traffic stop in 2008.

 

After the Michael Brown shooting, a Department of Justice investigation examined 35,000 pages of records from 2012 to 2014 and the numbers are stark. While 67 percent of Ferguson’s residents are African American, they made up 93 percent of those arrested and 90 percent of people given citations.

And when an officer pulled someone over, 85 percent of the time it was an African American. When police used force, 88 percent of the time it was against African Americans.

 

Due to the alleged racism associated with Mumia Abu-Jamal any penalty delved out to the third grade teacher Marilyn Zuniga will be considered racist.

 

Orange Public Schools will have to respond by ensuring that Black children in the schools are not over disciplined and that there is a high level of academic achievement for the Black students.

Orange Public Schools can utilize the Raccelerate Racism Formula to test for any racism associated with the disciplining of Black Children. Orange City Public Schools will have to react quickly because the spotlight is focused on them as a result of the Mumia Abu-Jamal third grade letters.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
www.positiveracialrelationships.com
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012

 

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