Notes on Contributors

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning journalist and author of the best-selling books, Live From Death Row and Death Blossoms. In 1981 he was elected president of the Association of Black Journalists (Philadelphia chapter). That same year he was arrested for allegedly killing a white police officer in Philadelphia. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1982, in a process that has been described as an epic miscarriage of justice. After he had spent more than 28 years on death row, his death sentence was vacated in 2011 when the Supreme Court let stand the decisions of four federal judges who had earlier declared his death sentence unconstitutional. He is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Despite his three-decade-long imprisonment, most of which was spent in solitary confinement on Death Row, Abu-Jamal has relentlessly fought for his freedom and for his profession. From prison he has written seven books and thousands of radio commentaries ( He holds a BA from Goddard College and an MA from California State University, Dominguez Hills. His books have sold more than 100,000 copies and have been translated into seven languages. | |

Angela Y. Davis is Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness and of Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz and is the author of nine books. In her work on the themes of criminalization and incarceration, she draws upon her own experiences in the early seventies as a person who spent eighteen months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” She is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to dismantling the prison industrial complex. Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia that works in solidarity with women in prison.

Mujahid Farid is lead organizer of the Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) campaign. He was released in 2011 after serving 33 years New York state prisons, during which time he earned a BA from Syracuse University and MA degrees in Sociology from SUNY/New Paltz and in Ministry from New York Theological Seminary. He helped create the first HIV/AIDS peer education program in NY prisons, as well as a college certificate program sponsored by New York Theological Seminary, and he taught accredited introductory sociology courses for trainees in substance-abuse counseling, and served as a jailhouse lawyer. Since his release, he initiated, in addition to RAPP, the Rise & Shine Small Business Coalition.

Johanna Fernández is assistant professor of 20th-Century US History and African American History at Baruch College of the City University of New York (CUNY) and a former Fulbright Scholar to Jordan. She is author of a forthcoming book on the Young Lords Party, the Puerto Rican counterpart to the Black Panthers (Princeton University Press) and editor of Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal (City Lights). She wrote and produced Justice on Trial, a feature-length documentary on race, the death penalty, and the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. She is a coordinator of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home ( and of Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal (

Nyle Fort is a writer, Christian minister, and grassroots community organizer based in Newark, NJ. Currently, he is the research assistant to Dr. Imani Perry (Princeton University) and an American Friends Service Committee volunteer at Union County Juvenile Detention Center.

Inez Hedges is the author of several books on cinema and culture that cover a wide range of 20th- and 21st-century issues, including the legacy of surrealism, the transformations of the Faust legend, and the role of cinema in people’s ongoing struggles for dignity and identity. She is a professor of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Northeastern University.

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson is Defense Minister of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party – Prison Chapter (not to be confused with the “New Black Panther Party”). After 20 years in Virginia prisons, he was “interstate compacted” because of his activism, first to Oregon and then to Texas. He is the author of Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art, Featuring Exchanges with an Outlaw (2010), as well as articles in S&D (nos. 38, 43, and 61) and many other works which can be found (along with his current address) at His recent web-postings include exposés of homicidal practices of guards at his Texas prison. His theoretical writings are being collected for a forthcoming volume, Panther Vision.

déqui kioni-sadiki is an artist, poet, and educator for Liberation. She is co-coordinator of the Sekou Odinga Defense Committee (for her husband Sekou Odinga), chair of the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, member of the nyc chapter of the Jericho Movement, and co-producer and co-host of a weekly public affairs program, “Where We Live,” on WBAI. She lives in the People's Republic of Brooklyn, and is willing to travel anywhere to speak the names of our forgotten heroes of the Black Freedom struggle.

Steve Martinot has been a human rights activist most of his life. He has organized unions and community associations, and edited underground newspapers of both a factory and community orientation. He is the author, most recently, of The Rule of Racialization (2003) and The Machinery of Whiteness (2010), and of a pamphlet entitled On the Need to Abolish the Prison System: An Ethical Indictment (2012). He lives in Berkeley, and speaks on racialization and the corporate structure (separately and in their political relation).

Suren Moodliar founded and helps coordinate encuentro 5 – a “movement-building space” in Boston since 2006. He is also a coordinator of Massachusetts Global Action and several of its projects, including the Color of Water and the Du Bois Forum. Previously he was a coordinator of the North American Alliance for Fair Employment, and he was program coordinator of the Boston Social Forum. He has a background in labor and immigrant organizing.

Sekou Odinga is a former member of the Black Panther Party who grew up in Jamaica, Queens. He was indicted in 1971 in the New York City Panther 21 case and forced underground. He resurfaced in Algeria where he established the International section of the BPP, but returned to participate in the Black Freedom struggle at home. In October 1981, he was captured, beaten and tortured while his co-defendant, Mtayari Sundiata was executed. Forced into a state and federal trial, Odinga was convicted and sentenced in the Liberation of Assata Shakur and the expropriation of an armored-car, along with Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Marilyn Buck and Silvia Baraldini. In 2009, he maxed out of a 40-year federal RICO sentence and was “paroled” to NYS to begin serving a 25-to-life sentence for six counts of attempted murder of police. He was released on November 25, 2014.

Vijay Prashad’s latest book is The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso, 2013). He is a professor of Int'l Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT.

Joseph G. Ramsey is a scholar, writer, educator, and organizer residing in the Boston area. He is a member the S&D editorial board, and is also co-editor of Cultural Logic: an electronic journal of marxist theory and practice ( His recent writings on radicalism in US culture can be found at Red Wedge magazine He is currently editing a special double-issue of CL (in partnership with Works and Days) on "Scholactivism: Transforming Praxis Inside and Outside the Classroom."  Contact him if you are interested in this project.

Mark Lewis Taylor is Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Theology and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary. His books include Religion, Politics and the Christian Right: Post-9/11 Politics and American Empire (2005), The Theological and the Political: On the Weight of the World (2011), and The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America (2nd ed. forthcoming). He founded Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal in 1996 ( and remains its co-coordinator.,

Heather Ann Thompson is a historian at the University of Michigan who has written numerous popular as well as scholarly articles on the history and current impact of mass incarceration. These include pieces for the New York Times, The Atlantic,, Dissent, New Labor Forum, and the Huffington Post, as well as those cited in her present article. She is the author of Whose Detroit: Politics, Labor and Race in a Modern American City and of Blood in the Water: the Attica Prison uprising of 1971 (2015), and the editor of Speaking Out: Protest and Activism in the 1960s and 1970s.

Loïc Wacquant is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Researcher at the Centre de sociologie européenne, Paris. His books, which have been translated into some dozen languages, include Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality (2008), Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (2009), Prisons of Poverty (2009), and Deadly Symbiosis: Race and the Rise of the Penal State (forthcoming).

Laura Whitehorn spent 14 years in federal prison for the “Resistance Conspiracy case,” which included actions against the US Capitol (after the invasion of Grenada and shelling of Beirut), the Patolmen’s Benevolent Association (after police killed Eleanor Bumpurs), the offices of Israeli Aircraft Industries, and the South African Consulate in New York. She edited Safiya Bukhari, The War Before ( She is currently an organizer for Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP;; @RAPPCampaign).