Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider has sat on my shelf unread for decades. Thankfully, I picked it up last night and found these much-needed words for these times:
“We can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired. For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.
The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.
Today, Sonali Kolhatkar launched her new radio and television show Rising Up with Sonali! I’m honored that I’ve been chosen as the show’s Pop Culture Correspondent and Film Critic. Stay tuned for my debut!
I’m so honored that the Center for Arab American Philanthropy has chosen me for their series “Arab Americans Who Care,” wherein they state they “can’t wait to see what waves Stephanie Abraham makes next!” Alhamdililah!!! Check out their generous feature, “Stephanie Abraham and a Passion for Helping Others.” (Also pasted below.)
I first learned about Mumia Abu Jamal in 1998 when I was a student transferring from Pasadena City College to UCLA. At that time, the movement to free him was gaining steam, particularly on college campuses and I took it on wholeheartedly. I marched in protests in LA, San Francisco and Philly, shouting, “Brick by brick, wall by wall, we gonna free Mumia Abu Jamal.” I did an internship with a nonprofit wherein to communicate the urgency of his situation, we organized a national day of art on September 11th (two years before the Twin Towers fell) entitled “Mumia 911.” Inspired by his writings and those of other former Panthers like Assata, I focused my World Arts & Cultures degree on the links between social justice movements and art.
At that time, his case was an example of how people get railroaded by the state and sentenced to death with unfair trials — especially Black, poor people. It still is. Now, it’s also an example of how the state denies prisoners medicine and medical care.
Originally, Prison Radio asked me to write the script for this PSA–but then they asked me to read it as well! How could I refuse? I needed to communicate how dire the situation is, but I hardly recognize myself with such a serious tone.
Mumia continues to publish and to speak out as a voice of the voiceless. The movement to free him has taken some hits, but we’re still fighting for his life and freedom. Join us.