Angela Davis featured at big indoor rally demanding ‘Justice for Rasmea’
Chicago, IL -500 people gathered at the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, June 28, to support “Justice for Rasmea Odeh.”
Odeh was convicted in federal court in November of 2014 of a trumped up immigration charge that alleges she wrongly filled out her application for citizenship 10 years earlier. She was sentenced to be stripped of citizenship and deported, but first the 68-year-old icon of the Palestinian struggle will face 18 months in a federal penitentiary.
The rally was brought together with the involvement of Angela Davis, one of the best known figures of the Black Liberation Movement of the early 1970s. She added her voice to the demand of “Justice for Rasmea” which rang out from the hall.
Davis, herself a former political prisoner, urged people to mobilize to Cincinnati in September when Odeh’s appeal will be argued before the Sixth Circuit Court.
Odeh spoke about her experience under Israeli occupation and her fight for justice against the U.S. government attack on her. The crowd and the stage included activists from Black Lives Matter and the Palestinian movements, and both Davis and Odeh spoke about the linked struggles for liberation. Clearly pointing to the role of U.S. imperialism as the main oppressor of the people of the world, Odeh said, “The liberation of African Americans will result in the liberation of all oppressed nations.”
Davis and Odeh shared the stage with Frank Chapman, field organizer of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. Chapman spoke of the August 29 march that will happen in Chicago to demand an elected, civilian police accountability council (CPAC). Both Davis and Odeh expressed support for CPAC and the march. Chapman said, “People talk about this as a tragic time. That's not how we see it. We are living in a momentous time in which people are rising up and fighting back!”
The audience included victims of police crimes, including Howard Morgan; Martinez Sutton, brother of Rekia Boyd; and Bertha Escamilla, whose son spent many years in prison as a result of being tortured into confessing to a crime.
The chairs were filled mainly with young people, although Davis recognized in the audience Josephine Wyatt, who along with Davis, co-founded the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression in 1973. It was Mrs. Wyatt’s 95th birthday.