Among the measures related to the education of California students and so-called collective bargaining rights for teachers was Resolution 19, which “reaffirms support for death row journalist.” The resolution reads, “Be it resolved, that the California Federation of Teachers reaffirm its support and demand that the courts consider the evidence of innocence of Mumia Abu-Jamal.”
The resolution continues,
Mumia Abu-Jamal has for decades as a journalist fought courageously against racism and police brutality and for the human rights of all people and has taken strong stands in support of working people involved in labor struggles and in support of well-funded quality, public education.
But that's not the whole story. The Blaze writes:
Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former member of the Black Panther Party, was convicted of shooting, multiple times, Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981. He reportedly confessed to the crime and was given the death penalty.
Yet the California Federation of Teachers asserts Abu-Jamal’s innocence and has elevated him to the status of civil-rights hero.
Kyle Olson of Town Hall observes, “Mumia Abu-Jamal [is] a hero of hardcore radical leftists — to some because he executed a police officer.”
Conservative pundit Ann Coulter labeled the Left’s reverence for Mumia Abu-Jamal “devoutly religious” in her book Godless.
Daniel Flynn, author of Cop Killer: How Mumia Abu-Jamal Conned Millions Into Believing He was Framed, explains that the California Federation of Teachers is just one of many groups duped into believing in Abu-Jamal’s innocence, adding,
Somebody should tell the California Teachers Federation that this is over, he is in jail, he is going to stay there. You have numerous eyewitnesses saying Mumia did it. You had ballistic evidence — Mumia’s gun at the scene was consistent with the bullet used to kill Faulkner. Mumia admitted after the fact that he did it.
In response, CFT spokesman Fred Glass indicated that though the case is 30 years old, it remains a relevant issue since Abu-Jamal continues to pursue the appeals process. He explained,
The delegates decided it was time to reiterate that they supported him due to the irregularities that they felt had taken place during his case. They see this as a civil liberties issue; it is quite common for the CFT to take positions on broad social matters like this.
This is not the first time that the California Federation of Teachers has taken a radical and controversial stand. In 2008, it was one of the teachers’ unions that provided support for a bill being considered in the California legislature that would have eliminated the state’s loyalty oath that public employees must take upon hire — which indicates they do not advocate “the forceful or violent overthrow of the government of the United States” or of the state of California.
One critic of the legislation declared, "At a time when California students are struggling to pass basic exams, Senator Lowenthal is focusing on communism — the very government system responsible for the deaths of an estimated 100 million people."
To be fair, Olson notes that “there is a difference between rank-and-file teachers and the leadership of radical teachers’ unions.” However, he adds, “The trouble is, the rank-and-file sits idly by as the radicals embarrass them, time and time again.”
Because the CFT is a branch of the AFL-CIO, some observers wonder what police members of the AFL-CIO must think about the passage of such a resolution in support of a man who killed one of their own.
Addressing the issue of the relevance of Abu-Jamal to public education, Olson asks, “At what point will the teachers’ unions be more concerned with the pitiful state of public education than they are about the fate of a convicted cop killer, or other unrelated issues like gay rights, national health care or American foreign policy?"
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