Philly ABC is happy to report the success of our second annual Running Down The Walls in support of political prisoners, held on September 7th, roughly 2 years from the date that our group formed. We again chose a late summer date for the event, but we hope to align our 2020 RDTW with other ABC chapters. We also joined the ABCF earlier this year to more closely work with our long-term comrades in the LA and former Philly ABC chapters.
We gathered at 10 am in FDR park for a yoga warm-up led by Sheena Sood. It was a beautiful morning, warm and sunny with a nice breeze coming off the lake. Two laps around the park loop is conveniently almost exactly 5K. Like last year, we split into 3 groups: walkers, joggers and runners. Walkers left the starting line around 11 am, followed by the joggers at 11:10 and the runners at 11:20. Afterward, we gathered for a group photo, speeches by Mike Africa Jr. (son of Debbie and Mike Africa who were also participating in the event), Janet and Janine Africa, and refreshments provided by Food Not Bombs Solidarity.
Together we raised a total of $1940 to split between the ABCF Warchest, and the Never Give Up! project started by Mike Africa Jr. to provide long-term support for released members of the MOVE 9. We chose royal blue as the color for this year’s shirt to support and raise awareness for Chuck Africa’s fight against colon cancer from within prison. Chuck Africa is up for parole later this year, and along with Delbert Africa is one of the remaining members of the MOVE 9 not yet paroled. Another long-term comrade behind bars in PA, Russell Maroon Shoatz, is also battling colo-rectal cancer so we ran in royal blue in solidarity with him as well. Maroon’s support team is collecting funds to help secure him holistic health options.
At the time of last year’s RDTW, in commemoration of 40 years since the arrest of the MOVE 9, only Debbie had been paroled. This year we were grateful for not only the release of Mike and his reunification with Debbie and family, but the release of Janet, Janine and Eddie as well, all of whom participated for the first time outside of prison walls! We look forward to more successes in the next year!
Until all are free!