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By Judith Mirkinson
This past weekend (October 22nd to October 25th), hundreds of lawyers, legal workers and activists gathered in Oakland for the National Lawyer’s Guild annual convention. The NLG has represented Puerto Rican political prisoners including the Nationalists, who were the “11” released in 1999 and now Oscar López Rivera. The NLG has also passed numerous resolutions demanding the freedom of Oscar.
This weekend more than 65 people attended a workshop calling for the release of all US held political prisoners. One of the speakers was José E. López, who talked about all the black prisoners who have been held for decades. Another speaker was Morning Star Gali from the International Committee, who is trying to free Leonard Peltier and Eric McDavid, a green anarchist, who was recently released after serving eight years when he proved government misconduct. Later that night, there was public program attended by over 100 people. There, the four were joined by Black Liberation fighter, Sekou Odinga, who was released last year after serving more than 33 years.
The goal of the workshop was to bring attention once more to the issue of political prisoners in the United States and to organize a whole new generation of legal workers and attorneys to work for the prisoners’ release. All the speakers spoke of the urgency of the work and talked about the importance of building solidarity.
José E. López summed it up by saying, “The struggle to free Oscar, the struggle to free Leonard, Mumia, Herman Bell, Mutulu Shakur and all the others is a struggle against colonialism. That’s why they continue to be locked up and that’s why it’s imperative that they come home.”