Mumia’s attorneys, Bret Grote and Robert Boyle, and the attorney for Wadiya, Mumia’s wife, filed the following legal documents. Read them here

Abu-Jamal et al v Kerestes et al

Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order

Memorandum in Support for Preliminary Injunction . . .

Declaration of Bret Grote (attorney for Mumia Abu-Jamal)

Declaration of Wadiya Jamal (wife of Mumia Abu-Jamal)

MARYLIN ZUNIGA – May 18, 2015 Press Release


Larry Hamm, People’s Organization for Progress, 973-801-0001

Donna Nevel, Communities for Marylin Zuniga, 917-570-4371

Supporters Fight to Reinstate Talented Teacher

School Board capitulates to pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police

In an outpouring of community support, hundreds of community members, educators, and parents called for the immediate reinstatement of Marylin Zuniga to her position as a third grade teacher at Forest Street Elementary School in Orange, New Jersey. In spite of this overwhelming support, the Orange Township School Board terminated Ms. Zuniga from her position because she allowed her third grade students to write get-well letters to political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

As educator and minister Nyle Fort, who is working with Communities for Marylin Zuniga, pointed out: “The Orange Board of Education is supposedly accountable to the community. After the public meeting, in which people spoke overwhelmingly in support of Ms. Zuniga, the school board adopted a resolution identified only by its number, and then got up and left the room. Until calls were made to the school the next day, no one knew that the board had decided to terminate her. That is hardly public accountability.”

Further, according to Alan Levine, one of Ms. Zuniga’s lawyers, “The Orange Board of Education flagrantly violated Ms. Zuniga’s right to due process. She never received a notice describing her misconduct, and had no opportunity to confront her accusers or to present witnesses on her behalf. Her termination lacked those constitutional safeguards designed to insure that government agencies act fairly.”

Hundreds of educators across the country sent a letter to the school board in which they “insist[ed] that Ms. Zuniga be immediately returned to her position as third grade teacher at Forest Street Elementary with supportive mentorship. The educational community is looking to you to develop, and not punish, this committed and qualified educator.”

Educator Awo Okaikor Aryee-Price also added that “Ms. Zuniga’s termination was grossly disproportionate to whatever offense she may have committed. Clearly, her termination was not about her student’s education or safety, but, rather, a reflection of the Board’s capitulation to outside pressures of the Fraternal Order of Police.”

As Mark Taylor, community activist and professor at Princeton Theological Seminary made clear, “ At the heart of this matter is the question of who controls what happens in public school classrooms. As long as the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) can influence what our children can and cannot learn, the right to democratic education is lost.”

“Marylin Zuniga was beloved by her students and was a wonderful teacher. If we are thinking about what is best for the children, which should be our only concern, Ms. Zuniga would be back in her classroom, “ said Tamia Chatmon, one of the parents of a student in Ms. Zuniga’s class.

 Ms. Zuniga has asked her lawyers and her union to challenge the termination so that she can be reinstated to her classroom.


Hi Colleagues –

Read about how EMAJ and other plaintiffs won against the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. You can also find a link to the ruling within this article. The ruling makes for great reading as the judge states that this law of the Pennsylvania officials to try to silence Mumia and other prisoners was “manifestly unconstitutional.” Read the full decision by the judge, in PDF form here.

Thanks to everyone who signed on to this.


Mark Lewis Taylor, EMAJ, Princeton Theological Seminary

Johanna Fernandez, EMAJ, Baruch College/CUNY

Letter for Marylin Zuniga from Oakland (CA) Teacher Who Fought & Won Against the FOP/Fox Intimidations

Dear Superintendent Lee, Ms. Cooke, and Mr. James,

I am shocked and saddened to hear that officials in your district have caved in to pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police to suspend, and possibly further discipline, Marylin Zuniga, previously identified as a model third-grade teacher in your district. I am writing to urge you to immediately reverse course by reinstating her to her classroom and commending her admirable support of her students’ compassionate response to a human being. That the FOP thinks this human being, Mumia Abu-Jamal, should be executed (despite the Supreme Court’s finding that it would be unconstitutional and Amnesty International’s that it would be “unconscionable”), should not matter to responsible educational leaders.

As a history teacher for 24 years in Oakland, California, I encountered a similar attack by the FOP when they found curriculum I’d written about Mumia Abu-Jamal on my district’s website nearly a year ago. As in this most recent case, the FOP used Fox News and to vilify a teacher and school district as irresponsible “cop-killer” supporters. District officials reacted fearfully and immediately disowned support for my unit and took down  the entire Urban Dreams website (filled with lessons related to social justice) where it had been posted. Over the next eight months, former students, and community members publicly protested our district’s failure to stand up for educational and democratic values. The district finally reversed its knee-jerk compliance with police demands and right-wing pressure and admitted that the censored curriculum met rigorous content and critical-thinking standards.

I urge you to recognize your mistake much sooner than leaders in our district did. Please respond to the very ugly political pressure being exerted with courage on behalf of your students, their families, and teachers. Please reinstate Marylin Zuniga immediately. Please also assure Ms. Zuniga’s students, their parents/guardians, and the community who love, respect, and need her, that her continued employment is no longer in jeopardy.

Thank you.

Craig Gordon

PRESS RELEASE on Marylin Zuniga and Mumia

                                                               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE




        New York City, NY/Princeton, NJ. April 13, 2015. A recent biased news frenzy led by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has targeted Marylin Zuniga, a third-grade teacher in Forest Street Elementary School in Orange, NJ. As a result, she has been suspended for supporting her students’ wishes to send get-well letters to the imprisoned and gravely ill Mumia Abu-Jamal, one of the most celebrated, black public intellectuals of our time. Calling the teacher’s approach “exemplary,” a nationwide group of teachers explains their position today in a support letter posted at the Educators website.

Reached for comment, Cornel West, of Union Theological Seminary/NYC noted, “Educators in black and brown communities today are taking a double-hit; first, they are denied funding for quality public schools in their neighborhoods, and then a growing police presence locks down a desperate and dispossessed people.” He concluded, “Police should not tell us what or whom to teach.”

Princeton Seminary Professor Mark Lewis Taylor, one of the drafters of the letter noted, “Reportedly, School District guidelines encourage teachers to prepare content on such topics as ‘how the actions of Dr. MLK Jr., and other civil rights leaders served as catalysts for social change and inspired social activism in subsequent generations.’ Abu-Jamal’s work since a youth and his intrepid prison writings during years of onerous confinement ably meet such recommendations for course content.”

Historian Dr. Johanna Fernandez (Baruch College/CUNY) and another drafter of the letter observed, “When Ms. Zuniga introduced students to Abu-Jamal and others during Black History Month, she was in good company. Nearly all scholars of African American history see Abu-Jamal as a significant activist/intellectual who belongs to the American literary canon that includes figures and writers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Angela Davis, Ella Baker and Ida B. Wells.”

The press has failed to explain that Ms. Zuniga made the students’ letter-writing to Abu-Jamal voluntary. The letter-writing was an extra project done only after the students had finished regular assignments. Given that 1 in 4 black children are likely to have an incarcerated family member, even Sesame Street has addressed mass incarceration for its 3-8 year-old viewers in its “Little Children, Big Problem” series. Before this incident her mentor and principal had commended Ms. Zuniga for being a model teacher. Zuniga has also completed an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University with a 3.9 GPA.

The full text of educators’ positions and complete list of signers are given at the online site. Signers of the support letter include Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges, James H. Cone and Cornel West (Union Theological Seminary), Michael Schiffmann (University of Heidelberg), Robin D. G. Kelley (UCLA), Angela Y. Davis (UC Santa Cruz, Professor Emerita), Joe Feagin (Texas A&M), Vijay Prashad (Trinity College) and more.

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