ORANGE, N.J. – Cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal has a group of well-wishers in Ms. Zuniga’s third grade class.
Abu-Jamal, convicted in 1981 for killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, is reportedly in ill health and at the SCI Mahanoy infirmary in Pennsylvania, according to the San Francisco Bay View.
“Last Thursday, Mumia tried to go to the bathroom in the infirmary. Because he was so weak, he was not able to sustain himself on his feet. He slid down to the floor and waited there, helplessly and unable to call for assistance, for 45 minutes until he was found by a doctor and another prisoner,” writes Johanna Fernandez, a professor of history at Baruch College (CUNY).
When Fernandez visited Mumia at the prison, she says she brought with her two batches of letters.
The professor writes:
We shared a touching moment with Mumia in an effort to raise his spirits.
Two teachers delivered letters to us that their students had written to Mumia.
One batch came from a third grade class taught by Ms. Marylin Zuniga in Orange, New Jersey. The other batch was from a group of high school students in the Philadelphia Student Union, which fights for school reform and is led by Mr. Hiram Rivera.
EAGnews contacted Ms. Zuniga – a teacher at Forest Street School in the Orange Public Schools district – to better understand the nature of the letters and she did not respond.
A call to Principal Yancisca Cooke went unreturned, as well.
According to Zuniga’s website, she is a language arts and social studies teacher at the school.
Fernandez says the cop killer appreciated the public school children’s letters.
“It had been a long time since we had seen Mumia smile. He chuckled as he read excerpts from these touching letters,” she writes.
The idea of 8-year-old children writing “get well” notes to a cop killer doesn’t sit well with Rich Costello, political coordinator for the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police.
“They don’t have any conception of who he is or what he represents,” the former police union president tells EAGnews.
“What that teacher has done has put her own students at risk by asking they write ‘get well’ letters to essentially the devil.”
Last year, EAGnews uncovered lesson plans in the Oakland, California school district that compared Abu-Jamal to Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Critically examine a possible parallel between Martin Luther King, Jr., and someone else many believe is currently targeted by the U.S. government, Mumia Abu-Jamal,” the lesson plan reads.
“The media, prison system and law enforcement organizations have censored Mumia Abu Jamal.
“On one hand, there have been occasional stories in print and broadcast media about Mumia Abu-Jamal. On the other, despite the widespread support for Abu-Jamal that has made his case the most renown (sic) and controversial of death penalty cases in the world today, these stories are extremely rare and always refer to him as a ‘convicted cop-killer.’ And despite his prolific writings published in several books, none of his work can be found in mainstream media.
“Commentaries by him that were to be broadcast by National Public Radio were cancelled before they had a chance to be aired, under intense pressure from the right wing, including the Fraternal Order of Police.”
This story will be updated with comments from the teacher, if she responds.
“The Kelly File” featured our report on last night’s episode.
“Fox & Friends” did, too. Video here.