Former political prisoner to keynote sold-out event to support wrongfully convicted Palestinian American activist and organizer.
CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—June 27, 2015. Prominent Black Chicago groups, including Black Youth Project 100, Black Lives Matter, We Charge Genocide, Southsiders Together Organizing for Power (STOP), and Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, will join Arab and Palestinian groups in welcoming Angela Davis, Professor Emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz, to Chicago, where she will keynote a sold out event in support of wrongfully convicted Palestinian American activist and organizer, Rasmea Odeh. The event will take place on Sunday, June 28 at 2: 30 p.m. at the UIC Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted, 3rd Floor Conference3 Center.
Davis, one of the most famous ex-political prisoners in U.S. history and a prolific scholar in arenas that include prison abolition, critical theory, feminist studies, and women’s rights, has spoken out about Odeh numerous times, including in an Op-Ed in the Detroit News last year, where she wrote, “The courts are being used to retaliate against Palestinian activism. As many people in Chicago and Detroit once joined the call to ‘Free Angela Davis,’ I hope they will now join the campaign to ‘Free Rasmea Odeh.’”
Davis was a leading member of the Communist Party USA and a close associate of the Black Panther Party when she was arrested in 1970 for allegedly participating in an attempt to free the “Soledad Brothers,” three Black inmates who were being railroaded in Soledad Prison because of their political work. An international people’s movement emerged in her defense, and she was ultimately acquitted.
Davis has been an important ally to the Palestinians in their struggle against Israeli occupation, which is what originally attracted her to Odeh’s case. She has also lent her voice, as a women’s rights leader, to challenge the Israeli military court conviction against Odeh that ultimately led to her being arrested 45 years later in Chicago in 2013. “At that time  of her arrest [by the Israelis in Palestine], Odeh was forced into a confession while being subjected to physical and sexual torture, some of it perpetrated in front of her now deceased father,” Davis also wrote in the Op-Ed. “Odeh never committed a crime, and her arrest and conviction by an Israeli military court was unlawful.”
“This event is extremely important to Rasmea’s defense. Not only is Angela Davis world renowned and so incredibly well respected, but many other Black organizations and activists will also be there, which gives us a great opportunity to talk about alliance building and joint struggle,” says Nadine Naber, a colleague of Davis’ in national women’s rights organizations like INCITE, and a member of the Rasmea Defense Committee.
Odeh’s attorneys have filed an appeal and expect that oral arguments will be heard in the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati sometime in September. For more info on the case, visit www.justice4rasmea.org.