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Annual Thomas Merton Award Honoring Dr. Angela Davis
by Jeremy Shenk Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2006 at 9:12 AM
info@thomasmertoncenter.org 412-361-3022 5125 Penn Ave

Join the Thomas Merton Center on November 10 at 6 pm at the Sheraton Station Square as we honor Dr. Angela Davis. There will be spoken word poetry from local poet Nathan James as well as music and a raffle drawing. The cost of reservations for TMC members are $35, non-members $40, and the student/low-income price is $26. Dr. Davis will be introduced my Death Row inmate Mumia Abu Jamal who is sending a tape from SCI-Greene. Call the TMC to reserve a spot or do that at our website at www.thomasmertoncenter.org Come help us celebrate the Thomas Merton Center and Freedom Fighter Angela Davis!

Civil Rights Icon Accepts 2006 Merton Award for Peace & Justice

Professor Angela Y. Davis, has made the abolition of the death penalty, the release of political prisoners, and the elimination of the Prison Industrial Complex the primary focus of her lifelong campaign to combat global injustice.

“Davis will be in Pittsburgh, PA. on Friday November 10, 2006 at 7:00PM at the Sheraton Station Square to accept the Thomas Merton Award for her ongoing efforts to dismantle the Prison Industrial Complex,” said Development Director Michelle Burton Brown. The award ceremony and dinner will be held at the Sheraton at Station Square located on the South Side of Pittsburgh.

The Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Justice is working with west coast based Prison Radio to have political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal introduce and congratulate Professor Davis, via video and audio recording, from Pennsylvania’s death row. The introduction will be recorded by Noelle Hanrahan. Hanrahan is an investigative journalist and the director of Prison Radio, which challenges the Prison Industrial Complex by airing the voices of men and women in prison.

Davis’ political activism began when she was a child in Birmingham Alabama. Her interest in social movements grew through her high school years in New York. It was not until 1969, that Davis came to national attention; her flight from authorities while on the FBI’s most wanted list, infamous 1972 trial and subsequent acquittal by an all-white jury became international news.

Ten years after Angela Davis’ acquittal, Mumia Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death row because his political action and personal stance against racism and police brutality, placed him, like Angela Davis, in the line of fire. A global community has called for a new trial for Mumia. His battle has become a unifying theme for many social justice groups in the U.S. and abroad. Socially conscious celebrities, members of the British Parliament, the European Parliament and other world leaders have all called on the United States government to grant the prolific journalist a new trial.

Angela Davis and Mumia Abu-Jamal have become the collective voice of those who are so often voiceless. From a cell on Pennsylvania’s death row, Mumia continues to speak out for those whose oppression stems from the rise of prison populations, police brutality, persecution of political dissent, and the accompanying societal ills associated with white supremacy.

Mumia Abu-Jamal has been on Pennsylvania’s death row for 25 years. In 2004, while accepting the Medal of Honorary Citizenship on behalf of Mumia in Paris, Angela Davis reminded the audience how important it is to make the release of political prisoners a priority in their lives: “This is my small contribution to the movement. I consider that a priority in my life. And I know that had people thirty years ago not made my case a priority in their lives, I would still be in prison today...”
Professor Davis’ articles and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She is the author of five books, including Angela Davis: An Autobiography, Are Prisons Obsolute?; Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday; and The Angela Y. Davis Reader.

Davis is a tenured professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 1994, she received the distinguished honor of an appointment to the University of California Presidential Chair in African American and Feminist Studies.

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