One of Hip-Hop’s most revered prisoners and equally hated men amongst police officers made a highly controversial return to the media on Sunday.
Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther who was convicted of the 1981 murder of Philadelphia cop Daniel Faulkner, spoke to graduating students at his Alma mater of Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.
“Take what you know and apply it in the real world,” Abu-Jamal was quoted saying to the 20 students receiving their bachelor degrees. “Help be the change you’re seeking to make. Think about the myriad of problems that beset this land and strive to make it better.” He too earned a degree in 1996 while incarcerated.
Although he has continuously maintained his innocence, Abu-Jamal didn’t mention the crime in his commencement speech. His salutation was still met with vigilant protests from The Vermont Troopers Association and Faulkner’s widow, Maureen.
“It’s not appropriate,” she told Fox News. “His freedom was taken away when he murdered a police officer in the line of duty. It seems like our justice system allows murderers to continue to have a voice over the public airwaves and at college commencement. It’s despicable.”
The Goddard College speech marks the third time Abu-Jamal has been the honored speaker at a graduation with Evergreen State College in Washington and Antioch College in Ohio being the previous sites of commencements. And both times, Faulker’s widow and angered law enforcement officials were there to offer resistance.
Check out the pictures in the gallery below of the latest protests.