29th Anniversary of the MOVE Bombing in West Philadelphia

May 13th is the 29th anniversary of the of the fatal day in West Philadelphia when the Philadelphia Police Department dropped a bomb on a row house. The bombing unleashed a relentless fire that eventually burned down 61 houses, killed 11 people (including five children) and injured dozens more. 250 people were left homeless. Today we remember those whose lives were lost, those who were displaced , and those who were incarcerated and those who are still locked up.

The Philadelphia Student Union office is located in West Philadelphia, a few blocks away from where this bombing occurred. We’ve been based in this neighborhood for over ten years and we feel intimately connected to the histories and struggles of our neighbors. We’ve hosted Ramona Africa and other members of MOVE in our office to teach us about their experiences and the on going struggle to free the MOVE members who are still incarcerated.

Ramona Africa telling us about the MOVE 9 during a visit to our office in West Philadelphia.

PSU members and MOVE members met at the PSU office.

Mumia, who was one of the few reporters who covered the MOVE bombing and reported the experiences of the MOVE members. We are inspiration from Mumia and his life-long work dedicated to the struggle for liberation for people of color in the United States, but also in Palestine. Here are some photos from his 60th birthday celebration, which PSU attended.

Russell Shoatz III speaking about his father, Russell Maroon Shoatz, a political prisoner incarerated at SCI Graterford.


Fred Hampton’s son, Fred Hampton Jr. speaking about the importance of the Black Panther Party to Philadelphia’s history.

The former Black Panther Party HQ in Philadelphia was demolished. The building beside it (pictured) was the home of Black Panther Capt Reggie Shell.


A representative from the Native Youth Movement in Washington state calling for the freedom of Leonard Peltier at Mumia’s 60th birthday celebration.

On this day we are not only remembering but also dreaming and strategizing on ending historically racial violence enacted by the police not just in Philadelphia but across the United States. We see shocking displays of police violence month after month, such as Darrin Manning and Philippe Holland. We seek out a day when headlines are not populated by news of another young black man shot by the police. No individual or family should fear sexual assault while walking to basketball practice or having a bomb dropped on your home. We demand that the Police District of Philadelphia be held accountable for their actions in every neighborhood.

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