End the Isolation of Jamil Al-Amin
(formerly H. Rap Brown)

Open Letter to the Bureau of Prisons and State of Georgia by Concerned Academics

We are academics who have spent our careers researching the history of the civil rights movement, issues of racial discrimination in the United States, civil rights law, and the representation of minorities in the public sphere. We strongly believe that deepening knowledge of our nation’s past is essential to informing progress in American politics and race relations today.

The acquisition of historical knowledge is strengthened considerably by having living participants in those histories recount their experiences. We are therefore dismayed to learn of the current restrictions placed upon one such prominent participant, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (formerly known as H. Rap Brown).

During the 1960s, Al-Amin was a national leader of the civil rights movement and was chair of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, one of the era’s key organizations. As a civil rights leader, he met with President Johnson, spoke across the country, and appeared regularly in television interviews. He is currently an inmate at the federal prison at Tuscon, Arizona. He has been held in federal custody, on behalf of the Georgia Department of Corrections, since 2007.

Throughout the last decade, all requests for interviews by scholars and journalists have been denied by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Their decision is, in part, based on the Georgia Department of Corrections’ view that Al-Amin is ineligible for interviews "due to the potential security risks.” Letters to and from Al-Amin are usually held by the government for months before they are released. In these ways, Al-Amin is prevented from any form of practical communication with scholars who wish to document this history.

We understand that Al-Amin has been convicted of an extremely serious charge. However, we do not believe there is any reasonable basis upon which to deny him direct access to scholars and journalists. His story ought to be documented for posterity. In-person interviews with him in prison are essential for this purpose because he is seventy-four years old and is serving a life sentence without parole.

We thus declare our opposition to the restrictions placed upon Al-Amin and call on the Georgia Department of Corrections and Federal Bureau of Prisons to allow scholarly and media interviews and communication with Al-Amin. We will make the reasons for our consternation known to our own elected representatives and the public at large.


H Rap Brown Jamil Al-Amin

Academic supporters

  • Isra Ali
    Clinical Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University
  • Gianpaolo Baiocchi
    Associate Professor of Sociology, New York University
  • Abbas Barzegar
    Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Georgia State University
  • Dan Berger
    Associate Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies, University of Washington Bothell
  • Khaled Beydoun
    Associate Professor of Law, University of Detroit Mercy
  • Simone Browne
    Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas at Austin
  • Jordan T. Camp
    Term Assistant Professor of American Studies, Barnard College
  • Paula Chakravartty
    Associate Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University
  • Emilye Crosby
    Professor of History, Geneseo State University of New York
  • Nick Estes
    American Democracy Fellow, Harvard University
  • Toral Gajarawala
    Associate Professor Of English, New York University
  • Zareena Grewal
    Associate Professor of American Studies, Religious Studies, Ethnicity, Race & Migration, Yale University
  • Christina Heatherton
    Assistant Professor of American Studies, Barnard College
  • Ramzi Kassem
    Professor, CUNY School of Law
  • Robin D. G. Kelley
    Professor of History, UCLA
  • Deepa Kumar
    Associate Professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies, Rutgers University
  • Arun Kundnani
    Visiting Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University
  • Marisol LeBron
    Assistant Professor of American Studies, Dickinson College
  • Peter B. Levy
    Professor, York College
  • Nicholas Mirzoeff
    Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University
  • Michael Ralph
    Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University
  • Conor Tomás Reed
    Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • Dylan Rodriguez
    Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, University of California, Riverside
  • David R. Roediger
    Foundation Professor of American Studies, University of Kansas
  • Andrew Ross
    Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University
  • Micol Seigel
    Associate Professor of American Studies and History, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • George Shulman
    Professor, Gallatin School, New York University
  • Robyn C. Spencer
    Associate Professor of History, Lehman College
  • Helga Tawil-Souri
    Associate Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication, and Middle East and Islamic Studies, New York University
  • Jeanne Theoharis
    Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Brooklyn College
  • Akinyele K. Umoja
    Professor of African-American Studies, Georgia State University
  • Komozi Woodard
    Professor of History, Sarah Lawrence College
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For more information on the campaign to support Jamil Al-Amin, contact the Imam Jamil Action Network. For more information on this letter, contact Arun Kundnani.
  • Kathleen Cleaver
    Atlanta, USA
  • Avery Gordon
    Professor, University of California
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    Prof. , Rutgers Newark
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    Professor, University of Pennsylvania
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    Associate Professor, Binghamton University
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    Associate Professor University of Kentucky
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    Professor University of Pennsylvania
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    Professor, University of Windsor
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    Associate Professor of History, York College of Pennsylvania
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    Editor Race & Class journal
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    Senior Lecturer at The Islamic Institute of Toronto
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    Professor of English, University of Hawai’i
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    Associate Professor
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    Associate Professor Emerita, Clark Atlanta university
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    Professor of History, Sam Houston State University
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    Associate Professor of Political Science
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    Assistant Professor of History & Political Science, Cabrini University
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    Lecturer in International Relations, SOAS University of London
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    NEH Visiting Assistant Professor, Middle East & Islamic Studies, Colgate University
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    Senior Lecturer, University of Brighton
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    Assistant Professor of Black Studies - Portland State University
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    Senior Lecturer in Law, Birkbeck College, University of London
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    Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies, Miami University
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    Research Associate, King’s College London
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    New Jim Crow Movement
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    PhD Candidate, University of Johannesburg
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    Assistant Professor of Social Work, Quinnipiac University
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    London, United Kingdom
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    Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law
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    Assistant Professor, Binghamton University
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    Executive Director, Kentucky Center for African American Heritage
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    Graduate Student @ Rutgers Univ.
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    Professor of Sociology, Simmons College
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    Associate Professor of Sociology
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    Ph.D. Candidate, Yale University
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    Imam, The Propagation Congregation
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    PhD Candidate African and African Diaspora Studies University of Texas
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    Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
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    Director, Freedom Archives
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    Adjunct, Political Science, John Jay College
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    Assistant Professor
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    London, United Kingdom
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    PhD Candidate, Lancaster University
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    PhD student UC Santa Cruz
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    Retired Faculty, Departments of Communication and Philosophy, CSU-East Bay
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    Researcher, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
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    Philadelphia, USA
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    Out Reach ICT GB NC
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    Associate professor of history
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    Professor of English, West Chester University
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    Dr. Sirte University
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    Adjunct Associate Professor, English, Bronx Community College/CUNY
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    Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University
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    PhD Student; University of Georgia
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    Independent scholar & activist
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    PhD candidate, Cornell University
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    PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania
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    Postgrad, University of Roehampton
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    Filmmaker/Adjunct Professor CUNY LaGuardia
  • Joe Street
    Senior lecturer, Northumbria University
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    Lecturer in Criminology, Swansea University
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    Undergraduate student, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
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    PhD Candidate, New York University
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    York, USA
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    Associate Professor, The Johns Hopkins University
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    Assistant Professor, Hostos Community College
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    Associate Professor of American Culture, University of Michigan
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    Assistant Professor, SUNY Binghamton
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    Director, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University
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    Associate Professor of Sociology, College of the Holy Cross
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    Law Professor
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    Associate Professor of English, Queensborough Community College, City University of New York
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    Retired Professor
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    Associate Professor, Sociology, Binghamton University
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    Associate Professor, Teaching Temple University
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    Associate Professor of Geography, University of California, Berkeley
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    Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies, Bloomfield College
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    Advisory Editor, Race & Class
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    Professor of Sociology & Africana Studies, Binghamton University
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    Professor, Kennesaw State University
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    Asst. Professor of Philosophy, York College of Pennsylvania
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    Associate Professor of Musicology and African American Studies, UCLA
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    Associate Professor, Media Studies, Rutgers University
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    Lecturer in Sociology, University of York
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    Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Haverford College
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    Lecturer in Law at the University of Birmingham
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    Assistant Professor of History, Dickinson College
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    Assistant Professor of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
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    Lecturer in International Relations, Cardiff University (UK)
  • Peter L. Carlo Becerra
  • Milly Williamson
    Goldsmiths College, University of London
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    Student (post colonial studies)
  • Lennox Hinds
    Professor Emeritus Criminal Justice Rutgers University
  • Leo Wilton
    Professor, Binghamton University
  • Lisa Crooms-Robinson
    Associate Dean and Professor, Howard University School of Law
  • Lynnell Thomas
    Associate Professor, American Studies
  • Mairaj U. Syed
    Associate Professor, University of California, Davis
  • Mansa Bilal King
    Associate Professor of Sociology at Morehouse College
  • Maria Luiza Ribeiro
  • Mary Ann Caton
    Assistant Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh
  • Mary Barr
    Assistant Professor of Sociology, Kentucky State University
  • Mia Cioffi Henry
    Cinematographer and Adjunct Professor, NYU Graduate Film
  • Michael Rodriguez
    Assistant Professor of Sociology and Latina/o Studies, Northwestern University
  • Michael Stephens
    PhD Graduate Student, Department Of Sociology, Binghamton University (SUNY)
  • Mike DeLisa
  • Mitchell esajas
    Study counseler
  • Murtaza Shibli
    Visiting Lecturer, Riphah Institute of Media Sciences
  • Mustafa Ansari
    Dean, American Institute of Human Rights
  • Mutahhir Sabree
    Islamic Online University/Director of U.S.Operations
  • Nagham El Karhili
    Presidential fellow
  • Nathaniel Mathews
    Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, Binghamton University
  • Nishani Frazier
    Associate Professor of History, Miami University of Ohio
  • Noreen Winningham
    Retired, Adjunct Faculty, Kendall College, Evanston IL
  • Norris L Thomas
  • Nubia Kai
    retired professor, Howard University Department of Theatre Arts
  • Ravi Arvind Palat
    Professor of Sociology, Binghamton University
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    Nation Time Judicial Research Inc. Research Specialist
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    Facilitator, Arabic and Islamic Studies
  • s e anderson
    Retired Math & Black History Professor
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    Senior Researcher
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    CIoL SMC
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    Adjunct History Professor, Cuyahoga Community College
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    Clinical Psychologist, Retired Asst Prof John Jay College
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    PhD candidate, University of California, Davis
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    Assistant Professor, Winston-Salem State University
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    Washington, DC, USA
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    Dean African American Studies Ohio University (retired)
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    PhD Student, University of Minnesota
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    Lecturer, Queens College CUNY
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    Assoc Prof, Princeton University
  • William Martin
    Professor, Binghamton University
  • Yusuf Ahmed Nur
    Associate Professor, Indiana University Kokomo

Other supporters

  • Aisha al-Adawiya
    Founder, Women In Islam Inc , New York, USA
  • Khalid Griggs
    Imam,Vice-President Civic Engagement ICNA, Winston-Salem , USA
  • A. Yusuf ELFAKHRI
    1 Ummah , Richmond , USA
  • AbdudDharr MK Abdullah
    Virginia, USA
  • Abdul Jalil Rasheed Burnette
    Inside outside alliance organization, DURHAM, USA
  • Abdul Raoof Nasir
    Islamic Studies Instructor Masjid Waritheen, Oakland,CA, USA
  • Abdul-Ali Naeem
    Richmond, USA
  • Abdul-Haqq Khalifah
    Educator, Oakland, USA
  • Abdul-Malik Ryan
    Chaplain for Muslim Life, DePaul University, Chicago, USA
  • Aisha Mohammad
    PhD Consultant, Writer, Oakland, USA
  • Akil Fahd
    Researcher Al-Ummah, Atlanta, GA, USA
  • Akinyele oluwole
  • Alexander Dwinell
    Editor/Publisher, Brooklyn , USA
  • Andrew Holter
    Student, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  • Anne Lamb
    NYC Jericho Movement, New York, USA
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    Chicago, USA
  • Azhar McNeal
    Program Associate-Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, USA
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    Luqman, concerned citizen, Richmond, USA
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    Baltimore, USA
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    Executive Director Oppressed Peoples Online Word, Conley. Ga., USA
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    Program Director AFSC Prison Watch, Kenilworth, USA
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    Davenport , USA
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    Brooklyn, USA
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    RN, atlanta, USA
  • Chaplain Jamillah Abdul-Kareem
    Muslim Clergy, Hempstead, NY, USA
  • Christopher Doby
    Chicago, USA
    arabic language , Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
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    writer, attorney, Atlanta, USA
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    Montclair, USA
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    Colfax, USA
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    Co-Founder of Eastern Shore Network for Change, Cambridge , USA
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    Retired, Boulder Creek, CA, USA
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    Indianapolis, USA
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    Cleveland, USA
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    Musicusb, Leuven, Belgium
    Augusta, USA
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    Mr., Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
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    Filmmaker, New York, USA
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    Seattle, USA
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    Fellow Muslim, Columbus, USA
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    Justice Initiative, Atlanta, USA
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    Irving , USA
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    Hilton Head Island, USA
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    Community Masjid Of Atlanta, Atlanta, USA
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    Principal of Columbia Islamic School, Columbia, USA
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    New York, USA
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    Malmö , Sweden
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    Greensboro, USA
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    Philadelphia, USA
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    Amir of Security Community Masjid , Atlanta, USA
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    Coordinator, Muslims for Social Justice, KNIGHTDALE, USA
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    Executive Assistant/Masjid Alfaatir, Chicago, USA
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    Counselor, USA
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    Activist and Community Organizer , Charlotte , USA
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    Chair, National Jericho, Chesterfield, Virginia, USA
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    Mr, Siem Reap, Cambodia
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    African Cultural Art Forum , Philadelphia , USA
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    Vice-President, Lamppost Education Initiative, Philadelphia, USA
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    Actor/Comedian, Los Angeles, USA
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    Freelance Writer, Philadelphia, USA
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    Columbus, USA
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    Langley, USA
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    Atlanta, USA
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    New York , USA
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    Former prison teacher Belgium - Prisoners' families for Justice, Brussels, Belgium
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    Imam Jamil Action Network, Raliegh, USA
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    teacher /oakland school, oakland california, USA
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    Retired Educator, Atlanta, USA
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    Editor, San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper (I'm also an attorney), San Francisco, USA
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    Jericho Amnesty Movement, Atlanta, USA
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    Al Ummah Inc, Mobile, USA
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    Graduate Student, University of Chicago, Chicago, USA
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    Librarian, American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
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    Independent Author and Journalist, Judicial Circuit Court Administrator, Kansas City, USA
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    Mr, Berkeley, USA
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    Brooklyn, USA
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    London, United Kingdom
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    Attorney. Law and Disorder radio host, Brooklyn , USA
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    Writer/Filmmaker, San Francisco, USA
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    Prison Activist Resource Center, Mapleton, OR, USA
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    Editor, Savannah, USA
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    Spoken word artist, London, United Kingdom
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    Houston, USA
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    Imam /Author, Cleveland Ohio , USA
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    Assistant Public Defender, Philadelphia, USA
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    Ann Arbor , USA
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    Filmmaker , Brooklyn , USA
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    District Representative, District of Nubia (Metro OK City) Republic of New Afrika, Oklahoma City, USA
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    Mr., Yorktown, USA
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    Filmmaker, New York, USA
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    Author, Brussels , Belgium
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    Shaihk Jamaat Masjid Al Qadir, Chattanooga, USA
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    Independent Scholar, Oakland, California, USA
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    Orlando , USA
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    lafayette, USA
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    San Diego, USA
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    Black Man, Matteson, IL, USA
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    Greensboro, NC, USA
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    Dr , BRISTOL, United Kingdom
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    Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Oakland, USA
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    Khateeb (preacher) & Daa'ee (teacher) w/ A Good Word Da'wah Center, Irving, USA
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    Appromattox, USA
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    Editor, London, USA
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    Alanta, USA
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    Mrs, Whitsett , USA
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    Co-Coordinator Southern Workers Assembly, Rocky Mount, NC, USA
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    founder, The National Center for African Communitarian Culture, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
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    Oakland , USA
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    Imam Jamil Action Network; Director, The Communiversity , Savannah, GA, USA
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    Concerned Muslimah, Irving, USA
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    Amir Jawala Scouts S.E. Region U.S.A., Alanta, USA
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    Community Liaison, Muslim Peace Fellowship , Stony Point , USA
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    X- offenders for Community Empowerment executive director , Philadelphia , USA
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    IJAN--Al Ummah, Cleveland, USA
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    Washington , USA
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    Atlanta, USA
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    Prescott College Staff, Prescott, USA