Note: This interview was originally taken by Global Justice Ecology Project’s Press Secretary, Steve Taylor, during the North American Forest and Climate Movement Convergence. It was convened by Global Justice Ecology Project, Shawnee Forest Defense! and the Indigenous Environmental Network in southern IL’s Shawnee National Forest from 11 – 14 October 2019.

Mike Africa, Jr. is a member of The MOVE Organization, a revolutionary, a conscious hip hop artist and a motivational resilience speaker who pushes his revolutionary message with his stage performances, tackling issues such as mass incarceration, police brutality, environmental protection and systematic oppression.

MOVE is a black liberation group founded in 1972 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by John Africa. The group suffered two major attacks by the Philadelphia Police Department. In 1978, a standoff resulted in the death of one police officer, injuries to several other people, and life sentences for nine members who were convicted of killing the officer. In 1985, another confrontation ended when a police helicopter dropped a bomb on their row house. The resulting fire killed eleven MOVE members, including five children, and destroyed 65 houses in the neighborhood.

Mike is the son of two political prisoners who were recently released from prison after 40 years. Secretly born in a Philadelphia prison following a police raid on his family’s home, Mike was taken from his mother and placed in an orphanage where he was physically and mentally abused. At age 13, Mike began using his music to raise awareness in the hopes of gaining support to get his parents home; finally on 16 June 2018 after 40 years in prison, Mike finally got his mother released. Four months later on 23 October 2018 Mike got his father released.

Let’s use these victories to encourage people to continue to press on in revolutionary action – Mike Africa, Jr.