Wolf Support Still Going
December 8, 2006 3:06 PM
A benefit for the Josh Wolf Legal Fund was held Dec. 7 in the Mission district, bringing together activists and assemblymen alike in the name of press freedom and the release of the jailed freelance journalist.
The “Free Josh Wolf” event was sponsored by organizations such as the League of Young Voters, Reporters without Borders, and the SF Bay Guardian, all of which employed speakers to voice their concerns with Wolf’s situation, among other political issues including press freedom.
“What the hell is going on?” Bruce Brugmann, 71, publisher of the Bay Guardian, asked. Upset that reporters have not been able to visit Wolf at the Dublin federal detention center, Brugmann said the United States is now ranked 53rd in the world for press freedom.
“We’re right in there with Bangladesh! We’re tied with Bangladesh!” Brugmann said, with a hint of sarcasm, pointing to the fact that both the United States and Bangladesh are among 26 other countries that currently have incarcerated journalists.
“This is the United States of America. This is San Francisco!” he shouted.
Event coordinator for the League of Young Voters, Heather Box, 25, said the turnout for the event, at an estimated 125 people, was as expected. From Mandeep Sethi, 17, a freshman at SF State majoring in music, who performed four original spoken-word pieces to Brugmann, the crowd was diverse and responsive to presenters.
Filmmaker Kevin Epps, of “Straight Outta Hunter’s Point” local fame, spoke briefly before showing a short film he made, in which Wolf explained a little about his experience leading up to jail.
State Assemblyman Mark Leno called Wolf a “political prisoner,” saying that Wolf’s custody is a “direct assault on our democracy,” freedom of the press, and freedom of speech.
“How long could any of us hold out?” Leno said, referring to the 108 days Wolf has spent in jail.
Leno and other speakers at the event called on those gathered to respectfully ask California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, who is now the speaker of the House, to pay attention to Wolf’s case.
“There’s a concern that people are going to forget about him,” David Greene, 42, of the First Amendment Project, said the day before the event.
As one of the lawyers asked to help after Wolf’s appeal, Greene said there are no legal activities in the works for him now. Other than the chance that Wolf could change his mind, Greene said the next step would be to file a Grumbles motion, in which a judge could respond by vacating the order that is keeping Wolf in coercive custody.
“That’s the only thing left to do,” Greene said. “There’s nothing else.”
The League of Young Voters had “kits,” wrapped in pink ribbon, with pre-written letters and envelopes to Pelosi, and instructions on how to write to Wolf in jail.
With visitation rights limited to immediate family and his legal council, “it’s apparently really tough around the holidays,” City Supervisor Chris Daly said.
Asking those gathered to send positive energy Wolf’s way, Daly said, “It’s a lot more than about freedom of press, he is doing hard time for principle.”
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