Malik is a father, partner, friend, and comrade. Malik, like many others in Portland and around the world was targeted for his political activism, and engagement in the George Floyd Rebellion of summer 2020. Malik is a political prisoner whose charges have been severely exaggerated for the purpose of instilling fear among activists and legitimizing the violent and racist power of the state. It is no coincidence that Malik, a Black man, is being made into a scapegoat for the movement for Black liberation. Nationwide and locally, media outlets have relentlessly vilified Malik. The media and the state have gone to great ends to sensationalize the story and manipulate public perception into believing he should be locked away for decades.
Malik’s Story in His Own Words
I’m originally from Chicago. I moved around a lot out there, from Bolingbrook in the west suburbs to Cal City in the south side, and I lived on the east side and spent some time by myself in the not so great parts of the south side just being young and dumb.
I had an absentee dad, abusive alcoholic mom, who we are on better terms now but that took some years.
I first experienced protesting really in elementary school. Being raised a Muslim, I was told not to say the pledge, and every year, every new teacher would try to break me, all the way through high school, but I never folded. So in that way I always stood up for myself against the set norm. The year Trayvon Martin was murdered, though, is the first large scale protest I was at and it was beautiful. We all decided, through a Facebook post, to walk out of class to go to the cafeteria to hold our own assembly and talk about the murders of our people. The high school principal and faculty got word of our plan and said they’d suspend anyone who walks out. As you might have guessed, we walked out in mass, a good portion of the school, we didn’t fit in the cafe and nobody got suspended!
In my time in the army, I was always vocal about my anticolonial ideals and now I fault our military industrial complex as a detriment to our society and the world. I made it clear I wouldn’t shoot someone just because of being told and my chain of command tried to get me booked as a “conscientious objector”. But I did my contract got out with and honorable discharge as well, and had a great job in mid-level management in corporate america before realizing I felt like I should be doing more. I volunteered, gave money to homeless, I’m the kinda person who takes forever getting somewhere because I stop for every driver on the side of the road, my mom always said one day that’d get me killed, lol.
I, like most BIPOC people, feel it personally and deeply when one of us is murdered and I cried for days over Eric Garner — I still do. So when I heard the same words from George Floyd, “I can’t breathe,” I lost it. I knew there was something that needed to be done. I knew that for my son’s sake, my brothers’ and my sisters’ sakes, I needed to be the change I wanted to see. So it started with a Facebook post and me creating a group and talking with people online to organize a protest. And it was a success, we had the largest protest in Indy (Indiana). I met the governor and mayor and police chief, who really treated it as a publicity stunt, and I continued to organize and protest in Indy and Louisville and the city that was my heart — Portland. Nowhere I’ve been has as solid of a community, not even Chicago’s protest scene.
I’m black, bi, I’ve got one beautiful mixed son. I’m a veteran and right now I’m fighting for my life here while Kyle Rittenhouse walks frees. I’ve been down 8 months and my highest charge has a 30 year mandatory minimum and I’m just hoping and praying we can get those dropped off, that’s all my life.
Love, Rage, Solidarity.
On April 5th, 2021 Malik was arrested in Indiana, and then extradited to Oregon. He was given a $2.1 million bail. Through great struggle, the required 10% of it was met by the Portland Freedom Fund, but revoked the next day. Within 24 hours of his release, he was rearrested by federal officers. Malik was then imprisoned in Multnomah County where he was held in solitary confinement for around 90 days. 90 days. That’s 3 months. During this time, the state also actively tried to limit his contact with his partner. This detrimental treatment, combined with the threat of COVID-19 exposure due to outbreaks in the jail, posed a very real threat to his mental and physical well-being. On July 29th he was moved, pretrial, to the state’s only federal prison, FCI Sheridan. At Sheridan, Malik participated in a hunger strike that successfully increased prisoners free-time from 30 minutes every other day to four hours per day everyday, and one day per week outside for recreation. On Monday, November 8th 2021, Malik lost his appeal for pretrial release.
Free Malik Now!
Free Malik Now! is a small support group that seeks to decrease Malik Muhammad’s isolation while he is imprisoned, and work to free him from imprisonment. We work to create strong community support that continues beyond his release. Thank you for being part of that community. Free Malik Now! was created by loved ones, friends of Malik and their comrades.
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