A third-grade teacher at a public school in New Jersey is under fire after she encouraged her students to write letters to notorious convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, who recently fell ill in prison.
Marylin Zuniga teaches language arts and social studies at Forest Street School in Orange, N.J.
According to Fox News, Zuniga’s students penned get-well cards to Abu-Jamal, a 60-year-old former Black Panther serving a life sentence for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Zuniga gave the letters to Baruch College history professor Johanna Fernandez to hand over to Abu-Jamal, who was removed from death row in 2008.
Abu-Jamal entered the hospital last month suffering from complications related to diabetes. Activists protested at the time claiming that Abu-Jamal’s family was unable to visit him in the hospital.
Fernandez, the Baruch professor, is a member of the group Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Zuniga’s social media posts provide further insight into her radical bent. In a tweet sent last week she wrote, “I’m thinking of the rich white being victims to the ‘criminal’ poor. The criminal man being victim to the ‘crazy’ girlfriend.”
Zuniga appears to have a soft spot in her heart for cop killers.
In a post from what appears to be Zuniga’s Facebook account, the grammar school teacher linked to a March 28 event called “Assata Taught Me” — a reference to Assata Shakur, a former Black Panther who was convicted of the 1973 murder of New Jersey State trooper Werner Foester. Shakur escaped prison in 1979 and fled to Cuba, where she is currently in exile. She is on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
Abu-Jamal and Shakur are fetishized by many radical leftists in the U.S. Activists frequently rally for Abu-Jamal’s freedom and Shakur’s exoneration. On social media, Abu-Jamal supporters often use the hashtag #FreeMumia, as Zuniga did in her Twitter post.
According to her bio at the Forest Street School, Zuniga graduated from Montclair State University and the Teachers College at Columbia University where she obtained a master’s degree.
“During her spare time she enjoys yoga, reading and DJing. Ms. Zuñiga is passionate about her students and always keeps them first!” her bio reads.
Zuniga’s pro-Abu-Jamal lesson is not the first time she’s ventured into radical waters.
In November, she had students engage in a “community research project” about the Michael Brown shooting. She posted a picture of one student’s creation — a poster referencing the “Hands up, don’t shoot” chant made popular following Brown’s death. The phrase was based on some witnesses’ claims that Brown was holding his hands up in surrender when he was shot last August by Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson, Mo. police officer. However, the Justice Department determined that Brown was not holding his hands up in that manner.
Zuniga did not immediately return a request for comment.