Philly Muslim Freedom Fund

The Philly Muslim Freedom Fund (PMFF) is a new grassroots organization whose mission is to uplift Muslims oppressed by the carceral state. Rooted in an Islamic ethos of social justice, PMFF operates in solidarity with bail funds and is informed by living experiences of Muslim prisoners and stakeholders. PMFF is uniquely positioned to serve diasporic Philadelphia Muslim and Muslim American communities.

PMFF's long-term vision is to abolish solitary confinement and cash bail, cultivate an ecosystem of support for rehabilitation, and dismantle the prison-industrial complex. They aim to do this through community fundraising for posting bail and supporting reentry for Philadelphia Muslims. They also recognize the importance of political education and fostering cross-class, cross-racial, and intergenerational dialogues within and outside of our communities. PMFF's project is a collaborative effort to combat a carceral state and criminal injustice system built on racism, classism, and Islamophobia.

The wake of the police murders of George Floyd and Walter Wallace Jr, and the subsequent months of uprisings, spawned PMFF’s initial formation. PMFF is dedicated to Aisha El-Mekki and center her legacy. Mama Aisha was a matriarch in the community and embodied the revolutionary spirit of a former Black Panther and devout Muslimah.

Workshop Facilitators


Russell Shoatz III

Russell Shoatz III is a longtime activist, educator, and live event producer. For over three decades, he worked tirelessly for his father’s freedom and that of all U.S.-held political prisoners. His late father, Russell “Maroon” Shoatz, was an activist, writer, founding member of the Black Unity Council, former member of the Black Panther Party, and soldier in the Black Liberation Army.


Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall

Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall is a co-founder of Human Rights Coalition and its current Executive Director. Shakaboona contributes commentary and writings to Prison Radio and several publications. He is also the founder and former Editor of The Movement Magazine. From the age of 17, Shakaboona was incarcerated for over 33 years and spent 13 years in solitary confinement. He came home in May 2022. Learn more about his story: Video and bio: Welcome Home Shakaboona


Sterling Johnson

Sterling Johnson is a Temple University Ph.D. geography student, lawyer, and housing and harm reduction activist. Sterling researches in the areas of Black geographies, anti-colonialism, feminist geography, and carceral and abolition geographies. Their research is concerned with laws, morality, and issues of social justice and liberation. Sterling organizes with Philadelphia Housing Action.


Sheldon Davids

Sheldon Davids is a former resident of the UC Townhomes. He served as a tenant organizer and member of the Resident Council.