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“What is wrong with Haiti?” is provocatively offered as a question, along with apologies to the great essayist, G.K. Chesterton. The answer to what is wrong with Haiti is that the hand wringers, meaning those of goodwill who profess undying love for the tiny island nation never seem to ask what is right. Nor do they attempt to discern the source of wrongdoing. For over two centuries, Haiti has balanced on a fulcrum. Heaven and hell hang in the balance and only God knows the outcome.
After two officers were shot, police conducted an unjustified dawn raid on a house in Ferguson. A woman and her 6-year-old son had the red laser sights of police rifles trained on their chests as they emerged into their garden under orders from the officers, who arrived in military-style vehicles.
When I was in prison, I used to work out with heavy weights constantly. But when I started to understand that my best chances of survival were actually centered on education, I focused more on that instead, and it has made all the difference in the kind of life I now have. When I was released, having a student aid package was what kept me from having to go back into the underground economy in order to survive.
Michigan political prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney is now being held in Jackson state prison. He remains in good spirits despite the racist injustice that has landed him in detention over manufactured claims that he changed the dates on five signature entries on a recall petition designed to remove Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower. This is not the first time that Pinkney has been imprisoned for his political activities.
On Dec. 9, Supervisor John Avalos introduced a resolution to the Board of Supervisors to address racial profiling and the use of force by police officers, nationally and locally, as well as to uphold the right to nonviolent protest. Supervisors David Campos, Jane Kim, Malia Cohen and Eric Mar signed as cosponsors. A final vote on the resolution will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 16, and a large showing of support is vital to its passage.
Wait. Patience. Stay Calm. We’ve been waiting for dozens, hundreds, thousands of indictments and convictions. Every death hurts. Every exonerated cop, security guard or vigilante enrages. The grand jury’s decision doesn’t surprise most Black people because we are not waiting for an indictment. We are waiting for justice – or more precisely, struggling for justice. The young people of Ferguson continue to struggle with ferocity.
I need to ask once again for your assistance in forcing the Bureau of Prisons to grant my compassionate release. They have been stonewalling since August and my life expectancy, as per my cancer doctor, is down to 12 months. They know that I am fully qualified and that over 40,000 people have signed on to force them to do the right thing, which is to let me go home to my family and to receive advanced care in New York City. Yet they refuse to act.
There’s a growing national consensus that, as Attorney General Eric Holder stated in August, “too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason.” Despite the heavy toll that mass incarceration exacts every day and in countless ways on many American communities the topic attracts remarkably little consistent coverage in the mainstream media.
Only by reducing the amount of time inmates spend behind federal prison bars – by eliminating harsh mandatory minimum sentences and resurrecting federal parole – will much of the unnecessary suffering caused by prison overcrowding and budgetary financial strain be alleviated. There is currently a federal parole proposal pending before Congress and President Obama. Your signature as well as your support is needed.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s just-proposed plan to ease overcrowding in California prisons without releasing inmates early has drawn quick opposition from prison reform activists across the state and has spawned an alternative approach from a contingent of moderate and liberal Democrats in the state legislature, creating an unusual rift among senior Democrats in the age-old incarceration-rehabilitation divide.
The continuing campaign to gain compassionate release for Lynne Stewart – the grievously ill, imprisoned human rights attorney – is headed to Washington, D.C. with a continuing vigil in front of the White House starting on Monday, June 17. Despite being approved for compassionate release, Stewart continues to be held in Carswell Federal Prison in seriously deteriorating health.
A horrific shooting on Nov. 29 resulted in the death of two unarmed African Americans, Malissa Williams, 30, and Timothy Russell, 43. This may be the worst example of excessive use of deadly force in the history of the United States. The fact that 12 of the 13 Cleveland police officers were white and the victims were Black in a city which has an almost 70 percent minority population is a crisis. We all know that 12 Black police officers would never have fired 137 shots at Black or white citizens.
We received your appeal calling for urgent support of the Center for Constitutional Rights. The appeal, regrettably, omits mention of Lynne Stewart, who is serving currently 10 years in a federal prison for her role in defending Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman as co-counsel for the defense with former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and renowned civil liberties counsel Abdeen Jabara.
I am serving 21 years in federal prison – in solitary confinement – because I protested the Iraq War. I am with the men of Pelican Bay and am calling for a federal strike to support the men in PBSP as well as all those held in such housing in all U.S. prisons.
Did you know that five judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have now said about me: “The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man.” I hope that you will speak about what it is like to have almost done just that.
One year after a Detroit police assault team shot 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones to death in her home while A&E’s “First 48” TV show was filming, neither Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy nor U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has brought charges against those responsible.
Among the very few people celebrating our country’s fiscal crisis are criminal justice reformers. Bill Piper of Drug Policy Alliance says, “Next year is probably an unprecedented opportunity to defund the federal drug war.” But colorblind cost-benefit approaches leave intact the racial attitudes, stereotypes and anxieties that gave rise to the system in the first place.
For decades, Black farmers dealt with devastating discrimination from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Because of it, many lost their land. It cost them dearly, and it took the government years to admit it. The Senate needs to appropriate the funds for Pigford II, lest the shame grow even deeper.
"Damn Detroit Police Department! You burned, shot and killed Aiyana Jones, a little 7-year-old girl. You threw a stun grenade through the front window and lit the little girl’s blanket on fire! And then you shot off a bullet that landed in her neck!" - Read this account by Kimora Lee Simmons, another by a 12-year-old girl and the full story by veteran Detroit journalist Abayomi Azikiwe.
Celebrate Mumia’s 56th birthday on Saturday, April 24, 4-6 p.m., on KPFA 94.1 FM and KPFA.org. Mumia is the award-winning journalist who has spent the last 28 years on death row. And come to Washington, D.C., on April 26 to call for a Justice Department investigation of his case.
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