10 a.m. Department of Justice
12 noon White House press conference
1-9 p.m. Lafayette Square Park
by Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice News
We need your support in bringing national attention to the case of the Scott Sisters and all other women who have been incarcerated wrongly and egregiously over-sentenced, punishing and destroying our families and children. Please plan to participate!
The need to bus the Scott Sister’s family and supporters from Mississippi is very dire. Help is urgently needed or else they won’t be able to come. Please spread the word and strongly encourage people to get involved. They need to be there to speak out to the national press! “The children really want to come in support of their mothers,” explains Evelyn Rasco, mother of the Scott Sisters, who is raising their children while she fights unceasingly for their freedom.
Please mail a money order right away for whatever you can spare – no amount is too small! –payable to Donnie Finley to: Donnie Finley c/o Gloria’s Kitchen, 2855 Bailey Ave., Jackson, MS 39206. If you need more info, phone Donnie at (601) 454-6507. Thank you in advance for your kind support! – Gray-Haired Witnesses
Read these freedom fighters’ solidarity statements: Mumia Abu-Jamal, Michelle Alexander, Dick Gregory
In solidarity, Mumia Abu-Jamal
Dear Gray-Haired Witnesses:
From the dawn of human time, the “gray-haired ones” – the elders – were the communal repository for knowledge of things seen and unseen. This arises from the great respect accorded the aged in African traditional society.
That sistas such as y’all are doing this, in this society of coldness, repression and what I call the “Prisonhouse of Nations,” is a good and necessary thing.
As Michelle Alexander has written, the prison industrial complex is the “new Jim Crow.”
So the battle continues. So kudos. I salute you all.
Ona Move! Long live John Africa!
© Copyright 2010 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Read Mumia’s new book, “Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A.,” available from City Lights Publishing, www.citylights.com or (415) 362-8193. Keep updated at www.freemumia.com. For Mumia’s commentaries, visit www.prisonradio.org. For recent interviews with Mumia, visit www.blockreportradio.com. Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries and interviews. Send our brotha some love and light at: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI-Greene, 175 Progress Dr., Waynesburg PA 15370.
Michelle Alexander, author of ‘The New Jim Crow,’ applauds the work of Gray-Haired Witnesses
Author and legal scholar Michelle Alexander has taken time from her current national book tour to strongly endorse the June 21, 2010, Gray-Haired Witnesses Fast for Justice in D.C. and their mission in a statement to their web editor and founding member, Marpessa Kupendua. In her new book this brave and insightful legal scholar and civil rights advocate argues that although Jim Crow laws have been eliminated, the racial caste system it set up was not eradicated. It’s simply been redesigned, and now racial control functions through the criminal justice system. In her support of the Gray-haired Witnesses for Justice movement, Ms. Alexander wrote:
“With extraordinary vision and courage, and in the tradition of Ida B. Wells and countless other women who have stood for justice in the face of severe racial oppression, the Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice are calling attention to the harm caused by America’s latest caste system: mass incarceration. Women of color are the fastest growing group of the prison population today and the Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice are shining a bright light on the racial bias and cruelty of our criminal justice system. All Americans who care about justice should join them in their campaign to free the Scott sisters, who have been sentenced to die in prison for an extremely minor, non-violent offense. “
In a February 2010 article which appeared in the Huffington Post, she wrote: “The clock has been turned back on racial progress in America, though scarcely anyone seems to notice. All eyes are fixed on people like Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey, who have defied the odds and achieved great power, wealth and fame.”
In referencing the focus of the Gray-Haired Witnesses on the case of the Scott Sisters, she had this to say: “The double life sentences imposed on the Scott sisters for an alleged robbery in Mississippi netting little more than $11 is a glaring example of a criminal justice system that is no longer much concerned with justice. No one was hurt or injured, and these women have no prior offenses.
“No other Western democracy subjects its own people to such draconian punishment for minor crimes. And no other country in the world incarcerates such a large percentage of its racial and ethnic minorities. This is Jim Crow justice, alive and well today. I urge all those of conscience to support the Scott sisters and the thousands of other prisoners who find themselves in similar shoes. Sadly, the Scott sisters are not alone. The Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice are standing up for all those suffering needlessly behind bars and we must join them. If we fail to act, history will judge us harshly.”
Michelle Alexander is the author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.” Her book is taking the nation by storm, especially by major news analysts and commentators, in examining issues of race bearing upon the era of the Obama administration. Ms. Alexander is a rising legal star who presents a bold and innovative argument that mass incarceration amounts to a devastating system of racial control.
On June 21, 2010, the Gray-Haired Witnesses will commence a fast at the Department of Justice in a 10 a.m. formal appeal to Eric Holder, rejoin at the White House at noon with a press conference and formal appeal to President Obama, and then continue at Lafayette Square Park from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. for the duration of the fast with speakers, live performances and artists. They are calling on all people of good will to join them on that day and demand justice for the Scott Sisters and an end to the oversentencing, degradation and dehumanization of Black women in this system and the nation as a whole.
Michelle Alexander is the author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” (The New Press, 2010). The former director of the Racial Justice Project of the ACLU in Northern California, she also served as a law clerk to Justice Harry Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court. Currently, she holds a joint appointment with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.
Dick Gregory urges mass support for the Gray-Haired Witnesses Fast for Justice
Fiery human rights activist Dick Gregory is urging everyone to support the June 21, 2010, Gray-Haired Witnesses Fast for Justice in D.C. The upcoming day-long event is to call attention to the shocking case of the Mississippi Scott Sisters, two women who each received double life sentences for an alleged robbery of $11 almost 16 years ago. The public fast, press conference and rally also calls attention to the entire system of justice which increasingly incarcerates and oversentences non-violent Black female first time offenders, such as Jamie and Gladys Scott, punishing and many times actually destroying entire families.
“This is one of the worst cases I have ever heard of in my life,” exclaimed Gregory. “My jaw dropped when I read that these women have been in prison for almost 16 years and aren’t even charged with laying a hand on anyone! This country should be embarrassed to have such a blatant travesty of justice exist while wagging our finger at people abroad for human rights abuses. What we have going on here is the epitome of cruel and unusual punishment and is outrageous, even for Mississippi!”
The Gray-Haired Witnesses Fast for Justice was prompted by the very serious illness of now 38-year-old Jamie Scott who entered prison in 1994 a healthy young woman yet suffered kidney failure this past January and was deprived adequate medical treatment for an extended period of time. Jamie has quickly declined to stage 5 (end stage) kidney disease and has suffered many life-threatening medical emergencies in an unclean environment.
Mr. Gregory was dumbfounded as to why Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has ignored all calls to pardon the women. “They went in at the ages of 19 and 22 with no prior criminal record, have consistently maintained their innocence, and even the testimony against them is documented as having been coerced! Even if they were guilty, we are talking about double life sentences each. How does that make any kind of sense? Don’t their lives mean anything at all? If Gov. Barbour won’t do the right thing, then we need Eric Holder and President Obama to immediately step in! Washington, D.C., should be packed with people on June 21, demanding the immediate release of the Scott Sisters!”
Website with all information: http://www.grayhairedwitnesses.blogspot.com
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