Listening party for new hip hop cd, the ‘Free Leonard Peltier Album,’ Tuesday, Nov. 30, 6:30 p.m., at the Black Dot Café, 1195 Pine St., West Oakland
by Minister of Information JR
Leonard Peltier is a legendary leader of resistance against police and government oppression specifically dealing with the indigenous people of Turtle Island (Amerikkka). He has been a political prisoner of the settler-colonial government of the United States for over 30 years and is in jail for the murder of two FBI agents, although evidence proves that he is innocent. You can learn a lot about his case from the documentary, “Incident at Oglala.”
Recently his nephew Aaron released the “Free Leonard Peltier Album,” which features some of the most notable rappers on the scene today that rap for freedom. On Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 6:30 p.m., the Block Report and Aaron will be hosting a listening party for the album. Come through and learn about Leonard’s case and indigenous resistance, and come hang out as we listen to a slappin’ album. Check out Aaron in this brief interview …
M.O.I. JR: Who is Leonard Peltier? And why is he important to the international human rights movement?
Aaron: Leonard Peltier is an indigenous political prisoner who is being held captive by the U.S. government – an indigenous man who was wrongfully convicted in 1977 and has served over 30 years in federal prison despite proof of his innocence, also despite proof that he was convicted on the basis of fabricated and suppressed evidence, as well as coerced testimony.
The U.S. government fabricated a case against Leonard, which ultimately led to his conviction for the death of two FBI agents. There have been over 19 constitutional violations committed against Leonard throughout his whole case which clearly indicates his trial was in no way fair and free from prejudice. Leonard has become a symbol of indigenous resistance and a cornerstone of the human rights movement because of his commitment to the people and unwillingness to give up.
M.O.I. JR: What is the status of his case today?
Aaron: Leonard was denied parole last year and is not again eligible for decades. He has used all of his appeals and, unfortunately, when he did appeal, all of the evidence proving his innocence was not yet released to the public.
The Freedom of Information Act led to Leonard’s lawyers getting key information which proves his innocence, such as ballistic evidence which was hidden from the defense during the trial which clearly indicates that the firing pin in the murder weapon was damaged and could not be tested accurately. The truth is that they replaced the firing pin to get the results they wanted in one of many fabrications of what really happen.
M.O.I. JR: Have you been in contact with him? Who is he as a person? What are some of the things that Leonard likes?
Aaron: My sister and I have written Leonard many letters over the years and he wrote back many years ago. From behind bars he has approved various elements of the “Free Peltier” album via the LPDOC (Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee) and he even allowed us to use his painting “Zi Warrior” for the cover of the album. Leonard is a very peaceful man and has become a mentor to many people out here in these streets and in the community from behind bars.
M.O.I. JR: Can you tell us about this cd that you just released?
Aaron: The Free Leonard Peltier Album is a gathering of members of the progressive hip hop community who are focused on the unjust incarceration of Leonard Peltier. The artists hope to raise dialogue in the community regarding the case of Leonard Peltier and expose one of the criminal justice system’s biggest abuses of justice in U.S. history.
I first conceived the album in hopes to raise awareness regarding Leonard’s plight within the community in a way they can relate to. One of my favorite lines on the album is “Human Rights organizations are trying to right this wrong but, for Peltier, the least I can do is write this song. It’s been over 30 years of tears and frustration since the brother stood up with no fear for the nation,” proclaimed by Rakaa of Dilated Peoples in his tribute to Leonard along with 2Mex in their amazing track “Right This Wrong.”
Other guests include Immortal Technique, M1 of Dead Prez, Talib Kweli, Skyzoo, Reks, T-Kash, Arievolution and iamani i. iameni, Mama Wisdom, Bicasso of the Living Legends, Eseibio, Buggin Malone, The DIme and DeeSkee.
M.O.I. JR: How can people get more info online about the case?