by Steve Champion and Anthony Ross

Black youth loved Tookie – his writing told them he loved and understood them – and hundreds turned out to stand vigil at the San Quentin gate on the terrible night of his execution, Dec. 13, 2005, demanding he be freed. – Photo: JR Valrey
Black youth loved Tookie – his writing told them he loved and understood them – and hundreds turned out to stand vigil at the San Quentin gate on the terrible night of his execution, Dec. 13, 2005, demanding he be freed. – Photo: JR Valrey

Ten years ago
the weight of shackles
pressed hard against his body
collapsing his lungs
squeezing his life
but not his spirit
determined to bury him
beneath the rubble of ashes
beneath time
cast him to oceans
like forgotten Ancestors
written out of history
a historical footnote.
But
we haven’t forgotten
the death of Malcolm and Martin
or the struggles of Harriet.
No more can we forget Dec. 13, 2005
Stanley Tookie Williams
made his transition
as we all will do.

'Blue Rage, Black Redemption' by Stanley Tookie Williams coverHis life was like an oracle
captured in “Blue Rage, Black Redemption.”

Asking questions, searching for answers
dancing with shamans
never idle, never content
without interrogating himself
and the world at large.

His spirit cannot die
as we shoulder the task
of training the next generation
to keep the light lit
and trail ablaze
to remember.

We carry him within the bosom
of our souls.
We evoke his name through
laughter and stories.
We incarnate him within
the consciousness of our being.
We draw strength from him
in our daily struggles.
We’ll continue to march
forward in his name
because a spirit cannot die
when it’s kept alive
through the energy of those
who refuse to lie down.

©2015 Champion & Ross. Send our brothers some love and light: Steve Champion, C-58001, and Anthony Ross, C-58000, San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin CA 94974. On San Quentin’s death row, Steve, Anthony and Tookie – Adisa, Ajani and Ajamu – became close friends, learning and speaking Swahili , studying , discussing and writing words of wisdom.

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