Monday, December 12, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
I want to thank all of you for your efforts and dedication to Human Rights and Human Kindness, in the past year I have experienced such emotion, joy, sadness and never ending faith. It is because of all of you that I am alive today, as I look at my sister Martina I am marveled by the love she has for me and of course I worry about her and her health, but as she tells me she is the eldest and she will not back down from this fight to save my life and prove to the world that I am innocent of this terrible crime.
As I look at my mail from across the globe, from places I have never ever dreamed I would know about and people speaking languages and expressing cultures and religions I could only hope to one day see first hand. I am humbled by the emotion that fills my heart with overwhelming, overflowing Joy. I can’t even explain the insurgence of emotion I feel when I try to express the strength I draw from you all, it compounds my faith and it shows me yet again that this is not a case about the death penalty, this is not a case about Troy Davis, this is a case about Justice and the Human Spirit to see Justice prevail.
I cannot answer all of your letters but I do read them all, I cannot see you all but I can imagine your faces, I cannot hear you speak but your letters take me to the far reaches of the world, I cannot touch you physically but I feel your warmth everyday I exist.
So Thank you and remember I am in a place where execution can only destroy your physical form but because of my faith in God, my family and all of you I have been spiritually free for some time and no matter what happens in the days, weeks to come, this Movement to end the death penalty, to seek true justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated. There are so many more Troy Davis’. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.
I can’t wait to Stand with you, no matter if that is in physical or spiritual form, I will one day be announcing,
“I AM TROY DAVIS, and I AM FREE!”
Never Stop Fighting for Justice and We will Win!
Friday, September 23, 2011
The evil of the death penalty is state sponsored death, supported and sponsored by known human imperfection.
The sin of our nation is our hubris in claiming Christianity in one hand and the religion of retaliation in the other.
The ignorance of our americanized faith is that we do not recognize our Savior was a death row inmate, executed unjustly for a crime He did not commit.
Lord Help us,
Then motivate us.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The Georgia Board of Parsons and Parole announced this morning that it has denied the appeal for clemency for Troy Davis. He is scheduled to be executed Wednesday, September 21st, at 7pm eastern time (6pm central time).
But, even in light of this news, we must continue this fight to the end. One last chance lies with Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm, who originally petitioned the court for the death penalty, to petition the judge to withdraw the death warrant agains Troy Davis. Please Click Here to go to the NAACP page and sign the petition that will be delivered to D.A. Chisolm today, requesting that he withdraw the death warrant.
In addition, the Chicago Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression, along with other Troy Davis supporters, is planning a vigil/rally to save his life, Wednesday at 5pm, in the Daley Plaza in Chicago (Washington and Clark Streets). They also ask that you call Mr. Chisolm's office at 912-652-7308 or fax him at 912-652-7328, and to call the Board of Parsons and Parole offices at 404-656-5651, and continue to asks for clemency for Troy.
While his earthly hope lies with Mr. Chisolm, we also know that there is power in prayer. Please remain prayerful that justice will be done for Brother Davis, that his life will be spared now, and that eventually he will be given a new trial . . . a chance to once and for all prove his innocence.
Please keep up the fight!
Trinity UCC - Justice Watch Team
Sunday, September 18, 2011
As September 21st draws near, we must not give up hope. Please take a moment to do one, or all of the following:
- Click Here to go to the NAACP "Too Much Doubt" Page and write a letter, or sign a petition
- Fax a letter of support to 404-651-8502, or send an email to email@example.com telling the Parole Board in Georgia that Troy must not be killed
Below is a report from Marlene Martin of the Chicago chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty that gives a great perspective on the campaign to save Troy's life.
Trinity United Church of Christ-Justice Watch Team
OUR JOURNEY TO RALLY FOR TROY
By Marlene Martin
Four of us in the Chicago chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty set out in the wee hours on Friday morning for a 12-hour trek to Atlanta to take part in a march and rally to save the life of Troy Anthony Davis, who is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, September 21.
We were weary and anxious as we pulled into Atlanta's downtown, parked and then headed over to the Woodruff Park, where the march was due to begin. Then we saw it--a sea of blue shirts adorned with the slogan "I AM TROY DAVIS"--and our collective weariness faded away.
More than 3,000 people gathered in the park--old and young, with handmade and printed signs. We soon found our contingent, a group of people chanting and beating plastic drums. We saw Mark Clements, a former Burge police torture victim from Illinois in the middle of it all, leading the chants with his trusty bullhorn. Mark had flown down a day earlier to take part in a panel discussion for Troy. Former death row prisoners Darby Tillis and Lawrence Hayes would also soon be joining us in Atlanta.
After a few minutes, we started off on the mile-long march. We were heading straight for the historic Ebenezer Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was once pastor.
Our contingent swelled to more than 100, with many around us joining in, as our chants rang out confidently: "Say what? Testify! We won't let Troy Davis die!" "It's not justice, its a lie, Troy Davis must not die!" and " They say death row, we say hell no!"
It was clear when we arrived at the church that not everyone would get in. Sure enough, Ebenezer Baptist filled to its capacity 2,500.
For those who couldn't get in, an impromptu rally began just steps away. Mark Clements spoke first. He told the crowd how he, too, was Troy Davis--having been arrested and charged with a crime he did not commit, for which he served 28 years in prison before winning his release. Mark underscored the importance of fighting back, saying, "We have made a determination to be noisy. It's time for us, the people, to understand that in all of us, there's a Troy Davis."
Darby Tillis sang a song about Troy and talked about the racism inherent in the system, and Troy's cousin spoke, urging people to keep up the pressure on the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.
People were spirited, encouraged and realized the importance of what we were doing--that it was up to us to save Troy. That was a mission everyone seemed to take very seriously. And we were very aware that we were just one part of an international effort to save Troy. We chanted, "The whole world is watching!"
Meanwhile, inside the packed church, people heard from various civil rights leaders, including Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network; Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP; entertainer and civil rights legend Dick Gregory; as well as exonerated death row prisoners Shujaa Graham and Larry Drinkard. Prayer and music filled the program, including a song by the Indigo Girls. People rose to their feet many times, applauding the rousing speeches.
By far, the most moving part of the program came at the very end when many people had already started leaving. The Davis family was asked to come to the front to address the crowd. Troy's sister, Martina Correia, who has led the fight for her brother, was too sick to attend--she suffers from breast cancer. But with cane in hand, Kim Davis made her way across the stage, accompanied by her 20-year-old nephew De'Jaun, Martina's son--both of them wearing their bright blue "I AM TROY DAVIS" T-shirts.
Kim, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, thanked the crowd for all they were doing and reported that Troy was amazed at the showing of support. De'Jaun then spoke and talked about how he has visited Troy for the past 20 years, and what a positive presence his uncle has been in his life. De'Jaun talked about the courage he has gotten from his mother Martina. He said the press asks him how their family is dealing with the upcoming execution date, and he says that they are responding the same way they have for over 20 years--with strength and courage. Many of us in the audience were crying when he spoke. He ended by leading the crowd in a chant of "I AM TROY DAVIS, YOU ARE TROY DAVIS, WE ARE TROY DAVIS.” It was electric.
On our way back to Chicago the next day, we called Martina. Her voice sounded stronger than it had a couple of days earlier. She was anxious to hear about the march and rally. "I heard De'Jaun said I had passed him the baton, and he agreed to take it," she said Yes, we told her, and we gave her a blow-by-blow description of the event.
As Martina told us, "After all the years of going to speak at different events, getting on planes and in cars and traveling all over to speak to so many different organizations, I just never would have imagined that this was going to be the result. It's like the movement for Troy has a life of its own. It's so wonderful. And now, if they try to go through with it, they are going to have such a hard time, because so many people are going to be outraged."
During our conversation, Martina talked about how she was hoping to visit Troy, even though she has been too weak to get out of a wheelchair for more than a few steps, and had recently had a feeding tube inserted, as well as a tube placed in her lung to drain fluid. "My oncologist is arranging to go with me so I can visit with Troy," she said.
When I asked her if there was anything that we could do for her or anything she needed, she said only, "Please tell everyone about your coming to Atlanta and what that was like."
So here this is--for Martina and for all of you.
On our way down, we scribbled out a note to drop in the mail to Troy. I saw the part that Ken, another Campaigner who made the journey down from Chicago, wrote to Troy. He thanked Troy, explaining that because of him that he was inspired to get involved in the abolitionist movement.
It is clear that many thousands of people now feel exactly the way Ken does. It's clear by the massive outpouring of support for Troy that people have been inspired by his case and will continue to fight for justice
We left Atlanta optimistic and encouraged about what is to come in the next few days. Georgia officials must now know that they can't get away with killing Troy without it resulting in massive anger at a system so reluctant to stop a tragic injustice from occurring.
There will be a vigil and rally outside of Troy's clemency hearing on Monday, September 19--the last change for an innocent man to plead for his life from the state of Georgia.
We are urging everyone to continue to fax (404-651-8502) and e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) the parole board with the message that that Troy must not be killed--and to continue to get signatures on petitions and letters of support for Troy. Three out of five of these members have to vote for clemency for it to be granted. The decision of the board is expected late on Monday or Tuesday.
If you are able to hold a petitioning event on your campus or in your community to stand in solidarity with the vigil in Atlanta. we urge you to do so.
For more information about Troy's case or how to get involved in this struggle, please go to our website at http://NoDeathPenalty.org
Randi Jones Hensley contributed to his report.
Monday, August 29, 2011
On Sunday, August 21st, you heard me speak about a cruel crisis situation that has been ongoing, and virtually ignored, since the mid 1990’s . . . the blood mining of Columbite-tantalite, also called Coltan, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Moore’s Law, described in a 1965 paper from Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel, predicted that transistors on a circuit board would double every two years. Now, 50 years since the invention of the circuit, Moore’s Law still holds true. That is one of the reasons we have been blessed (or cursed, depending on the perspective) with the incredible miniaturization of everything from televisions, to computers, iPads to, yes, iPhones/Cell phones. A key ingredient in this technological progress has been Coltan, which, when refined, becomes a heat-resistant powder that can hold an incredibly high electrical charge. Coltan has thus become a key fuel for the engine of technological growth and progress.
Some History: Mass death in the Congo from exploitation began as early as 1885 when King Leopold II of Belgium began ravaging the country of its ivory and rubber, and slaughtered its people, as he is blamed for the deaths of as many as 15 million. The curse of plentiful resources continues to this day, with over 5.4 million Congolese deaths since 1996 linked to armed conflict over mineral wealth.
Our government’s prime interest in the DRC (formerly Zaire) has been to keep the minerals flowing, typically by arming whosoever is in power. According to a report by the World Policy Institute, “The ongoing civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) is a prime example of the devastating legacy of U.S. arms sales policy on Africa. The U.S. prolonged the rule of Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Soko by providing more than $300 million in weapons and $100 million in military training. Mobutu used his U.S.-supplied arsenal to repress his own people and plunder his nation’s for three decades, until Laurent Kabila’s forces overthrew his brutal regime in 1997. When Kabila took power, the Clinton administration quickly offered military support by developing a plan for new training operations with the armed forces.
Recent regional conflicts, often construed as ‘ethnic’ or ‘tribal’ in reality, revolve around the mineral wealth of DRC. Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda have all at times been in conflicts in the region. Tom Makau, a telecommunications engineer and member of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya, observed that, “In an 18-month period, Rwanda made $250 million as a result of the exploitation of Coltan in the Congo. Although Rwanda and Uganda possess little or no Coltan, during the period of the war in the Congo, their exports escalated exponentially.”
Our Cause: Perhaps the worst result of this mad rush for material wealth is the fact that children have become a critical human resource in the process. Children as young as 8 years old are forced to work in the mines under worse than slave conditions, and just as inhumanely, conscripted into rebel armies and used as fodder in wars.
Literally thousands of children are working from sun up to sun down in mines with nothing but a dollar store flashlight, a chisel and a mallet. They work in mines with absolutely no safety standards, putting their lives at risk every day. Broken bones, sickness and disease are rampant, and one estimate says that up to 2 million lost their lives between 1998 and 2008. In spite of all this, they work for as little as $1.50 a week, when the ore they mine sells for up to $400 a kilogram; and we are the ones who benefit.
They Need Our Help: There is some good news. A “Conflict-Free Smelter” program was started in April of this year, in hopes of bringing a more ethical and moral standard to bear on those companies that rely on Coltan in their manufacturing. Also, Congress has initiated legislation to begin to address the issue of “blood coltan.” Our charge is to grow awareness of the issue, and drive support for those initiatives that show hope for making a difference:
In the coming weeks, as the world celebrates the wonderful memorial to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mall in Washington DC, our call for the reinstitution of the Coltan “Cellout” Protest each Wednesday is particularly poignant. We are new to this fight which some have been engaged in for over a decade, however, it is our charge, as a church with a long and sincere commitment to social justice, to bring this issue to light and force meaningful changes in policy for the benefit of the children, the people and God’s land.
- Write to your U.S. Senators, and sake them to support the re-introduction of the Congo Conflict Minerals Act, which died in committee in 2009
- Trinity will be running an ongoing awareness campaign to encourage support for companies that take part in the “Conflict-Free Smelter” program, and to potentially boycott companies that, given the opportunity, do not support the ethical use of Coltan
- Educate yourself; an excellent documentary can be found at http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/blood-coltan/
- Make Wednesday “Cellout” a weekly practice (turn off your phones from noon to 1pm and 7pm to 8pm, and leave a message as to why ("My phone is off to encourage the use of conflict free Coltan in the electronics industry. Please leave a message.")
Asking you to Imagine . . . a more just world,
Pastor Otis Moss III
Thursday, July 21, 2011
As messy as our political democracy is; as uneven, unfair and unjust as our system can be, with the outlandish redistricting, outrageous campaign financing tricks and schemes, and ostentatious spending on lobbying, the fact that the right to vote is continually under attack is particularly egregious.
According to Henrie M. Treadwell, Ph.D., director, Community Voices and Senior Social Scientist at Morehouse School of Medicine, 5.3 million Americans cannot vote because of various state restrictions on ex-felons, over 1 million in the state of Florida alone.
But that is not enough . . .
Since January, six states have passed new laws that require photo IDs to vote: Wisconsin, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Kansas and Tennessee, and three more (Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire) are considering proposals. This is yet another solution in search of a problem, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) says, “Instead of protecting the integrity of our voting system, many of these laws effectively disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters. Voting is integral to the strength of our democracy, and we should be working to increase voting participation, not keeping valid voters from having their voices heard.”
It is estimated that 11% of eligible voters, or over 16 million eligible, have no government-issued IDs. And, as you can imagine, these are primarily seniors, racial minorities, low-income voters and students. While some would argue they are trying to protect the integrity of our voting system, the facts do not support them. According to the Brennan Center for Justice at the NY University School of Law:
Indeed, evidence from the microscopically scrutinized 2004 gubernatorial election in Washington State actually reveals just the opposite: though voter fraud does happen, it happens approximately 0.0009% of the time. The similarly closely analyzed 2004 election in Ohio revealed a voter fraud rate of 0.00004%. National Weather Service data shows that Americans are struck and killed by lightning about as often.
Using this data, to prevent 14 people from voting illegally (using the larger estimate of 0.0009%), we are going to prevent 16,000,000 legitimate citizens from voting. Like the Poll Taxes of the old Jim Crow era, these new restrictive voting measures are for the sole purpose of limiting voting rights of specific groups!
Senator Bennet has written a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking the U.S. Department of Justice to review these highly restrictive photo identification requirements, and under the Voting Rights Act, the DOJ has significant authority to review these laws before they are implemented. We all need to put pressure on our representatives in Congress to press Attorney General Holder to review these restrictive new laws and vigorously enforce the right to vote for all citizens.
Please write or call your Senators and Congressman or Congresswoman to ask that they too, write our Attorney General and demand reviews of photo ID voting requirements in all states.
To contact your Representative Click Here
To contact your Senator Click Here
TUCC Justice Watch Team
Saturday, June 4, 2011
How many times have we heard folks say racism in America is becoming “a thing of the past” or at minimum “archaic in today’s dialog?” Well, clearly none of them have been as astute as over 70,000 of us who read, listen, watch and are attuned to the vast number of media outlets available in today’s Cyber-highway of communications.
On May 15th, Satoshi Kanazawa posted a power-storm of ignorance, UNscientific shenanigans, and down-right race-baiting, which hit the media airwaves and was pounced on by many of you who share our intense fury. Satoshi posted an article discussing his perceived proof that Black women are less physically attractive than woman of any other race. Satoshi is well known to be an antagonist and a flagrant instigator of ignorance and unscientific arguments on social issues that cross the gamut from race, to politics, to economics, to anything and almost everything in between! Shall I say, he didn’t let the expectations flounder in his post that day either! What caught our collective attention was that his post actually got released by one of the most respected scientific online journal sites, read by thousands upon thousands, Psychology Today. Although the post has since been removed from their website, along with references to its history, if you’d like to see a “snapshot” please visit the link below.
Thank God for an amazing action group that gives us not only a forum where we can collaborate and share our feelings, but also provides us a mechanism to respond, reaching large numbers of people in a short period of time. ColorofChange.org is an African American not-for-profit, social action organization whose work has successfully shut down the likes of Andrew Breitbart’s interview on ABC TV, as well as Glenn Beck of FOX TV (whose contract and show are no longer apart of FOX TV’s programming rotations).
On Monday, May 23, ColorofChange.org sent a petition responding to this egregious article, demanding an explanation, and asking what Psychology Today would do to ensure this never happened again. After days of silence, on May 27th, the editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, Kaja Perina, contacted ColorofChange and offered their apology. Please visit the ColorofChange.org web site or Facebook page to see a copy of the response. In essence, what was received was a weak acknowledgement of the racial hysteria raised by the article, connected to their further acknowledgement of a “prompt” removal from their site. Although it states they’ve taken measures to prevent this sort of “racism or prejudice of any sort” from ever happening again on their site, what isn’t said is a verbatim explanation of ‘what’ those measures were.
We should feel proud and affirmed by the swift response and appropriate action by the editor and staff of Psychology Today. After all, the incendiary post was swiftly removed and in a relatively short time an apology was extended. Of course we must recognize that this is but one small victory. The Village needs to wake up, get proactive and remain vigilant, so that we seriously become memorialized for eradicating racism, one of our nation’s most virile social ills.
Yes! It really takes the whole village!
Lynda Holiday Lawrence
TUCC Justice Watch Team
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
- Bank of America, with $4.4 Billion in profits last year, a $1 Trillion BAILOUT, and $1.9 Billion Tax Refund from the IRS
- General Electric, who has cut 20% of its “American” jobs in the past 9 years, while growing jobs overseas, received a $4.1 Billion Tax Refund, while making $26 Billion in profits over the past 5 years
- Goldman Sachs, made $2.3 Billion in profits, after receiving $800 Billion in BAILOUT money and paid . . . 1.1% in income taxes
- Carnival Cruise Lines generated profits of $16 Billion over the past five years, but paid less than $200 Million in taxes
- Citigroup paid ZERO taxes on $4 Billion in profits, after receiving a $2.5 Trillion BAILOUT