In 1896, Ida B. Wells, the African American crusader for justice and defender of democracy, said these words, “One had better die fighting against injustice than die like a dog or a rat in a trap.” Her proclamation was a rallying cry for the nation to stand up against lynching and the right of Black men and women to live and move freely with white vigilante groups desecrating and torturing our bodies. When Ida B. Wells stood up, she set in motion a resistance movement where many Americans broke their silence against lynching and said NO. She stood for a race of people bereft of political power or resources. More than 100 years later Gray-Haired Witnesses, Black women with a new Freedom Movement calling on this nation, stand in the spirit of those proud men and women who won hard-fought for victories in struggle and blood. Thousands of ordinary Black people joined with thousands of people of all races to stand with courage to fight for the rights and liberties that are inherent in the Constitution. On the other hand, other people worked relentlessly to move the nation backwards by building an America where only one race and their freedom and bodies mattered. Truth be told, people of color have always lived under the weight of a lockdown society that use laws, torture, and incarceration to attempt to hold us in our places. Like Ida Wells Barnett, we did not back down despite economic, political and social reprisals.
We stand on this history today. We stand before you as Gray-Haired Witnesses asking freedom-loving people of all colors who believe in the dream of Ida B. Wells, of a just, safe and open America for all peoples regardless of our different social locations to break the veil of silence and stand strong in a renewed spirit of moral consciousness for this country. The greatest asset we have is our body, mind and spirit and our willingness to step out of the daily flow of life and stand tall for what is right and just. The jagged tears in the social and cultural infrastructure of Black and poor communities and families are unconscionable and unacceptable to us. We come ready to repair them. In the tradition of race women throughout history and our survival, we declare our presence and we will not be silent and we are not afraid.
We call on our Sisters, our Brothers to join with us to demand what is right. We must speak loudly and clearly to the devaluation of Black women's bodies and lives. We want people of all colors to wage a struggle and stand with us on these issues because none of us are free until we are all free.
Jamie and Gladys would like to thank all supporters for everything that is being done to assist in securing their freedom. They would especially like to thank The Gray Haired Witnesses for the most recent Washington, DC event.
Jamie sends a special thank you to everyone for contacting the Health Department regarding conditions at MDOC's- Quickbed Unit which is where she and many other inmates are housed. She has said that the prison made noticeable improvements and are continuing to do so. Many other inmates have also expressed their thanks to everyone who called and wrote the Mississippi Health Department. The Health Department did visit the prison and it has made a great difference in the lives of inmates.
Mrs. Rasco said that Jamie has broken out in boils again. The medical clinic has given her antibiotics and hopefully this will clear her condition. Although Jamie is sick; she is in very high spirits because of the improved living conditions. I would personally like to thank Ms. Gloretha Darlene Pinckney-Gray for sharing the idea of contacting OSHA and the Health Department. Ms. Gray - you have made a difference in many lives there at MDOC - Quick Bed. We thank you!
Jamie's Birthday is on July 16th and she would very much appreciate receiving cards and letters from supporters. Please write to Jamie Scott at the following address: Jamie Scott # 19197 CMCF/2A-B-Zone P.O. Box 88550 Pearl, MS 39288-8850
Anyone who wishes to send funds directly to Jamie for her commissary privileges may do so by following instructions provided via this link. http://www.mdoc.state.ms.us/Sending%20Money.htm
Free The Scott Sisters T-Shirts are available and may be purchased via the link below. Thank you to Paul Lefrak for organizing this and to Jack and Mike for picking up the torch! Please order your shirts, wear them and assist us in spreading the word. http://www.radicaljack.com/scsit.html
Last but not least, a documentary is now being produced of The Scott Sisters, their family and this tragic case. The producer and his team are working around the clock to meet deadlines and ensure that all bases are covered. This documentary should be released in a few months!
Nancy R. Lockhart, M.J.
Visit and LINK to: http://www.freethescottsisters.blogspot.com Subscribe to our group: Send a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and share information! Facebook Group: Free The Scott Sisters Facebook Fan Page: Free The Scott Sisters Free the Scott Sisters Petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Free-Jamie-Gladys/index.html Free the Scott Sisters Flyer: http://www.scribd.com/doc/28847395/Scott-Sisters-Flyer-Black-23-Mar-2010-20 Legal Transcripts: http://www.scribd.com/doc/21748820/Scott-transcript
The prison sends out visitation lists two times a year and Gladys mailed one to Mrs. Rasco that she never received. Now the state of Mississippi is trying to keep Mrs. Rasco from visiting Gladys at any cost. This is truly ridiculous because they know that she has been visiting her there for the past 15 years! The next time forms will be sent is October, but it's not even guaranteed that she will receive it or be able to get onto the list because of the way she is being treated. At this rate, she may not even be able to see Gladys until next year!
Please contact Christopher Epps and tell him that Mrs. Rasco needs another form sent to her right away so that she can get in to see Gladys! --------
Jamie and Gladys were visited by a mutual friend on June 17. Gladys was in good spirits and happy about the fast in Wash, DC on June 21. Jamie was feeling weak initially but after 2 1/2 hrs. began to feel better and optimistic about the future. Sometimes the hot temperatures in Quik Bed make it difficult for her to breathe. The health department has investigated Quik Bed and found the area to be extremely hot and gave the prison officials a date in which restroom repairs had to be completed. Jamie says that her dialysis is going better than before. Jamie and Gladys send their love and are thankful for the efforts of everyone. ---------
The 6/21 Gray-Haired Witnesses Fast for Justice began at the Department of Justice with a small but spirited protest and speak-out against the prison industrial complex, the disparity in arrests, sentencing and treatment during and after incarceration, particularly of Black people. Supporters came from as far as Boston and Mississippi to proclaim that the Scott Sisters be released from prison, as well as all those suffering under the MDOC system, one of the worst prison systems for medical care in the country. Later that afternoon at Lafayette Park, the energy was still very high and a lot of information was shared with attendees and passersby.
The following poignant letters were sent in for the rally:
A Letter from Jamie Scott From Inside the Central Mississippi State Prison Pearl, MS
June 17, 2010
I want to thank each of you for your support in helping my sister, Gladys and me. It seems as if the fight will never end. I never want to lie to any of you, the truth is, at this time my heart is so heavy and tired. How does this happen in a country that is suppose to be free? With the loss of my kidneys, my hypertension, and diabetes, I cry a lot these days. I ask God to please help me because it seems like I am losing my mind. As July approaches, I feel so guilty to be thankful for turning 38 years old, because that’s the day in 2008 my sister died and I had to go to her gravesite shackled like an animal.
I’ve been robbed of so much by the state of Mississippi until I can’t feel anymore. But in the midst of this pain, I do also feel the love and support from each of you. Please stay strong in your stand for justice. One day we shall overcome. I just pray my day won’t be too late. I am sorry I couldn’t write more now but you will hear from me again.
A Letter from Gladys Scott From Inside the Central Mississippi State Prison Pearl, MS
June 17, 2010
To All of My Supporters,
I would like to thank you for helping Jamie and me fight for justice. Life is not easy but I know with God’s Help, He will see me through. As I write this letter, I feel so much joy and happiness because I have prayed for this day when people hear our cries but at the same time, my heart is sad because my sister, Jamie is fighting daily for her life. I have been behind these prison walls for almost 16 years. I have seen many people come and go through these prison gates. I’ve seen some folks who walked in later being carried out in body bags and hearses because of the terrible medical care received here in the Mississippi penal system. I pray my sister, Jamie will walk out of here and lead a normal life with her health restored. Yes, I want freedom and justice for both Jamie and me. I am so grateful for all the cards, letters and support of the people. Everyday, I feel the love through your prayers. If it weren’t for your support, I don’t think that I could go on much longer. So thank you and we will see justice one day soon.
Statement from Mrs. Evelyn Rasco:
I would like to thank all of the Gray-Haired Witnesses for the stand that they took on behalf of Jamie and Gladys and all women that are locked down in Pearl, Mississippi and all around the world. What has been done to Jamie and Gladys is the greatest injustice that could be done to a human being. In 1994 Jamie and Gladys were sentenced to two life sentences each with no chance of parole for 20 years. On Oct. 7 they will have been in prison for 16 years. Judge Marcus Gordon ran one of the most inhumane courts in the land. He used our justice system to express his hate for the Rasco name and will have given Jamie and Gladys a death sentence if they are not freed. How can someone get a double life sentence when the alleged victums say you didn't rob them and never held a gun on them -- how can a jury find them guilty? Because they were seen as guilty when they first walked into the court of Judge Marcus Gordon. The part that really hurts me is that my oldest son has been in the military for 29 years and is on a second tour to Afghanistan to fight for a country that has taken his sisters' lives and will not give them justice. What has our justice system come to? It must be reformed. Our black women are dying in prison, our white women are dying, and our children are being destroyed.
The national NAACP is sending out an e-mailer announcing their upcoming convention and asking which issues they should focus on and what questions they should address there. Please log-in to http://action.naacp.org/YourIdeas and write the question as something similar to: "When is the NAACP going to join the growing national and international movement for justice for the Scott Sisters of Mississippi?" and include the website "http://freethescottsisters.blogspot.com" as the theme. The Convention is just a few weeks away, so please do this action as soon as possible and pass the word! ===================
6/27 -- SUPER SUNDAY ALL DAY EXCLUSIVE SPECTACULAR -- THE SCOTT SISTER'S MODERN DAY LYNCHING ON HARAMBEE RADIO - www.harambeeradio.com ======================
Write some encouraging words to Jamie and Gladys (for commissary donations go to http://www.inmatedeposits.com, register for Access Corrections and use each of their name and number to make your donation):
Gladys Scott, #19142 CMCF/B-Bldg. P.O. Box 88550 Pearl, MS 39288-8550
Jamie Scott, #19197 CMCF/2A-B-Zone P.O. Box 88550 Pearl, MS 39288-8550
Please continue to advocate on behalf of Jamie and Gladys Scott, their children and families need for them to return home alive, the time is NOW!
Attorney General Eric Holder U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530-0001 HOTLINE: 202-353-1555 PHONE: 202-514-2000 202-307-6777 fax AskDOJ@usdoj.gov
Mrs. Rasco needs to visit her daughter, Gladys, Christopher Epps, get her the necessary form so that she can get back on the list!
Christopher Epps 601-359-5600 CEPPS@mdoc.state.ms.us 723 North President Street Jackson, MS 39202
Governor Haley Barbour P.O. Box 139 Jackson, Mississippi 39205 1-877-405-0733 or 601-359-3150 Fax: 601-359-3741 (If you reach VM leave msgs, faxes, and please send letters)
Gray-Haired Witnesses and Supporters Bring Shocking Case of the Scott Sisters to Washington!
WASHINGTON, June 25/Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice News -- Gray-Haired Witnesses Fast for Justice was held on June 21, 2010, calling attention to the growing numbers of incarcerated Black women and the gross over-sentencing in cases such as the Mississippi Scott Sisters, Jamie and Gladys. The Scott Sisters received double-life sentences each in an alleged armed robbery of $11.00 in which no one was harmed or injured, and for which they have steadfastly maintained their innocence. This outrageous case became all the more urgent when Jamie Scott, now in the 16th year of this draconian sentence, suffered kidney failure in January, 2010 and has had several close calls with death as a result of poor medical treatment in the prison.
The rally began at the Department of Justice with a small but spirited protest and speak-out against the prison industrial complex, the disparity in arrests, sentencing and treatment during and after incarceration, particularly of Black people. Supporters came from as far as Boston and Mississippi to proclaim that the Scott Sisters be released from prison, as well as all those suffering under the MDOC system, one of the worst prison systems for medical care in the country. “We are here to represent those who came before us,” stated Gray-Haired Witness B.J. Peak-Graham, "Our Ancestors cry through us demanding all justices denied." Atty Sam Jordan was very thorough and spoke with great conviction, as well as Gloria & Clarence Bolls, Donnie Finley, Chioma Oruh, and more! They were each eloquent and adamant that an investigation into the case of the Scott Sisters needed to be a top item on the Washington agenda and that enough is truly enough for this devastating case!
Later that afternoon at Lafayette Park, the energy was still very high and a lot of information was shared with attendees and passersby. Brenda Branson, Spoken Word and Slangston Hughes were among those who brought the power to bear on this system during their hard-hitting and impassioned spoken word presentations, and the crowd was visibly moved by a beautiful musical performance by Khadijah “Moon” Ali-Coleman. The many speakers who brought dynamic information to the rally included Returning Citizens United, UNIA Pres. General Senghor Jawara Baye, Clinton Alexander, Atty Nkechi Taifa, Mike Johnson, revered community mother and esteemed elder Mama Nia, and more, that made for a very meaningful day of education and information that lit up the entire square and reached everyone within earshot. Atty Ann Wilcox also took the stage and spoke in solidarity on behalf of the local Green Party and the Gray Panthers.
Portions of the rally were very moving and being in the shadow of the White House made them all the more poignant. Gray-Haired Witness, Jamia Shepherd, read from heartbreaking letters from Jamie and Gladys Scott, one in which Jamie wrote: “I’ve been robbed of so much by the state of Mississippi until I can’t feel anymore. But in the midst of this pain, I do also feel the love and support from each of you. Please stay strong in your stand for justice. One day we shall overcome. I just pray my day won’t be too late.”
The organizers were uplifted by those in attendance as well as all of those who supported but were unable to attend, and all expressed their love and admiration for the awe-inspiring courage and fortitude of Mrs. Evelyn Rasco, the true engine behind all of the organizing that goes on with respect to her beloved and suffering daughters. The movement is growing and all of the people who are organizing on behalf of the Scott Sisters around the country and world will be heard! “We come from a history of struggle, we must relearn that we don’t just lay down and accept injustice!” said Gray-Haired Witness Marpessa Kupendua. The women vowed to remain consistent and continue to move forward in the spirit of Ida B. Wells on this case and in other efforts to demand an end to the demonization and dehumanization of the Black community in general and Black women in particular in the future.
MAKE YOUR PLANS TO JOIN US!! JUNE 21, 2010 -- WASHINGTON, DC 10 AM - DEPT. OF JUSTICE 12 NOON - WHITE HOUSE PRESS CONFERENCE 1PM-9PM - LAFAYETTE SQUARE PARK
We need EVERYONE to join us in bringing national attention to the case of the Scott Sisters and all those who have been incarcerated wrongly and egregiously over-sentenced!
This is a day-long fast to be the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves, while standing on the shoulders of our righteous ancestors who taught us that we dare not become complacent and accepting of oppression but to struggle against injustice and to bring together the people who will loudly declare that enough is enough!
We stand on this history today. We stand before you as Gray-Haired Witnesses asking freedom-loving people of all colors who believe in the dream of Ida B. Wells, of a just, safe and open America for all peoples regardless of our different social locations to break the veil of silence and stand strong in a renewed spirit of moral consciousness for this country. The greatest asset we have is our body, mind and spirit and our willingness to step out of the daily flow of life and stand tall for what is right and just. The jagged tears in the social and cultural infrastructure of Black and poor communities and families are unconscionable and unacceptable to us. We come ready to repair them. In the tradition of race women throughout history, we declare our presence and we will not be silent and we are not afraid.
MEET US AT NEW YORK AVENUE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, RADCLIFFE ROOM, 1313 NEW YORK AVENUE, NW BETWEEN 8:30 AND 9:45 AM (2 blocks from the White House and Lafayette Square Park). The church is also available to us from 11:45a until 1:00.
Directions to Dept. of Justice from the New York Ave. Presbyterian Church: Come out of the building at 1313 New York Avenue, NW and turn left, cross the street at corner of the church,---you will be in front of the Inter American Bank—which is now H St, NW. Stay on H, cross at 13th, and count the numbers down to 9th—turn right on 9th, now count down the letters until you reach Pennsylvania Ave., NW –the address is 950 Pennsylvania. It’s about 10 city blocks.
There is a public parking lot located 4 blocks from the church and 4 blocks from the Department of Justice. It’s the best deal in town—most other parking is in garages that will not fit a bus. This is the contact information: City Center Parking operated by U Street Parking - 900 9th St., NW—the entrance is on 9th St, which is one way. Cars can park all day for $20 and buses can park all day for $35. Come down H St, NW to 10th, turn right on 10th go up 1 block, turn right, and then right again on 9th—the entrance is mid block on the right. Buses park to the far right of the lot. The telephone number is 202 265-0010.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE - 10 AM - WE WILL BEGIN OUR FAST, PICKET, SPEAK OUT AND PRESENT PETITIONS AND DEMANDS FOR ERIC HOLDER. Gray-Haired Witnesses are calling for white clothing in solidarity, but participants need not join in the fast or wear all-white to support!
12 NOON - WHITE HOUSE PRESS CONFERENCE -- The Shocking Case of the Mississippi Scott Sisters Must Become a National News Story.
1PM-9PM - LAFAYETTE SQUARE PARK - Continuation of Fast with Speakers, Performers, Activists, Music -- Come thru and lend your support as we raise awareness of the shocking case of the Mississippi Scott Sisters and uplift and educate attendees around issues of serious concern to our Sistas and our community at large. We need your voice to be a part of this program! Bring non-perishable food donations that will be distributed to the needy of the DC community at the conclusion of the fast.
Khadijah "Moon" Ali-Coleman Kermit Eady - Former Head, Black United Fund of NY, Eady Associates Michael Johnson -Black Unity Movement, Black Student Union Nkechi Taifa, Esq. - President, Legacy Justice Institute Sam Jordan - Advocate for Justice and Prison Abolition Senghor Jawara Baye - Pres. Gen., UNIA-ACL Slangston Hughes "Spoken Word" - Spoken Word Artist Strong Love Band Bro. Yango! + More, More, More!
CALL DONNIE FINLEY OF GLORIA'S KITCHEN, JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI IF YOU CAN HELP WITH DONATING A BUS SO THAT MRS. RASCO AND FAMILY CAN ATTEND THE RALLY. CALL DONNIE ASAP at: 601-454-6507. ---------
On behalf of President-General Senghor Jawara Baye and the Government of the UNIA-ACL worldwide, we are here-in providing our full and unconditional support against the wrongful imprisonment of the Scott Sisters under the rampant racism exhibited by the state of Mississippi. Too long have we stood by and allowed our people to lanquish in the prisons of amerikkka. These two strong Black women have been held hostage on trumped-up charges of an $11.00 robbery since 1993...almost 17 years! This is what has transpired with them and many others since our sojourn in this wicked land. How long my people? How long will we continue to stand by while our Bothers and Sisters rot and die in the bowels of amerikkka’s dungeons? Jamie is dying for lack of inept and inadequate medical care. This blatant racism that exists in amerikkka has not met its death as some would have you believe. Rise up now and show that you will no longer tolerate such. Let the powers that be know that it is way pass time for justice to step forward... instead of it always being just-us. We want Jamie and Gladys Scott released immediately. We want full and complete medical care issued and restitution for all these years of false imprisonment. We also call for a swift hand in all these cases where we have had so many of our people so blatantly and wrongfully imprisoned.
Zama Cook Minister of Information Government of the UNIA-ACL ---------
DURING THE DAY OF MONDAY JUNE 21:
We need you to support by doing some or all of the following--
1. STAND WITH US IN WASHINGTON AND BRING OTHERS!
2. Call, fax and e-mail Eric Holder and let him know that you are in Solidarity with the Gray-Haired Witnesses and demand an investigation into the case of the Scott Sisters and Jamie Scott's medical treatment. HOTLINE: 202-353-1555, PHONE: 202-514-2000, 202-307-6777 fax, AskDOJ@usdoj.gov -- Call the Commissioner's office and demand that Jamie Scott be moved to the Medical Bldg. and leave the hot, moldy and infection-inducing Quick Bed unit, that she be given the nutrition that the doctor has told her she needs to survive, and that he advocate for the pardon of both of the Scott Sisters with the Governor's office. 601-359-5600, CEPPS@mdoc.state.ms.us -- Call/fax Gov. Haley Barbour and demand that he release Jamie and Gladys Scott from prison! 1-877-405-0733 or 601-359-3150, Fax: 601-359-3741
3. Send our press release to your local and national press and tell them that you are fasting in solidarity with the Gray-Haired Witnesses fast for justice and that you want them to write a story about the case of the Scott Sisters (press release is at http://www.scribd.com/doc/31674423/grayhairpr).
4. Repost our information to your Facebook and other social netwoking sites. Help us get the word out.
5. Issue a statement of support on an individual or organizational level on this endeavor and get it to us before June 20 and it will be read at the event. Write a blog, article or commentary, post it and pass it on for posting on our website.
6. Volunteer to help us on that day, we need you!
7. Change your Facebook or other networking site profile pic in solidarity for the day and represent one of the Scott Sisters or their mother! -----------
ENDORSEMENT LIST-- THANK YOU ALL FOR STANDING WITH US!!
Action Committee for Women in Prison Agnes Johnson, The 1212 Community in the Bronx Ahmad Abdulibad, Minister~General, Sons Of Afrika Bonnie Kerness, AFSC* Brenda Scott Lowery Bro. Moorbey, Chairman, Black Unity Movement Bro. Sauti & Sis. Shiriki, KCBLR.ORG Radio California Coalition for Women Prisoners Charles E. Campbell, Allen Hydro Energy Corporation (AHEC) Christian Guerrier, Founder, Millennials Project Cleo Silvers David Blanchard Dick Gregory - Human Rights Activist Dominique Reed, HRC-Fed Up! Donna Wallach, Justice for Palestinians Dr. Judson L. Jeffries, Professor & Director, The Ohio State University Earl Smith, Executive Director, Order of Kush International Eddie Griffin (BASG) Fayemi Shakur, Sundiata Acoli Freedom Campaign Florence L. Tate Free Mumia NYC Harambee Radio and Television Network Helen Raines Staley, Albany NY Int'l Concerned Family/Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal Jacqui C. Williams Julie Ann Turner Kenneth King Kermit Eady, Eady Associates Leonna A. Brandao, S.W.III, New Vision Org., Inc. Malaika H. Kambon, People's Eye Photography Marilyn McMahon, California Prison Focus Marritte Funches, founder of the August Initiative Mary Ratcliff, Editor, San Francisco Bay View Newspaper mesha Monge-Irizarry, Director, Education Not Incarceration, SF Chapter, Idriss Stelley Foundation, + SF MOOC City Commissioner* Michael Johnson/Black Student Union (Comm. College of Balt. County/Essex) Michelle Alexander, Author, "The New Jim Crow - Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" Mississippi Prison Watch Monica Moorehead, Women's Fightback Network, NYC Mumia Abu-Jamal, Political Prisoner Nancy Lockhart, M.J., Legal Analyst Nathan Hare, Black Think Tank Nkechi Taifa, Esq. - President, Legacy Justice Institute Pastors Against Injustice, Wayne Jones Paul Lefrak. People's Organization for Progress Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, T.O.P.S. Rev. Majadi Baruti, Udja Temple Ministries Ron Scott, Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality Sam Jordan - Advocate for Justice and Prison Abolition Senghor Jawara Baye, President General UNIA-ACL Sistah Q, Author of Maintaining Our Temples Solidarity Sundiata Acoli, Political Prisoner Tara Graham Terry Howcott The African American Freedom & Reconstruction League The MOVE Organization Trinita Simpson 4JusticeNow (* For ID purposes only)
Blessed are those who struggle Oppression is worse than the grave Better to die for a noble cause than to live and die a slave
Up through the years we've continued this fight our liberty to attain And though we have faced insurmountable odds yet the will to resist remains
(From: Blessed are Those Who Struggle - The Last Poets)
The Scott Sister's shocking double-life sentence must not become death sentences on our watch!