The Gray-Haired Witnesses are conducting a Fast for Justice at the Department of Justice Headquarters in Washington, DC on June 21, 2010.
We, who are three strikes removed from the center of the power structure of this country, want to raise the political consciousness of the nation while standing as the moral soul of the nation. We are Gray-Haired Witnesses who have struggled from time immemorial within the Black community. We are building towards a movement in history and we need all people of good will to be a part!
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. We speak to the totality of the struggle of the Black woman who is debased regularly as uneducated, immoral, subhuman, whore, bad mother, and welfare queen. We also recognize the systemic racism that leads the police to even arrest the Black woman in the first place, the racism during sentencing, during incarceration, in dealing with social services, education, health discrimination, and beyond.
Over the last 20 years, the women’s population in US prisons has more than tripled. Most women are in prison as a result of drug selling, addiction, domestic violence and criminal acts mostly related to men. Too many are victimized by biased and negligent lawyers and judges. The evidence of oppression against Black and poor women significantly increased and continues to mount. Our Sisters are victimized, and subsequently our families, by enormous health care disparities, and emotional degradation through corporate media demonization of our image and place in our community. We now see a coalition of corporate, cultural and political wars fully embracing a White supremacist culture of domination and terrorism.
Our primary focus is the case of the Mississippi Scott Sisters, Jamie and Gladys, whose almost 16 yrs of unjust incarceration is a shocking revelation of the pure nothingness with which our lives are deemed in the eyes of this society and world, where such egregious travesties of justice are heaped upon our women with hate-filled arrogance and in plain view! In 1994, the State of Mississippi sentenced Jamie and Gladys Scott to consecutive double-life terms each for two counts of armed robbery they did not commit. They did not have prior criminal records, vigorously maintained their innocence, approximately $11 was said to have been netted, no one was harmed or injured and no weapon was ever recovered.
In January, 2010, Jamie Scott suffered failure of both kidneys. The combination of absymal health care under deplorable conditions has culminated in her steep decline to stage 5 (end stage) kidney disease. Jamie Scott has now effectively been sentenced to death. We must address this specific issue with urgency and demand that an Inspection and Observation Team be allowed into the Pearl, MS prison where Jamie Scott is being held for independent evaluation, as well as call on this government to free Jamie and Gladys Scott, wrongfully convicted and with no business being incarcerated in the first place! The case of the Scott Sisters is a horrific representation of the cases of countless other Black and poor women who have been denied the benefits of true justice and been incarcerated wrongly and in the process punishing, injuring and destroying Black families and children across the nation.
The Gray-Haired Witness are calling on all people of good will to fast and strike and resist with us across the nation on this day. 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. 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. Our lives have prepared us to come to this place, at this time.
STAND WITH US IN WASHINGTON, DC AND HELP TO BUILD THIS EVENT.
WE ASK THAT YOU STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH US:
1. Organize attendees to come to the event on June 21. 2. Sign your organization/club/church/mosque/temple, etc. on in solidarity with the event. 3. Put a statement in support on your website and link to our blogspot. Send a mailing to your email list and memberships. 4. Assist in distributing literature for this event to build it to the maximum level. 5. Assist in garnering press now and at the event. 6. Fast in solidarity on that day and make calls to the prison, DOJ and your own local press to let them know you're fasting in solidarity with this event going on in DC on 6/21 and maybe be able to help get radio or other interviews with the organizers. 7. Dress and wear buttons in solidarity with us on that day.
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.
SHAKEERAH ABDUL AL-SABUUR, Paralegal FATIRAH AZIZ, ICFFMAJ, African American Freedom & Reconstruction League, Quba Institute MARPESSA KUPENDUA, M'Backe House of Hope, Inc. DEBRA D. NAPIER, PhD. BJ JANICE PEAK-GRAHAM, OUR COMMON GROUND Communications, Inc., Progressive Alternative Talk Radio JAMIA SHEPHERD, Founder/President of S.O.P.E. - Support Our People's Efforts