Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Chance to Take a Stance...

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has the opportunity to grant clemency to Stan "Tookie" Williams. While I follow the argument that his co-founding the Crips gang and refusal to name names of other infamous members is greater than his plea to excavate his death sentence, I am reminded that in our justice system we do not imprison and certainly do not punish by death any person solely on his association or failure to name names.

In fact, our justice was once focused on Rehabilitation - the belief that with right circumstances and attention that a person can repay the debt that he or she owes to society and can become a productive citizen. However, since the onslaught of the Regan Era and a Scalia.Thomas.Rhenquist court - our judicial system has focused less on rehabilitation - reinstated the death penalty - and built a lucrative *and conservative-centered* Prison Industrial Complex.

We claim, that "One Nation Under God, Indivisible with Justice for All" is our pledge of alliegance, but to what? when it comes to certain underserved populations in our country. Our intellectuals and academicians aren't taking up the burden, few and still less of our politicians are taking up the burden, the affluent aren't taking up the burden, hell many parents are not taking up the burden to see that the next generation of Americans have justice. And when I refer to the underserved population I am first talking about the Ethnic and Racial Minorities, but all of the impoverished class of this country - who lack in sufficient health care, housing and education. Most of whom will never have the opportunity to really consider the American dream as something as part of their own. This in itself is an INJUSTICE.

I make no excuses for Tookie. He is a murderer. But I am a woman - although that is not all I am, nor is all that I will ever be. And Tookie is not only a murderer. Like my gender, Tookie can never relinquish the title of a murderer, something he is reminded of everday with the presence of steel bars and his lack of freedom. But, he's done much more and has a resounding message - one that I believe America can embrace. It's not romanticized, in fact, it's an ugly realization. But out of the darkness always emerges light, even if the dark seems to go on forever. And in many places that darkness persists. Many of them leading prison cells for the course of a human life because of perpetual circumstances and inheritated ignorance.

My Governor has a tremendous opportunity. Of course, I seriously doubt that he understands its gravity.

I advocate for Tookie's clemency. But in doing so, I am advocating not just for his life, but for what it does represent - a message he, himself, has already taken great strides in sharing. I think he's more impactful alive - a message like his can't be effective in death - it defeats the message of hope.

really. hope. is.what.we.need.


Blogger Jaimie said...

He should be set free-he's made so many positive changes. I'm against the death penalty anyway, but especially in this case.

6:10 PM  

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