Tuesday, December 06, 2005

7 days. The clock is ticking. Save Tookie!

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- Reports and news about Tookie
"Redemption" screening and fundraiser gets a packed house
Arrested for civil disobedience to protest the 1,000th execution
Thirty-three professors nominate Stan for Nobel Peace Prize
A discussion of Stan's case on the Pacifica station KPFA
Stan's case dominates the Black press
USA Today writer supports clemency
Have the innocent been put to death?
Donate much-needed funds for our efforts

- Upcoming events

- Where to find more information

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>From Todd Chretien: Over 500 people stood and yelled, "Save Tookie," as Elizabeth Terzakis from the Campaign to End the Death Penalty welcomed them to a special screening of "Redemption" at San Francisco's Victoria Theatre, hosted by the Save Tookie Committee. The crowd was multiracial and included whole families and 100 high school and junior high students from some of the roughest neighborhoods in the Bay Area. Next, Danielle Moore, representing the Vanguard Public Foundation, introduced Tookie's co-author Barbara Becnel, who had a surprise for everyone. She walked to the microphone, held up her cell phone, and Tookie himself spoke live from death row. He said, "I appreciate all the support you've given me, and I can sense from you that even those who do not believe in god can tonight detect the warmth of your humanity and caring." After a long ovation, Kevin Epps, director of "Straight Out of Hunters Point," spoke about the inspiration that Tookie gives to young people in his neighborhood, which faces high levels of street violence, racism and police brutality. Elizabeth Sholes representing the California Council of Churches pledged the support of thousands of religious congregations. Boots Riley from the hip-hop group The Coup explained the power Tookie has to reach Black and Brown youth who are in gangs or considering joining a gang. He said, "A lot of times you hear condescending people say, 'why don't you people just stop the violence in your communities.' But they don't have any experience with the conditions young people in our inner cities live. Tookie has that experience, and it means a lot more when he says don't join a gang than coming from anyone else." Cameron Sturdevant from the Campaign to the End the Death Penalty gave a moving and effective pitch for funds that raised thousands of dollars to help cover organizing costs. Hari Dillon, president of the Vanguard Public Foundation, told the audience he had just spoken with Ahmed Kathrada, a leader in the African National Congress in South Africa who spent years in prison with Nelson Mandela, who reported that Tookie's case is now big news in South Africa and all over the world. To top it all off, Danny Glover mounted the stage. In order to attend the meeting for Tookie, he left Toronto early in the morning to get to Houston for an important social justice meeting, and then caught the last plane to San Francisco. He talked about the need to "keep Tookie alive to continue doing his good works. Tookie is one part of the solution to the violence and discrimination and poverty we face, but we, all of us here tonight, are another part that is just as important as Tookie. No one can make these changes on their own, but we need to save Tookie, and we need to stand up and take action ourselves."


CEDP board member Shujaa Graham, the exonerated former death row prisoner at San Quentin, was among 17 people arrested in Raleigh, N.C., in an act of civil disobedience December 1, shortly before Kenneth Boyd was executed, becoming the 1,000th person put to death since reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976. From Renny Cushing of Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights: Thursday night, 17 people were arrested for walking down the driveway of the Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina and non-violently entering the grounds of the compound where the Death House was being prepared to kill Kenneth Boyd. Those who participated in this collective act of conscience in the face of the 1000th execution did so as individuals and not in their capacity as members of any organization. Engaging in civil disobedience is not something done lightly. The abolition movement is appropriately focused on making new laws or changing existing laws concerning the death penalty, crime and punishment. Sometimes, though, it seems that in order to make change it is necessary to break the law. It seemed especially true on December 1, the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks decision to defy the Alabama law that required her to sit on the back of a public bus. The cumulative carnage represented by 1000 executions weighed upon us all. When a little after 10:00 PM Steve Dear announced to the crowd that had assembled in front of the Central Prison to vigil against the death penalty that the North Carolina Governor Easley had turned down Vietnam Veteran Kenneth Boyd’s request for clemency, making his execution inevitable, it was time to act.


Professor Philip Gasper, Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Notre Dame de Namur University, has nominated Mr. Williams for the Nobel Peace Prize five years in a row, including the current nomination, which is endorsed by thirty-two other professors. "I nominate Mr. Williams for a Nobel Peace Prize because of his courage in sharing his experience with young people throughout the world so that they can learn from his mistakes," said Professor Gasper. Gasper, fellow educators, and Barbara Becnel, executive director of the Neighborhood House of North Richmond and co-author of Mr. Williams' anti-gang children's books will speak at a press conference to announce Stan's nomination for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. At 2 pm, December 7, at Notre Dame de Namur University, Quad (next to Campus Center), 1500 Ralston Ave., Belmont, Calif.


>From the Pacifica Web Site: Stan "Tookie" Williams' lawyers have a clemency hearing scheduled with California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for Thursday, December 8. If the governor does not grant Tookie clemency, he will be executed on December 13. As that day draws closer, more and more people are beginning to look at the issues of racism and extreme poverty as they pertain to Stan Tookie Williams, and the criminal justice system as a whole. Sarah Olson files this story from Oakland, California.

Go here to find the link to the Webcast: http://www.pacifica.org/programs/fsrn/fsrn_051205.html


>From the Pacific News Service: As the Dec. 13, 2005, date for the execution of death row prisoner Stanley "Tookie" Williams creeps closer, mainstream media nationwide have begun to take a look at what has been one of the most widely reported and debated stories in black media for the last two months. Most, but not all, commentary in African American publications has favored granting clemency to Tookie, a five-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize and a co-founder of the notorious Crips street gang.

Read the full article at: http://news.pacificnews.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=c26f2f051b9e24 147dc3768e8ffbd6b8


>From USA Today: There is strong evidence that the scales of justice are way out of balance when it comes to the people on death row. As with so much else in this country, race matters in death penalty cases. Killing someone white is far more likely to land a person on death row than murdering blacks. While blacks were nearly 47% of this nation's homicide victims from 1976 (the year the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty) to 2002, 80% of the victims of the people on death row were white, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Read the full article at: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/columnist/wickham/2005-12-05-wickham_x. htm


>From the Scripps Howard News Service: New evidence emerges daily verifying what most of us have long suspected: Innocent persons have been put to death in this country for crimes they didn't commit. We probably will never know how many of the nearly 1,000 executed since 1976 when capital punishment was reinstated by the Supreme Court were not actually guilty of the crimes for which they were convicted. But just one would be excessive. Does this mean that the penalty should be abolished entirely? More and more Americans seem to think so, according to recent polls that show support for the supreme punishment has declined from three-fourths to two-thirds in the wake of increasing doubts about mistakes. That number drops to close to 50 percent when the alternative of life in prison without parole is suggested.

Read the full article at: http://www.shns.com/shns/g_index2.cfm?action=detail&pk=THOMASSON-12-05-05


The Campaign would very much appreciate any donations to help offset the costs of organizing to stop the execution of Stan Tookie Williams. The Campaign is sending Shujaa Graham, a former San Quentin death row prisoner, and Alice Kim, a national organizer with the CEDP, to California to help the on-the-ground efforts to stop the execution. We are asking for your help to cover these expenses--so please send what you can today. Checks can be sent directly to our P.O. box: CEDP, PO Box 25730, Chicago, IL 60625. If you would prefer to donate online, you can go to our Web site at http://www.nodeathpenalty.org and click on the donation button for instructions on how to do it. Thank you all!!

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- DECEMBER 6 - Austin, Texas Screening of "Redemption" At 7 pm at Ruby's BBQ (Back Patio), Guadalupe and 29th Street.

- DECEMBER 6 - Berkeley, Calif. Panel Discussion on Clemency for Tookie Featuring Alice Kim, national organizer for the Campaign to End the Death Penalty; Shujaa Graham, exonerated California death row inmate; and a message from Tookie himself. At 7pm at UC-Berkeley, in 101 Moffit.

- DECEMBER 6 - Chicago Chicago-Hyde Park CEDP Chapter Meeting To plan the December 10 speak out for Stanley Williams, and make it as big and exciting as possible. At 7 pm at University Church, 5655 S. University.

- DECEMBER 6 - New York City Town Hall Meeting to Save Stan Tookie Williams Featuring Ras Baraka (deputy mayor of Newark, N.J.), a representative of SOS (former gang members in Newark who negotiated a truce based on Tookie's Protocol for Peace), Anthony Papa (author and victim of the Rockefeller drug laws), and Yusef Salaam (wrongfully convicted in the Central Park jogger case and recently exonerated), the Welfare Poets (spoken word/hip hop artists), and many more. At 7 pm at the National Black Theater of Harlem, South Tower-Temple of Liberation, 2031 5th Ave. at 125th Street (take the 2,3 to 125th Street or 4,5,6 to 125th Street). $5 donation.

- DECEMBER 6 - San Rafael, Calif. Capital Punishment: Who Are We Executing? A film and discussion about death row and the death penalty. At 7 pm at the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, 1520 Grand Ave., corner of Grand and Acacia Streets.

- DECEMBER 6 - Toledo, Ohio Screening of "Redemption" At 6 pm at Brewed Awakenings.

- DECEMBER 7 - Burlington, Vt. Voices from Death Row Panel Discussion Featuring Darby Tillis, exonerated Death Row prisonerfrom Illinois; and Marlene Martin of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty; with a message from Stan Tookie Williams. At 7 pm at the University of Vermont, Lafayette Hall, Room 108. Call 802-363-4699 for more information or directions.

- DECEMBER 7 - Chicago Stop the Execution of Stan Tookie Williams Featuring pardoned Illinois death row prisoner Madison Hobley; exonerated Illinois death row prisoner Darby Tillis; Gloria Johnson, mother of Illinois prisoner Montell Johnson; Alice Kim of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty; and more. At 7 pm at Northeastern Illinois University, Student Union, (Room TBA), 5500 N. St. Louis. Call 773-955-4841 for information.

- DECEMBER 7 - Sacramento, Calif. Educators for Tookie Deliver their message A delegation of educators who signed a letter to Gov. Schwarzenegger calling for clemency for Stan will meet to deliver their message to the governor. At Noon on the steps of the State Capitol Building. E-mail akim007@speakeasy.net for information.

- DECEMBER 7 - San Diego Vigil, Press Conference, Rally and Demonstration At Noon at the Hall of Justice, 330 West Broadway. For information, call 619-804-1685 or e-mail tkalonji@Hotmail.com.

- DECEMBER 7 - San Diego Screening of Redemption Followed by a discussion of death penalty work and the campaign to save Tookie Williams. At 6:30 pm in City College Room B103, sponsored by Resistencia Estudiantil.

- DECEMBER 8 - Austin, Texas Emergency Press Conference At 5:30 pm at the Governor's Mansion (10th and Lavaca).

- DECEMBER 8 - Los Angeles Demonstration for Clemency Join the Youth Justice Coaltion and Save Tookie Committee. At Noon, outside Central Juvenile Hall and the Juvenile Court on Eastlake, 1605 Eastlake Ave. E-mail freelanow@yahoo.com for more info

- DECEMBER 8 - New York City Save Tookie Protest in Times Square At 5 pm at Times Square, by the military recruiting station. Sponsored by: Save Tookie Committee-NYC. E-mail nyc@nodeathpenalty.org or call 518-253-5029 for information.

- DECEMBER 8 - Rochester, N.Y. Stop the Execution of Stan Tookie Williams Rally At 5 pm, downtown at the Hall of Justice, 99 Exchange Blvd.

- DECEMBER 8 - Rochester, N.Y. Stop the Execution of Stan Tookie Williams At 7:30 pm at Rochester Institute of Technology, SAU Room Clarke A.

- DECEMBER 8 - Sacramento, Calif. People's Clemency Hearing for Tookie At 10 am, on the steps of the State Capitol building. Called for by the Bay Area Save Tookie Committee.

- DECEMBER 8 - Washington, D.C. Rally to Save Tookie Williams At 5:30 pm at the African American Civil War Memorial, 10th and U St. NW

- DECEMBER 9 - Los Angeles Screening of "After Innocence" A film about the dramatic and compelling story of the exonerated--innocent men wrongfully imprisoned for decades and then released after DNA evidence proved their innocence. At 7 pm at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 West Washington Blvd. Sponsored by the LA Coalition Against the Death Penalty. For information, call : Project:Involve at 310-432-1280.

- DECEMBER 10 - Berkeley, Calif. Screening of "Redemption" and Discussion At 6 pm at Long Haul, 3124 Shattuck (across the street from La Pena).

- DECEMBER 10 - Chicago Speak Out for Justice At 3 pm at University Church, 5655 S. University, in Hyde Park.

- DECEMBER 10 - New York City Save Stan Tookie Williams. Featuring Fred Hampton Jr., who visited Tookie along with other human rights activists; Pam Africa, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; Herman Ferguson, co-chair, National Jericho Movement; Lynne Stewart, to be sentenced in December by the U.S. government; Masai Ehehosi, Free Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (Rap Brown) Campaign; and others. At 4 pm at Salem Methodist Church on 129th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. A cultural program and dinner will be served. $10 donation at the door. For information, call the Free Mumia Hotline at 212-330-8029, or 914-941-6046

- DECEMBER 11 - New York City Discussion of "Blue Rage, Black Redemption" and Screening of "Redemption" At 5 pm at Bluestockings, 172 Allen Street, between Stanton and Rivington. Call 212-777-6028 for information.

- DECEMBER 11 - San Francisco Sister Helen Prejean Speaks One of the world's best-known opponents of the death penalty speaks out at an ACLU event. At 2 pm at the San Francisco Marriott Hotel, 55 Fourth Street at Mission. Tickets are $25 per person, $10 for students and low income, $250 table sponsor.

- DECEMBER 12 - San Francisco to San Quentin Walk for Abolition The Walk For Abolition begins at the Palace of Legion of Honor in San Francisco at 7 am and ends at the gates of San Quentin Prison around 6 pm. For information, contact Rev. Lyle Grosjean at 510-895-8203 or email l.grosjean@sbcglobal.net.

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Download a fact sheet about Stan's case: http://www.savetookie.org/tookie_fact_sheet_10.18.05.pdf

Read the story of Stan's life in his book, Blue Rage, Black Redemption, available for $22. To order, visit http://www.nodeathpenalty.org or call the CEDP national office at 773-955-4841.

Do a showing of the movie Redemption, the TV movie about Stan's life, starring Jamie Foxx. The movie is available at Blockbuster.

Get "Save Tookie" buttons from the Campaign to sell to supporters. Get 25 buttons for $20, and shipping is free. Call the CEDP national office at 955-4841 to order.

Check out the Save Tookie Web site: http://www.savetookie.org/

And the Campaign to End the Death Penalty Web site: http://www.nodeathpenalty.org/

Order copies of the New Abolitionist. This issue has stories by and about Stan, as well as other information about fighting the death penalty. You can get a bundle of 25 New Abs, shipped free of charge at a cost of $12.50. To order, call the CEDP office at 773-235-0778. Yearly subscriptions are also available.


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