Dear Friends and Supporters:
Thank you all for extending your concern for my well being and supporting our continuing social media blast to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in demanding he grants my application to commute this sentence to time served.
While we are happy for Judith Clark, we must realize there is something inherently disturbing. When we compare our records of accomplishments in prison and the extent of community support, Gov. Cuomo’s decision presents questions about racial injustices in the decision-making processes in New York State.
The New York Times December 4 and 5, 2016 exposé of NYS DOCCS and Board of Parole’s overt racist practices left little to the imagination about what can be aptly described as apartheid. Gov. Cuomo proclaimed on December 6, 2016 that he would order a top-down investigation into discriminatory and biased practices in both the prison and parole system. However, his recent clemency decision indicates he is unable to lead by example.
Again, I am elated Judith Clark was granted clemency. I knew Judy long before she became a prisoner. In fact, the last time I saw here was on a visit in Attica in the late 1970’s. Yet, understandably, the issue is one of Black political prisoners suffering the government’s relentless vindictive posture of retaliation for our failure to succumb to white supremacy. Sundiata Acoli, Veronza Bowers, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Herman Bell, Seth Hayes, to name a few, languish in prison because of the racial policy of the government. Therefore, my observation of Gov. Cuomo’s clemency decision is based on historical and pragmatic analysis that must be pointed out as we proceed in the fight for freedom.
In this regard, I’ve asked we increase the social media blast directed to Gov. Cuomo’s office to two days a month for the next six months. Each second and fourth Wednesday of the month, we should call, text, email, tweet and use whatever social media method to ensure he gets the message of our dissatisfaction with his failure to grant my application to commute this sentence to time served.
Beyond that, I would like to open a second front to achieve our goals. Specifically, I am asking all New York City and State activists to identify a member of the Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus, and inquire why they have not challenged Gov. Cuomo on his lackluster approach in tackling the pervasive racially discriminatory practices in the New York State prison and parole system. These elected official should not get a pass, and our activist community needs to establish a direct-action determination in making these representatives know that in 2017 they will be made to step up in response to our struggle for substantial institutional changes in the overall criminal (in)justice system in New York State. They each should be told to demand Gov. Cuomo grant my application in “good faith” if he is serious about ending racial and biased practices in the prison and parole system — To lead by example!
It is incumbent on the activist community to step up the work … the New York Times exposure has provided the irrefutable foundation to make these demands on these elected officials. We only need to have the unrelenting audacity to demand the kind of government practices we believe should govern.
Thank you for your support. I will continue to teach and speak truth to power from behind the walls, but my freedom, like the rest of Black political prisoners, depends on the “Power of the People” to rise up and fight for freedom.
In the Spirit of Nelson Mandela
in Apartheid NYS Prison System
Amandla! Amandla! Amandla!
Jalil A. Muntaqim
Southport, January 11, 2017
Remember: We Are Our Own Liberators!