Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Educators for Tookie Williams; Books Not Bars Actions Nov 30 & Dec. 5th


The clock is ticking for California death row prisonerStanley Tookie Williams who is scheduled to be executed on December 13. The Campaign to End the Death Penalty is calling on educators nationwide tosign on to a letter urging California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger togrant clemency to death row prisoner Stanley Tookie Williams.
To download a copy of the Educators for Tookie letter, visit No Death Penalty.org

The collective voice of educators can send a powerful message calling for clemency. Please sign on to this letter today, since Governor Schwarzeneggercan make his decision any day.
This effort is being led by Professors Philip Gasper and William Keach who have previously nominated Stan for the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Prizein Literature, respectively.
Please see their call to action below.
To sign the letter, send the following information to akim007@speakeasy.net:
Name, Title, Name of institution (for identification purposes only)
Home, address, City, state and zip and E-mail address
For further information about Stan's case, visit
http://nodeathpenalty.org or http://savetookie.org
To download a pdf of the call to action, visit No Death Penalty.org
To Our Fellow Educators:
We are reaching out to you to add your voice to the tens of thousandsof others urging California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant clemencyto death row prisoner Stanley Tookie Williams, due to be executed onDecember 13.
At just 17-years old, in 1971, Mr. Williams co-founded the Crips streetgang. In 1981, he was convicted of four murders and sentenced to death,though he has always maintained his innocence of these crimes. While inprison, Mr. Williams underwent a spiritual transformation. He renounced ganglife and issued a public apology for his role in promoting gang violence. Hedecided that he would dedicate the rest of his life to helping children makebetter decisions than those he made during his youth. His life story is portrayed in the television movie, "Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story" starring actor Jamie Foxx as Mr. Williams. From his cell on death row, Mr. Williams has accomplished the following:
* He has written nine children's books about the dangers of gang life thathave touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people all over theworld.
* He developed the Protocol for Street Peace, which has been used by rivalgangs around the country and the world to broker gang truces.
* He speaks to school children of all ages, teachers, juvenile offenders,gang members, school principals and many others about ending gang violenceand the importance of staying in school.

Mr. Williams is an educator in his own right and we believe that his work isinvaluable to the cause of helping kids stay out of gangs and promotingpeace in communities across the country.
That is why we have nominated Mr.Williams for the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. We not only value Mr. Williams work, we value his life. We are asking you to join us in calling for clemency for Stanley Tookie Williams.
Please sign onto the attached letter and become an Educator for Tookie.
Info: akim007@speakeasy.net or (773) 955-4841.
For further information about Mr. Williams' case, visit http://www.savetookie.org .
Thank you for caring about Mr. Williams' life and the lives of youngchildren who find themselves struggling to find their own way.
Sincerely, Philip GasperProfessor of PhilosophyChair, Department of Philosophy & ReligionNotre Dame de Namur UniversityBelmont, CA 94002
William KeachProfessor of EnglishBrown University70 Brown St.Providence RI 02912
Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:
As educators from around California, the United States and the world, we are writing to you to add our voices to the tens of thousands of others urging you to grant clemency to Stanley Tookie Williams, due to be executed by the State of California on December 13.
Mr. Williams, a former gang leader from Los Angeles, has been on San Quentin's death row for twenty-four years. During his years in prison, however, Mr. Williams has undergone a remarkable transformation. After several years in solitary confinement, he publicly renounced his gang connections and apologized for the pain and harm that his past actions had caused. Since that time, Mr. Williams has dedicated himself to combating the influence of street gangs and offering an alternative to at-risk youth. As a result of his extraordinary work, Mr. Williams has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times since 2001.
From the confines of his tiny nine-by-four-foot cell, Williams has written nine books for children, attempting to de-romanticize gangs, crime and prison. One of them, Life in Prison, has received two national book honors, including an award from the American Library Association. It has been used in schools, libraries, juvenile correctional facilities and prisons throughout the United States and, indeed, around the world. Mr. Williams has also recorded anti-gang public service announcements for radio that have aired on stations across the United States. More than 70,000 people have sent emails to Mr. Williams' web site, expressing appreciation for his work, with many saying they have opted not to join gangs or have withdrawn from gang membership as a result of reading his books or hearing his voice.
Last year, gang members in Newark, New Jersey who had learned about Mr. Williams by seeing Redemption-the TV movie about his life, starring Jamie Foxx-negotiated a truce based on the "Tookie Protocol for Peace: A Local Street Peace Initiative," posted on his web site. Before signing the peace treaty, the gangs had been responsible for 34 murders in the first four months of 2004 alone. After signing the treaty in May, gang-related killing in Newark stopped, and the truce has held ever since.The Observer newspaper in London reported in November 2004 that Mr. Williams' anti-gang initiatives have now been extended to Britain.

In London, where there is a significant street gang problem, the hip-hop music industry is featuring him in an anti-gang advertising campaign in magazines, and his recently published autobiography (Blue Rage, Black Redemption) is being sold in music stores alongside hip-hop CDs. Mr. Williams' work has been positively cited by several authors, including the psychologist Linda Goldman in Raising Our Children to be Resilient: A Guide to Helping Children Cope with Trauma in Today's World, the criminologist Lewis Yablonsky in his book Gangsters, and social activist and former- California State Senator Tom Hayden in Street Wars: Gangs and the Future of Violence. According to Yablonsky, emeritus Professor of Criminology at California State University, Northridge, "Williams is the only person I know of-gangster or criminologist-who has come up with any kind of articulate insight into black-on-black violence."
Mr. Williams has always maintained that he is innocent of the murders for which he was originally convicted. There was no physical evidence linking him to these crimes, and it is disputable whether he received a fair trial.What is clear, however, is that over the past few years Mr. Williams has probably saved hundreds of lives. If his death sentence is commuted and he is permitted to continue his work, he can save hundreds more. If he is executed, a unique and irreplaceable voice for peace will have been lost. Governors are given the power to grant clemency so that they may show mercy in truly exceptional cases. It is hard to think of a case that could be more exceptional than that of Mr. Williams. He has become an inspiring example to thousands of at-risk young people in California, in the rest of the United States, and in many other countries around the world.
We urge you to halt his execution.

Campaign to End the Death Penalty
773-955-4841 office ® 773 955 4842 fax

Books Not Bars - has been pressuring the Governor and State to end the racism and injustice in the juvenile prison system. Gear up for nov 30th actions!

Dear Friends,
We're getting down to the wire in November: will the Governor do the right thing? So far this month, over 500,000 people watched news coverage of our statewide vigils, and over 20,000 people watched our funny new online cartoon. And in the last week, over 2,500 people e-mailed the Governor urging him to close the youth prisons! And that's not all! Read below for important actions and updates, and how you can help in this crucial time.


1) Watch (and forward) our hilarious online cartoon!
Can the Governator's multiple movie personalities help him solve California's problems? Find out in "Action Heroes in Office." Arnold promised he'd fix California's infamous, abusive youth prisons by November 30. The deadline is fast approaching. What can he do?
click here to help

2) Sacramento Day of Action on November 30th!
On November 30th, the Governor and corrections officials will reveal their plan to fix the CYA. We're going up to Sacramento to tell the Governor that any plan that doesn't close Chad and the other abusive CYA prisons is bound to fail.
We'll be arriving with high hopes and fun props; you won't want to miss this event! For more information, contact David at 510-428-3939 x243 or
click here to help.

3) Come Out For An Important Public Hearing on December 5th!
On December 5th, the Senate Budget Subcommittee for Corrections will likely hold a hearing to find out why corrections officials have failed to bring an end to the abuse and waste of CYA. Come show these officials that youth, families, and community members are watching and won't wait any longer! For more information, contact David at 510-428-3939 x243 or david@ellabakercenter.org .

FUNNY FLASH FILM: Over 20,000 People Watch It!
Last week, we made history by releasing our first ever online "flash" cartoon about California's broken juvenile justice system. This hilarious parody has been forwarded all over the internet and over 20,000 people have watched it so far! Check out “Action Heroes in Office” today and help us spread the word!
Click here to help

STATEWIDE VIGILS: Over Half a Million People Hear Our Message!
Our statewide vigils on November 16th were a huge success! Over 500 people attended, and we received coverage on 11 newscasts with over 500,000 viewers. Read the highlights from each city!
About 250 people marched from juvenile court to the state building, where we gathered for the vigil. Dozens of onlookers were so inspired by the chanting and songs, they spontaneously joined us in our march. Families for Books Not Bars member Barbara Jackson led in an inspiring program, featuring Reverend Dr. Elouise Oliver, Nancy Nadel of the Oakland City Council, and civil rights attorney John Bass. Huge thanks to AYPAL, the Center for Young Women's Development, Candace Wicks, Siaira Harris, Malaika Parker and all those who helped make the vigil an enormous success!
The sanctuary at the Agape Spiritual Center was a powerful setting for a vigil filled with song, prayer, and hope. Brian Walton of the Guiding Light Prison Ministry made this event happen -- thank you! Special thanks also go to Reverend Dr. Michael Beckwith, Javier Stauring from the Los Angeles Office of Restorative Justice, Youth Justice Coalition, Labor Communities Strategies Center, and the Bus Riders Union.
Families for Books Not Bars member Laura Talkington organized an inspiring vigil in Fresno, where a young man recently released from Chad spoke about his experiences. Many thanks to the Reverend Floyd Harris from the California Chapter of the National Action Network, and all those who took part in this meaningful event!
In San Jose, youth, families, and community members gathered around five special candles, made in honor of the five youth who have lost their lives in CYA. Special recognition goes to Blanca Bosquez, Connie Flora, Violet Mejia and Civil Rights for Children for helping to plan the event -- thank you!
Many thanks are in order for Blanca Gabriele, youth advocate with Sobriety Brings A Change for coordinating a powerful vigil at the Sol Art and Culture Collective! We also want to appreciate Estella Sanchez, Samuel Iniquez and the folks from Escuelas Si, Pintas No! for making the vigil a great success.
For more info www.booksnotbars.org

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