For All Points-Of-The-View.
Gladys and Jamie Scott are returning home for the first time in 16 years.
This evening, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour suspended their sentences -- handed down in the extreme and biased ruling of Judge Marcus Gordon that condemned each of the women to double life sentences for an $11 robbery.
The moment I landed in Jackson, Mississippi, Governor Barbour called to tell me about the suspension. And as I prepare to meet with him tomorrow, along with Derrick Johnson, President of the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP,
I want to be clear about one thing: This vindication is because of you, Enoch.
The Scott sisters have read your notes and letters of support.Thanks,
Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO
Although the Scott sisters are expected to be released from prison, it is a gross error to claim that they are "free," they will be on perpetual parole, that is neither free or just. As I recall, the real issue in the Scott sisters case was their innocence and the fact that it never made a difference, which was then capped off by an outrageous sentence even if they had been guilty.
I am really troubled by this tendency of a lot of black folk of rushing to wrap their arms around crumbs thrown at us by this system of continuing racial injustice. To say that the Scott sisters are free is to have once again allowed our goals for justice and equality to be moved back just a little kindness and consideration massa. It is like black folk equating "emancipation" with liberation, with the former being some act on the part of our captor that allows us to roam freely about the plantation, while the latter is something we bring about for ourselves.
Of course I am happy to hear that the sisters will be released from prison, but they still are not "free," and if we leave it at that, they will forever live their lives with the paper chain of parole around their neck...Massa Barbour said "indefinite." Lets not be so quick to crow like chickens, removing us even further from the fact that we are eagles, captured and held like chickens. The Scott sister's case was not an anomaly, but one of thousands in Mississippi and I know, because I was illegally held prisoner there for over a decade. Look into the cases of Otis Lee Fairley, Demitrius Bennet, Freddy Sparks, and the list goes on. Many of them have been wrongfully held since the 1980s, a few have died in prison.
By declaring "victory" because massa allowed us to move a few feet is the very type of thing that keeps us bowed and incapable of breaking the bonds that hold us. The Scott sisters are innocent and whether they continue to seek to vindicate their names or not, we cannot allow the system to escape the close scrutiny and condemnation it deserves on behalf all the thousands of others who have not been as fortubate as the Scott sisters to have gained outside attention and support.
Let us not sell ourselves short, and lets not allow the sell out of others to amount to our letting ourselves to be sold. Haley Barbour just recently had his foot extracted from his mouth for praising the White Citizens Council, claiming that it kept the Klan and other racist at bay in Yazoo City, as if they were not the racist and Klan, and black people are too stupid to know that there was no difference. He is being groomed as a possible Republican candidate to run against Barack Obama, who is a black skinned (house knee-grow), so he begrudgingly throws us a crumb. Keep in mind that he said the Scott sisters are "no longer a danger to society," as if they ever were and really, it just cost too damn much to keep them on the plantation, so put them out to pasture. But what about their lives, there will be no compensation for the wrongful taking of 16-years of their life...oh. that is because massa refuses to admit the wrong and it sounds like black folk are going to let him off the hook while we savor and celebrate the crumb he has tossed to us.
Emancipation is not liberation, integration is not our salvation, reparations do not precede liberation, and reconciliation is impossible as long as we remain in subjugation. Free the Scott sister and all of the other thousands of black people still caught up under racist Mississippi justice.