A speaking tour to look at what’s behind our massive prison build-up, why so many people of color are locked up and what we can do about it.
This national speaking tour will be featuring panelists including, exonerated prisoners, family members, activists, lawyers and scholars.
Mark Clements - former police torture victim, sentenced to life without parole as a juvenile
Martina Correia – sister of Georgia death row prisoner Troy Davis
Jordan Flaherty - journalist and community organizer; author, Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six
Lawrence Hayes - former Black Panther and New York death row prisoner
Victoria Law - author, Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women
Anthony Papa - Rockefeller drug law survivor; author, 15 to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom
Marvin Reeves - exonerated police torture victim, released in 2009 after serving 21 years
Yusef Salaam – exonerated in the Central Park jogger case
Paul Wright – editor, Prison Legal News
From death rows to super-maxes, over 2.3 million mean and women sit behind bars today. "Lethal Injustice" speakers are organizing on the front-lines of the fight against criminal injustice, taking a stand against the racist, prison build-up and harsh sentencing. Book a Tour stop today! Bring Tour speakers to your campus or community. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Mark Clements was 16-years-old when he was tortured into confessing to crimes he did not commit by police officers under the command of Jon Burge. He spent 27 years in prison for arson and murder--and was released last August after the circumstances surrounding his "confession" came to light. Mark is a writer and organizer, a member of National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression-Chicago, the Jail Jon Burge Committee, and the Administrator for the Campaign to End the Death Penalty.
Martina Correia is an anti-death penalty activist and the sister of Georgia death row prisoner Troy Davis, who has three times won a stay of execution within days and hours of an execution date. Troy has been on death row since 1991—he was convicted of murder, despite the fact that there was no physical evidence against him, and prosecution witnesses said they were coerced by police. Martina has been an outspoken fighter for her brother and against capital punishment.
Jordan Flaherty is a journalist and community organizer based in New Orleans. He was the first journalist with a national audience to write about the Jena Six case, and played an important role in bringing the story to worldwide attention. His post-Katrina writing in ColorLines Magazine shared a journalism award from New America Media for best Katrina-related coverage in the Ethnic press, and audiences around the world have seen the news segments he’s produced for Al-Jazeera, TeleSur, GritTV, and Democracy Now. His new book, Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six will be released this summer from Haymarket Press. For more information on the book, see floodlines.org.
Jordan has appeared as a guest on a wide range of television and radio shows, including CNN Morning, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Headline News, Grit TV, and both local and nationally-syndicated shows on National Public Radio. He has been a regular correspondent or frequent guest on Democracy Now, Radio Nation on Air America, News and Notes, and many other outlets. As a white southerner who speaks honestly about race, Jordan Flaherty has been regularly published in Black progressive forums such as BlackCommentator.org and Black Agenda Report, and is a regular guest on Black radio stations and programs such as Keep Hope Alive With Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Jordan is an editor of Left Turn Magazine, a national publication dedicated to covering social movements. He has written about politics and culture for the Village Voice, New York Press, Labor Notes, Radical Society, and in several anthologies, including the South End Press books Live From Palestine and What Lies Beneath: Katrina, Race and the State of the Nation, the University of Georgia Press book What is a City, and the AK Press book Red State Rebels.
Lawrence was born and raised in Harlem and in 1968 became a member of the Black Panther Party. In August of 1971, he was arrested for “acting in concert" at a murder scene of a policeman. Lawrence was sentenced to death, and was one of the five New York State death row inmates awaiting execution at the time of the Supreme Court’s 1972 Furman vs. Georgia decision abolished the death penalty. His sentence was commuted to life with parole. Hayes was paroled in 1991 and since then has become a spokesman against the death penalty. He has spoken at several colleges and universities and is a member of the international abolition organization, Hands Off Cain. Lawrence is the Co-Founder and a Board Member of the Campaign To End The Death Penalty. Lawrence has dedicated his life to ending the death penalty and feels that, "Life should be held above death; there is no excuse or reason to kill anyone, anywhere."
Victoria Law is a writer, photographer and mother. After a brief stint as a teenage armed robber, she became involved in prisoner support. In 1996, she helped start Books Through Bars-New York City, a group that sends free books to prisoners nationwide. In 2000, she began concentrating on the needs and actions of women in prison, drawing attention to their issues by writing articles and giving public presentations. Since 2002, she has worked with women incarcerated nationwide to produce Tenacious: Art and Writings from Women in Prison and has facilitated having incarcerated women’s writings published in larger publications, such as Clamor magazine, the website “Women and Prison: A Site for Resistance” and make/shift magazine. Her book Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (PM Press 2009) is the culmination of over 7 years of listening to, writing about and supporting incarcerated women nationwide and resulted in this former delinquent winning the 2009 PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award.
In 1995, she became involved with ABC No Rio, a collectively-run arts center on New York’s Lower East Side, a move that resulted in changing her lifestyle from delinquency to social justice with an arts focus. In 1997, she organized a group of activist photographers to transform one of No Rio’s upstairs tenement apartments into a black-and-white photo darkroom for community use. She has also participated in and curated numerous exhibitions at No Rio’s gallery, many with themes addressing social and political issues such as incarceration, grassroots efforts to rebuild New Orleans, Zapatista organizing, police brutality and squatting.
In 2003, she collaborated with China Martens to create Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind, a workshop addressing the specific (and often unacknowledged) needs of parents and children in radical movements; and has co-facilitated discussions in Baltimore, New York City, Providence, Montreal, Minneapolis, Detroit and Boston. They are editing a handbook for allies of radical parents by the same name.
Marvin Reeves is free today after 21 years spent in Illinois prisons for a crime he had nothing to do with. Reeves was a co-defendant of Ronnie Kitchen and was tortured by Chicago police under the command of Jon Burge. Prosecutors relied on a coerced “confession” from Kitchen and faked testimony from a jailhouse snitch to convict the two men—Ronnie was sentenced to death and Marvin to life without parole. In July 2009, prosecutors were forced to admit the truth, and Marvin and Ronnie were freed.
Anthony Papa is an artist, writer, noted advocate against the war on drugs and co-founder of the Mothers of the New York Disappeared. Anthony’s stinging opinion pieces about the drug war have appeared in news sources across the country. He is a frequent public speaker and college lecturer on his art and criminal justice issues. Currently he is a communications specialist for Drug Policy Alliance in NYC.
Anthony is the author of 15 to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom (2004), a memoir about his experience of being sentenced to state prison for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense under New York’s draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws. The book is optioned and set to become a feature film. He has been interviewed by a wide range of national print and broadcast media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, National Public Radio, “Democracy Now,” Court TV, “Extra,” C-Span, RNN among others. His art has been exhibited widely from the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York to many cultural centers and he has appeared on nationally-syndicated talk shows such as “Charles Grodin,” “Geraldo Rivera,” and “Catherine Crier Live.”
Yusef Salaam was born and raised in the city of New York. He had a promising future as a budding graphic artist when on April 20th 1989, at just 15 years of age; he was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. He along with four others, collectively now known as the ‘Central Park 5’, became victims themselves of the criminal justice system. The case became known as New York City’s historic “Central Park Jogger Case.” In 2002, after spending almost 13 years of his life unsuccessful in his fight to be vindicated, Matias Reyes confessed to the crime. The convictions of the boys, now men, were thrown out.
Today, Yusef speaks out against injustices, the importance of continuing education; the effects of the disenfranchisement of poor persons and its overwhelming effects on their families and the community at large. He advocates for policy change in the child welfare system and the prison industrial complex, the need for videotaping of all police interactions with so called suspects, and is a staunch opponent of capital punishment.
Yusef Salaam is an accomplished poet and sits on the national board of The Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the advisory board of The Learn My History Foundation: dedicated to youth empowerment, education and change; and is the inspiration behind the award winning People United for Children. Among the places he has spoken are Pace University, The New School, Cardozo School of Law, City College, New York University, Lehman College, Columbia University, The University of Chicago, and the National Action Network.
Paul Wright is the editor and co-founder of Prison Legal News, the longest publishing independent prisoner rights magazine in US history. He is the co-author of The Celling of America: An Inside Look at the US Prison Industry (Common Courage, 1998); Prison Nation: The Warehousing of America’s Poor (Routledge, 2003) and the forthcoming Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money from Mass Imprisonment (New Press, January, 2008). His articles have appeared in over 80 publications, ranging from Counterpunch to USA Today. He is also the former National Lawyers Guild Jailhouse Lawyer national co-vice president (1995-2008).
A former prisoner, Paul was imprisoned for 17 years in Washington State until his release from prison in 2003. During and since his incarceration, he has successfully litigated a wide variety of censorship and public records issues against prison systems around the country both pro se, as a plaintiff, on behalf of other prisoners and on behalf of Prison Legal News. Paul is a former Military Policeman and a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in Soviet history. Paul founded PLN in 1990 while imprisoned. He is a 2005 Petra Fellow; the July, 2006, Freedom Fighter of the Month for High Times magazine, a 2007 recipient of the James Madison Award from the Washington Coalition for Open Government and the 2008 inaugural recipient of the National Lawyers Guild’s Arthur Kinoy award.