the Death Machine
the tender age of 17 a youth named Gary Graham was faced with
a terrifying reality. The state of Texas and Harris County district
attorney picked him as another expendable Black life form: a
Black youth to feed to the death machine. In a case of murder,
where neither fingerprints nor ballistics nor any credible evidence
points to any notion of guilt, Gary Graham faces a legal murder.
half his life spent in a hellish and harsh Texas death cell,
Gary Graham has grown into the man now known as Shaka Sankofa,
a young man who is deeply conscious of his individual and collective
self and of his place in history.
there is a crime for which Bloody Texas seeks his death it is
this: It is a crime in a racist nation for a Black youth to
be conscious and thinking in political and collective terms.
For Shaka Sankofa innocence is not enough. The state and federal
judiciary have, it is true, provided oceans of process, but
not an iota of justice. His life, and the lives of thousands
of young men and women like him, were expendable at birth, not
just at trial. Why should it be otherwise before the lily white
and wealthy appeals courts?
Sankofa case presents a challenge to all of us, not just those
of us who steadfastly oppose the death penalty, but for those
who say we believe in fundamental fairness and basic human rights.
Under the terms of international human rights pacts (to which
the United States is a party) the execution of a person who
is a juvenile when the alleged crime occurred is a violation
of international law. But the American Empire sneers at international
is necessary to mobilize unsparing protests and stiff resistance
to the death machine to bring
about what should be our obvious goal: the life and freedom
of Shaka Sankofa.