Thursday, July 1, 2010

Guest Blogger: Aren't Black Women Worth Fighting For? [By MsLadyDeborah]

[Editor's Note: This month we plan to highlight issues concerning minorities and the criminal justice system. It's only right that MsLadyDeborah of FROM MY BROWN EYED VIEW gets it started off right.]

Let's start out this post with a "what if," situation.

What if there were two Black males from the same family were being held by the Mississippi Department of Corrections, serving a double life sentence for allegedly committing a robbery of $11.00, what would the national response be to the extreme sentence for this alleged crime?

Once the information hit the MSM, it is not hard to imagine the outcry from Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. We would see the familiar go to Black folks on the air giving their opinions about this miscarriage of justice. There might even be a march planned down in Mississippi to protest this extremely harsh sentence. The inter net would be filled with opinions that ranged from support to let them die there in the comment section. The heat would be turned on full-blast towards the MCOD to reduce the sentence and free the brothers because they have already served 16 years behind bars.

In reality there is such a situation in existence. The only difference in that what if moment, is the fact that two Black women are actually living through such a situation. Their names are Jamie and Gladys Scott. For the past 16 years they have been incarcerated by the MDOC for the crime of stealing $11.00. They were handed a sentence of double life for this alleged theft.

Where is the outrage? Where is the national out cry for The Scott Sisters? Why haven't we seen the go to Black leadership up in arms over this situation? Why isn't this case filling the airwaves instead of just receiving the support of individuals and grassroots organizations? It is not difficult for me to pinpoint one obvious reason why there is minimal support for their release . If these two women were Rashawn and Pookie, it would be on to have their sentences over turned. This whole situation would be a part of the national conversation. Whatever resources were needed to put up a fight would appear.

But these are just two Black women. Who don't seem to warrant support for a wrongful conviction. Which leads me to question why not? Aren't we worth saving?

Isn't double life an extremely harsh sentence for a crime in which no one was injured? At best this is really a petty theft. What difference does it make if they spend their entire lives locked up? Why should we care if their 5 children are growing up without their mothers. Never mind that Jamie has health problems and requires daily medical attention. Or the fact that their mother, Evelyn Rasco has been disrespected too many times by representatives of MDOC. It seems that their gender may be one of the greatest hindrances to receiving all over the nation support.

The national agenda is about saving Black males. At least this is the impression that the Black male leadership leaves every time they are on the air in a full rant over injustice issues. Even in my home state that is the war cry being forwarded by politicians. We have to save our males from all of the ills in our society. I don't totally disagree with the agenda. But it would play better if the effort included all of us. From our babies to our elders would make far more sense.

Before you counter my statements with accusations of me being a feminist or anti-Black males, let me hip you to reality. I have three adult sons and four brothers. Which has not made me a stranger to the difficulties that males of color encounter in this society. I am pro-doing the right thing. Especially when it is obvious that each day these two women spend in jail is wrong. We all know someone who has been caught up in the legal system.Do you know anyone who has received this type of sentence for a non-violent petty theft? Maybe I'm out of the pocket in my thoughts, but isn't a double life sentence handed down for mass murders or folks like the Uni-bomber? It cost the state of Mississippi more to conduct the trial than the alleged robbery netted.

I learned about Gladys and Jamie from one of their biggest champions, Nancy Lockhart. She made me aware of their plight and after taking the time to check out the details of their case, I knew that they needed support. Nancy has been working hard to get the story out and to gain these sistas freedom.

I am not going to write about all the details of their case in this post. I'll provide the links that give all the 411 about their case. Because there is the evidence that the real criminals in this situation are not these two sistas, but the usual suspects of racism, sexism and Mississippi-isms. The conduct of the legal system in their case is the reason why the late Nina Simone sang "Mississippi, Goddamn" with such zeal. Because what occurred is the stuff that living nightmares are made of.

If you want to know what happened to the Scott Sisters and how you can help. Here are some sites that will provide you with information and opportunities to support them:

Free The Scott Sisters

Grassroots Organizing In Support of Wrongful Convictions

The Gray Haired Witnesses For Justice.


wibiya widget


Related Posts with Thumbnails