You are on page 1of 2

Press Release

B.J. Janice Peak-Graham / Marpessa Kupendua
1- 866-968-1188, Ext. 2

Gray-Haired Witnesses to Hold Fast

Issues Challenge to America’s Conscience

WASHINGTON, May 20 /Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice News -- The Gray-

Haired Witnesses for Justice will undertake a fast and appear at the
Department of Justice and the White House in Washington, DC on June 21,
2010, calling upon the nation to exercise an authentic system of justice in the
case of Gladys and Jamie Scott and all other women who have been
incarcerated wrongly and egregiously over-sentenced, punishing and
destroying our families and children. Among their demands is freedom for the
Scott Sisters and that an Inspection and Observation Team enter the Pearl,
MS prison where Jamie Scott is being held.

This event was prompted by the serious illness of Jamie Scott and abysmal
lack of competent medical care she has received in prison since both of her
kidneys shut down this past January. Jamie has suffered so much
maltreatment that she has quickly declined to stage 5 (end stage) kidney
disease and has now effectively been sentenced to death. The Gray-Haired
Witnesses are calling on all people of good will to fast in solidarity with them
and to contact the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility and Dept. of Justice
across the nation on that day.

The group issued the following statement about the fast in protest of
continuing inhumane treatment and injustice in Americas courts and prisons:

"Over the last 20 years, the women’s population in US prisons has more than
tripled. Most women are in prison as a result of drug selling, addiction,
domestic violence and criminal acts mostly related to men. We also recognize
the systemic racism that leads the police to even arrest the Black woman in
the first place, the racism during sentencing, during incarceration, in dealing
with social services, education, health discrimination, and beyond. We want
to raise the political consciousness of the nation while standing as the moral
soul of the nation. Many of us lived through segregation and worked to
dismantle it through various movements for human dignity, equal rights and
justice. We now see a coalition of corporate, cultural and political wars fully
embracing a White supremacist culture of domination and terrorism. As part
of this campaign they

slander and dehumanize the entire Black community in the media and other
public spaces.

This is perfectly illustrated by the case of the Mississippi Scott Sisters, Jamie
and Gladys, whose almost 16 yrs of unjust incarceration is a shocking
revelation of the pure nothingness with which our lives are deemed in the
eyes of this society and world. In 1994, the State of Mississippi sentenced
Jamie and Gladys Scott to consecutive double-life terms each for two counts
of armed robbery they did not commit. They did not have prior criminal
records, vigorously maintained their innocence, approximately $11 was said
to have been netted, no one was harmed or injured and no weapon was ever
recovered. Witnesses testified that they were coerced and threatened to lie
on the Scott Sisters and their unbelievable convictions rest entirely on a
combination of contradictory, coerced, and potentially perjured testimony by
the victims and two other people charged with the crime who were offered
lighter sentences for their cooperation. Even if the Scott Sisters were guilty of
this crime, the sentence is absolutely unheard of and draconian, at best, and
is cruel and unusual punishment without a doubt! "

We come from a long line of women who refused to bend under the lash of
chattel slavery from the time we were first dragged upon these shores until
the 21st century slavery of today's prison industrial complex! We are the
elder women, the daughters of the American slave system, Jim Crow
oppression and the American Freedom Movement. We who are three strikes
removed from the center of the power structure of this country. Our lives
have prepared us to come to this place, at this time.”

The day-long event commences at the Department of Justice in a 10:00 a.m

formal appeal to Eric Holder, rejoins at the White House at Noon in a formal
appeal to President Obama, and then continues at Lafayette Square Park
from Noon until 9PM for the duration of the fast with speakers, live
performances and artists. All attendees are asked to bring non-perishable
food items in honor of the fasting elders to be distributed to the Washington,
DC community at the conclusion of the day.