Uncomfortable Truth

July 20, 2015

When the subject of systemic racism is mentioned, some of my well intentioned Caucasian friends would rather we not have that conversation. Analysis of this established societal pattern apparently gives way to pause, creating feelings of discomfort. Unfortunately, when the truth brings feelings of discomfort, I say “be uncomfortable.” Systemic racism saturates our lives daily.

The Black community continues to repair itself from the cultural, psychological and economic effects of slavery and Jim Crow. Today we have overseer brutality, and mass incarceration, embodied in systemic racism. Change your ways when bitter truth makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t ask truth to tell you a sweeter story. Every system within our society has been infected with racism. With this racism, have come crimes against humanity. These crimes must never be forgotten. The wounds are still open to infection. They have not been allowed to fully heal. When the day arrives and BLACKLIVESMATTER, all lives will truly matter. Selective amnesia is not the cure.

This country was founded, with overseers exterminating innocent Black and Brown lives; all with impunity. They were far too quiet and comfortable, when unarmed Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr. and Emmett Till were assassinated by systemic racism. Quieter still, the powers that be, sat motionless, when systemic racism recently stole the lives of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Walter Scott and Andy Lopez. Some have the audacity to suggest that assassinations, such as those of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Andy Lopez are largely exaggerated. In the United States of America, a human life is exterminated by overseers, every 8 hours, yet silence is the action that is taken.

First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Counciler or the Klu Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order”,  than to justice; who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

                – – Martin Luther King, Jr.

                Letter from Birmingham Jail

                April 16, 1963

Black and Brown citizens are disproportionately fed into the ‘Prison Industrial Complex, as the populace remains mute. To close our eyes to systemic racism, as some do, would be lacking in empathy and in wisdom. Discourse leads to solutions. Silence leads to perpetuation. This malignant cancer, complicit with an abrupt silence, is decimating humanity! There cannot be a cure, without acknowledgment of the truth. In order to correct this White Supremacist mindset, which has attained a position of comfort, we must analyze this historic problem. At what point does global systemic genocide take precedence over the oppressors’ need for comfort?

Those who fail to resist the clouded glare of White privilege have erroneously identified with our oppressors. Some have even become apologist for police terrorism. Their uncomfortable feeling is referred to as cognitive dissonance. This means that they are conscious of the atrocities of systemic racism, but choose to ignore them. Regrettably, they imagine themselves to be color-blind. They do not understand, nor do they suffer from the systemic racism that destroys lives daily. On the contrary, they unknowingly benefit from it, in large proportion. Aware of this oppression, they ask that we stop speaking ill of our oppressors. They are not necessarily the enemy. We consider many to be friends. Therefore, it is imperative that we enlighten, instruct, and hopefully reach their hearts and minds. Directing their paths into the higher self of human evolution is imperative, if we are to see honest unity.

As we ‘Know Thyself’, we must understand our common enemy. White Supremacy is much more than a single person. It is a system that has been ingrained into every single aspect of society. It is the evil psyche and the destructive root from which ‘Manifest Destiny,’ colonialism, and systemic racism has evolved. Misguided Black and Brown people have refused to stand up to this permeating force that dominates society. Traveling the cowardly course of least resistance, they are susceptible to self-hate and to the divide and conquer tactics, employed by our oppressors. This combination of variables has the potential to lead to a fratricide, capable of weakening any chance of forward momentum. We must acknowledge these challenges, as we move forward.

Systemic racism is a global issue that must be conquered. As oppressed people of the earth, we must connect the dots, in order to bind and strengthen our forward journey. We make up the majority of the population, worldwide. In this 21st century, there is a desperate need for major, revolutionary change. The battle is ongoing, and may take many generations to fulfill, but we must begin with steps; steps that will lead to humanity.

Revolution: a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favor of a new system.  Revolution: a great, far-reaching change. While the chosen method remains undetermined, a definite choice must be made. Without action, there can be no change. We are positioned, standing in the ‘belly of the beast’, and speaking truth to imperialism. These words are written with love for the people, and love for the struggle. Our oppressors’ will have no peace, until our people are free. In 2015, we must think global, while taking revolutionary steps. One Love.

/ / / / / / /

Donald Ray Young is an innocent man, wrongfully convicted and sentenced to San Quentin’s death row, in 2006. Mr. Young is a certified paralegal, with an Associates of Arts degree in Sociology. He is pursuing additional education, including a law degree, which will assist him in seeking exoneration. His memoir will be published this year.

———————————————

DONALD RAY YOUNG

E – 78474 (5 – EB – 106)

CSP San Quentin

San Quentin, CA  94974

Originally posted on donaldrayyoung:

By Donald Ray Young

Allow me to introduce you to the Tulare County District Attorney’s star witness against me–at trial– the male who played a central role in my housing arrangement on California’s death row at San Quentin State Prison.  A 320-pound, 6’1″ Caucasian male, with thin, balding, dirty-blond hair and blue eyes,  Anthony Lee Wolfe is just one of his names. False testimony in a capital case comes easily to this well-known pedophile and psychopath.

Let’s consider the character and behavior of the source: Lewd and lascivious acts on a child, or felony child molestation pursuant to California Penal Code section 388(a), would be an appropriate place to start. The trial judge, Ronn M. Couillard, stated that it would be  prejudicial for the jury to know that the prosecution’s star witness, Anthony Lee Wolfe, repeatedly raped and molested Brandy Wright, his seven-year old sister. I knew that it would…

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FREEDOM

May 15, 2015

Originally posted on donaldrayyoung:

Soaring through the light blue and white sky. I don’t know what bird of prey this is, maybe a hawk? She looks like an oversized crow with the majestic flight of the eagle. This rapture is strong and confident as she flies over San Quentin State Prison. If I could fly I’d pass right over the prison too– without a pause. This bird has captured the wind and made a vehicle of it. Where is this bird going? Where did she come from? How far has she traveled today? The wing span must be more than four feet. This view would make a wonderful picture or reference photo for a painting. I would love to paint this bird in its glorious glide. This is freedom. This bird knows true freedom, something that has eluded me for the past 17 years and then four years before that. If I could change…

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Originally posted on donaldrayyoung:

Maybe the Natives and African Americans should have drafted a similar “Declaration of Independence” to protect themselves from the Colonists? The original thirteen colonies oppressed Natives and subjugated Africans while writing, “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separation” from King George III. Let us not forget the Natives, Africans and other people of color were not considered fully human by the creators of “The Declaration of Independence.”

Women along with people of color were not included in, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Living up to this statement has proven to be an arduous task; 238 years later, however, we still are not there yet. All white men are created equal is what Jefferson was clarifying. African Americans were three-fifths human in Jefferson’s perspective. Eloquent words from a slave owner…

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Maybe the Natives and African Americans should have drafted a similar “Declaration of Independence” to protect themselves from the Colonists? The original thirteen colonies oppressed Natives and subjugated Africans while writing, “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separation” from King George III. Let us not forget the Natives, Africans and other people of color were not considered fully human by the creators of “The Declaration of Independence.”

Women along with people of color were not included in, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Living up to this statement has proven to be an arduous task; 238 years later, however, we still are not there yet. All white men are created equal is what Jefferson was clarifying. African Americans were three-fifths human in Jefferson’s perspective. Eloquent words from a slave owner who impregnated much of his female slave property.

Civil wars are erupting around the globe as I dissect “The Declaration of Independence.” America will not have a civil war because the government fully controls the people. So much for, “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object” and “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such a government.” Colonists truly believed they suffered absolute tyranny. After proffering “The Declaration of Independence,” Jefferson went home to rape his African property.

This magnificent document should have applied to all peoples. Yes, I criticize the framers of this manuscript for their Eurocentrism and ultra-xenophobia. One day “The Declaration of Independence” will stand up to the “Supreme Judge of the world.” The journey is long… step by step, day by day– we will get there.

I look forward to your contact and communications.

Facebook: Donald Ray Young

Twitter @DonaldRayYoung

Mail:

Donald Ray Young

P.O. Box E-78474

CSP San Quentin

San Quentin, CA 94974

FREEDOM

April 8, 2014

Soaring through the light blue and white sky. I don’t know what bird of prey this is, maybe a hawk? She looks like an oversized crow with the majestic flight of the eagle. This rapture is strong and confident as she flies over San Quentin State Prison. If I could fly I’d pass right over the prison too– without a pause. This bird has captured the wind and made a vehicle of it. Where is this bird going? Where did she come from? How far has she traveled today? The wing span must be more than four feet. This view would make a wonderful picture or reference photo for a painting. I would love to paint this bird in its glorious glide. This is freedom. This bird knows true freedom, something that has eluded me for the past 17 years and then four years before that. If I could change places with this bird. She’s gone and now all that’s left is the memory of this creature. A few feathers were missing from her right wing which only gave her more character. She seemed so close to me but it’s difficult to measure the exact distance as she slid by me patrolling the sky.  Most of society will never get this bird’s view of San Quentin State Prison. I think about this bird more so because I am caged. Do the free one’s think about the caged ones more so because they are free? I don’t think so. When I flew as the bird I rarely thought of the caged. But the memory of this bird gives me hope as I re-play her soaring over me. Maybe one day I will be free as well, or is this my only glimpse of freedom…

I look forward to your contact and communication.

 

Facebook: Donald Ray Young

Twitter: @DonaldRayYoung

Mail:

Donald Ray Young

P.O. Box E-78474

CSP San Quentin

San Quentin, CA 94974

Donald picture 4

 

The Savings, Accountability, and Full Enforcement for California Act

This is our time to abolish capital punishment in California via the ballot box.  If we allow this killing machine to resuscitate, we can expect executions of the more than 725 death row prisoners at a rate that will send shock waves throughout Texas.  Which side are we on?  We cannot stand in the middle of the road this time.  Abolish capital punishment in California, or support government-sponsored, premeditated murder of death row prisoners.  We have more than 14 people with fully-exhausted appeals.  The sole protection that stands between them and a pine box… is our vote!

We said, “I AM TROY DAVIS.”  Many of us said that we were Stanley Tookie Williams.  Cameron Todd Willingham was another innocent person on death row – the Texas criminal justice system executed him in our name.  If we had abolished capital punishment nationwide, all three of these men would still be alive, able to prove their innocence to the world.  No one enjoys a prison sentence of life without the possibility of parole (LWOP), but it definitely keeps Mumia Abu-Jamal speaking truth to power.

Before being abstracted debating how cruel LWOP is, let us complete the urgent business of abolishing capital punishment with our votes.  Death penalty proponents have revived their rhetorical corporate media-fueled propaganda campaign.  Californians, putative abolitionists and death penalty opponents: keeping death row intact when given the option to abolish capital punishment is nothing more than subterfuge ~ covertly supporting what we claim to loathe.  Take out the fear and face the facts: most lengthy prison sentences end with the prisoner dying in prison.  As it stands, prisoners convicted of murder (innocent or guilty) face capital punishment or LWOP.  The SAFE California Act will convert all 725 death sentences to LWOP, making it the harshest punishment option for convicted murderers.  The right to appeal convictions to the state and federal courts will still exist, with the same constitutional guarantees afforded LWOP prisoners; additionally, after all appellate issues are exhausted, the appellants will remain very much alive.

While many disagree with certain aspects of the SAFE California Act (i.e. $30 million per year, for three years, given to municipal police and prosecutors, coupled with florid, pro-prosecution language), if this road takes capital punishment off the table, we must travel it.  The United States has executed more than 1290 prisoners since 1977.  The future belongs to us, and step-by-step we will seize power.  After winning this highly contentious battle, we will join resources to abolish all forms of permanent imprisonment.  Every prisoner should have the right to be released if he or she is not a threat to society.

Since 1978, capital punishment has left California with a fatally-flawed system.  Over $4 billion has been wasted, 13 executions have occurred, and 3 individuals have been exonerated.  This is our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  Let us choose the ballot box… or the pine box will choose us!

I look forward to your contact and communication.

Facebook: Donald Ray Young

Twitter: @DonaldRayYoung

Mail:   Donald Ray Young

P.O. Box E-78474

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA  94974

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