K.C.

May 19, 2018

Kevin Cooper is a friend to all

Very strange how we crossed paths

to be in the same space and time

Ninth KirKuit Kourt

oppressors in crime

You truly are a beast

apparently you’ll never cease

You want to take another one of mine

No more 12/13/05′ s

The day they tortured Tookie away

Plays oozing out of the Willie Lynch tool kit

Anything to make a square peg and circle fit

My friend is an endangered species

Such a caring person, treated like feces

by the American injustice system

Give this man his due time

on this earth

Release him for his rebirth

i must take a stand

for this erroneously convicted gentleman

His fight is our plight

Interconnected, we must set him free

K.C. ascends the defecation

When you destroy him, you destroy me

Imperialist prison industrial complex

what else is on your demoralized agenda….

Am I next?

Tick tock, tick tock

smash that clock

You’re not executing this innocent man

not on my watch

No more strange fruit

Wrong on the throne

Dirty tricks and politics

is making me sick

What thrill do they receive

when they kill?

K.C. is innocent on death–row

That’s what their own facts show

so I know they know

These scales are iniquitously unbalanced

Stolen youth, put through hell

astonishingly Kevin Cooper

remains strong, mind, body and soul

He inspires me

No more shackles and concrete

Have you heard how eloquently he speaks

of the prolonged oppression he must defeat?

We must fight for brother Kevin Cooper

as he would struggle for us

If we don’t battle for this innocent man

we’re a part of this farce and sham.

…Or maybe we look to Kim Kardashian

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Time on Death Row

March 31, 2017

Incarcerated for the past twenty years, stacked on a dusty shelf, and still I shine. Over a decade caged in death row’s double dungeon, San Quentin State Prison. As I compose my barbed wire reflections I can feel cold years dripping down my dark brown face. I’m 48 years old going on eternity. Drinking deep thoughts from a single-person prison cell surrounded by seconds, I notice the hollowed faces of fellow inmates passing by. Can you wrap your life around that? My unconquerable dreams infuse me with hope.

Embers of a former life. On the other side of these dirty green walls I had a beautiful life before death row. Experiencing the births of my two daughters was the essence of life for me. I watched them grow from infants into gorgeous independent young ladies. My only real family. I did everything possible for them. They don’t need me now, yet I’m motivated by their spirit of resilience– I need them.

I worked my entire life. Preteen newspaper routes. I was picking flower bulbs in the summer fields of Washington State at just eleven years of age. I worked as a courtesy clerk for a grocery store while in high school and added summer jobs to that. One summer I was employed as a life guard. I’ve always been fascinated with bodies of water. Retaining the memories of walking on warm, salty beaches, fishing in cool indigo lakes and swimming in cloudy irrigation canals, a living dream.

As an adolescent, no matter how well I did, I was still targeted by police. Instruments to enslave. Stalked and frisked for walking or driving while black. And I believed I was free. Nothing prevented me from being snatched from society and smeared with a wrongful conviction. In your silence was the sentence.

Directly out of high school I matriculated for higher learning. Looking back on my daily grind at a computer factory in Southern California, my job was relatively easy. I filled orders by weighing various computer components to a requested number. After I bagged, labeled and boxed the separate components, one order was complete. For a time I delivered material to tire builders at a large international tire plant. My most enjoyable occupation was auto body and paint. Staying productive, that’s what keeps me focused.

Effects of the 08 November 2016 elections are lingering, embedded within me. Nationally the U.S.A. selected Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, exposing core values and true beliefs of half the country. Before my stomach could settle I was greeted with the passage of Proposition 66, which speeds up the executions in California. I ardently advocated for Proposition 62, which would have abolished capital punishment while converting all death sentences to Life Without the Possibility of Parole- it failed.

Fortunately the California Supreme Court stayed Prop 62 on 22 December 2016. The court is currently weighing the constitutionality of Prop 66 based upon the challenges presented by the ACLU and the John Kamp/Ron Briggs petitions.

I struggled to abolish capital punishment in California via the ballot box in 2012 and 2016. As a protector of human life I simply do not want any executions on my clock. I’m striving to save lives. The people of California voted for death. Ironically, the ‘Campaign to End the Death Penalty’ urged their audience to vote no on Prop 62, the measure to End the Death Penalty. Followers without understanding. Sadly, the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper coupled with the Socialist Viewpoint Publication asked their subscribers to use their votes to keep the death penalty intact. Nothing revolutionary about that. A Trump presidency left me even more disillusioned.

Surviving through lock downs, medical quarantines, and solitary confinement, I decided to make music with my tears. I voraciously read, study and write at this time. I exercise daily and explore art. In my minds eye I envision creating family consisting of friends. I venture beyond these walls with your eyes and ears. Always open to the free flow of communication. In discovering what you feel and see, I find life. Fresh energy. Connecting with the world inspires me to stretch for more.

With my associates in arts and paralegal degrees I help litigate in the California Supreme Court for exoneration. Working on my freedom. Innocence trapped within the Jim Crow prison industrial complex. Sometimes the system gets it wrong, my situation is not unique.

Time on death row can change coal into diamonds or dust. Unchain the mind. In my walk I chose to become a protector of human rights. I’m one with the earth, water and human life protectors. While I’m not able to physically be there with you now, I find ways to sacrifice, resist and struggle. I exist with you. Writing to you on Women’s Day, sitting on a short bucket, hunched over a rusty bunk, I understand a day without women is a day without breath. Overcoming all forms of oppression is my end goal. Allied minds, partners in protecting, come talk with me.

In solidarity,

Donald Ray Young

P.O. Box E-78474

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974

Invisible Society

February 4, 2017

Under no circumstances did I care about prisoners on death row, until I was forced to pay a visit. Life is constantly upside down. An invisible society beneath the ‘WARNING NO WARNING SHOT‘ gun towers. we are marginalized behind torturous walls, desperately resisting, refusing to fall.

San Quentin is a dilapidated death camp overlooking the Bay. Ancient granite-rock, diseased high-risers touch the sky, while those of us whom reside within these walls pet a thumb-sized glimpse of the expanse above. Five rusty tiers are stacked high with animal cages on both sides of this distorted gulag. Sixty kennels are set in place on each concrete tier, trapping 750 faceless captives. Unnoticed by most, single—person solitary confinement enclosures trap us for 23 hours per day.

Recycled human waste, more sewage than water is provided exclusively to us, for our nourishment and cleansing. In contrast, prison staff only access Mountain-Fresh bottled water, avoiding the streams of tainted bacteria that decimates the human body. Within each cell, a shiny grey toilet flushes no more than twice an hour. Next to it, a matching mini sink which is attached to a faded two-tone crumbling beige wall. Large chips of lead paint splitting off like dry leaves in autumn dust the floors, along side of the thin slab of corroded metal called a sleeping bunk.

This grimy gulag called San Quentin is as much a mental institution as it is a prison. Loud, delusional conversations blast over five tiers allowing the insane asylum to dominate. This weighs heavy on my mind as I struggle to think. Grossly incompetent medical staff coupled with overpaid, abusive guards bring nothing positive to this grueling and debilitating atmosphere. Trivial announcements explode from loud speakers strategically placed for maximum sensory deprivation, inside the dingy walls of purgatory. The only temporary escape from the ever-sounding madness are tiny earplugs, bringing back a false sense of silent peace.

Living, dying, and existing while breathing this tainted air along with the rest…. I can definitely see death row detainees as regular people for the very first time. Human, we are all human; the good, the bad and the dysfunctional. Society’s trash is a microcosm of itself. This poverty stricken, under-educated, under-caste portion of our society needs a protector against the oppressive powers that be. There are no rich people caged on death row. Donald Trump doesn’t exist here. Suicides outpace executions. Natural causes are the leading reasons assigned to deaths assigned to deaths. What is natural about waiting to die like frightened cows being led to the slaughter house?

I would rather give my life, before allowing another human being to he executed on my watch. My essence, something embedded in me is speaking truth to a corrupt power. I’m an activist for the oppressed peoples’ of the earth, despite being of the oppressed class. As Colin Kaepernik kneels For equality, what are you kneeling for or against? My life is dedicated to this struggle. How can you truly care about something you don’t really see? You might be locked in the gulag of corruption in high places and xenophobia. Maybe you‘re caught inside the forgotten prison of the mind, racism, hate, or irrational fear. How many of you dwell within the prison of poverty? Living check to check or unemployment, maybe even homelessness? Some good people fall into the dungeon of class and caste. There are so many poisonous prisons to be snared in. which one houses you?

When the world starts caring about prisoners the invisible society will be seen. Keep in mind that when Black Lives Matter, all lives matter. Speaking from the inside-out, I know better so I must do better. whatever your toxic prison, you are not invisible. I see you very clearly. Now, if you could just visualize me…

I appreciate your time and thoughts. I would enjoy hearing from you in this new year. Connect with me directly via the lost art of writing. I’ll respond, allowing our friendship to begin. I look forward to engaging in uplifting dialogue with you.

In Solidarity,

Donald Pay Young

P.O. Box E-78474

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974

Damn

September 18, 2015

I’ll be sitting in death row

until the day that I die,

because they don’t give a damn

about us

So when you see me cry,

no need

to ask why

They don’t give a damn

about us

Only they know

the reasons why

our young children

are afraid to try

Never given

the instructions to fly

They don’t give a damn

about us

Older and elderly

the world on my shoulders

Lawyers disgust me

begging me to trust them

they’re the cause

of this disease

Getting paid

from this sickness

Open your eyes

and see

They don’t give a damn

about us

We are

just another paycheck

until

they put us to rest

Oh look

at the bright side

the mom, Chevy

and apple pie side

The turn the other cheek

and docile side

Okay then

welcome to

the real side

the rise up out of oppression

with pride side

The I will never give up

and keep fighting side

DAMN!

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

 

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

By Donald Ray Young

The Tulare County District Attorney conspired with the Tulare Police Department to fabricate copious inculpatory evidence, for the sole purpose of sending me – an innocent man – to death row.  Their train was bursting at the seams with lies.  It eventually fell off the tracks on 16 November 2005, three-and-one-half months into the death penalty trial.  The prosecution desperately needed to justify their contention that evidence could continually be in four remote locations at the same time,  without ever being checked out of the Tulare Police Department’s ‘secure’ evidence locker, among other illusions.  I could finally prove what I had been telling everyone who would listen from day one: the purported original evidence reports were forgeries, and the evidence chain-of-custody was non-existent.  Those who held the power in court labeled what happened next as an Evidence Code 402 Hearing – a trial inside a trial – outside the presence of the jury.  I called the entire process what it had always been:  a farce and a sham!

It was a cold 16 November 2005 morning when the pro-prosecution, hanging Judge, Ronn M.Couillard, said this: “I’ve been with this case since August of 2000.  Donald Ray Young was pro per (representing himself).  This thing, as far as discovery and handing over items and documents and everything, has gotten to be a nightmare.  I do know there were always problems with discovery being presented to the defense, even when Donald Ray Young was pro per, where items were copied, they weren’t copied properly, half a page was left off.  That’s all just background, the point being is that discovery has been a nightmare in this case.  It’s continuing to be.”  After fourteen weeks of trial, we were still receiving discovery.  Discovery is the method by which the defense learns, before trial, of the witnesses and evidence the opposition intends to offer at trial.

My trial attorney, Galatea DeLapp, saw this prosecutorial misconduct in a more egregious light.  As she addressed the court, “In my opinion, it’s a Brady violation.  I’m asking for a mistrial, a motion to dismiss with prejudice, on the basis of this Brady material not coming to us until this point, after substantial evidence has already been before the court.”  In addition to the prosecution’s constitutional obligation to disclose exculpatory evidence, there are additional mandates: a statutory discovery obligation, and the duty, under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, to disclose to the defense “all substantial material evidence favorable to an accused.”  Brady vs. Maryland (1963) is a legal case that illuminated the aforementioned obligations,  ensuring rights for the accused.

When the trial judge ordered the prosecution to produce all original evidence reports and original evidence chain-of-custody records, the response from the Tulare Police Department (hereafter referred to as TPD) was that they needed the original court order signed by the judge. What?!!  TPD was the prosecution, and had high-ranking officers in court when the order was made! As the original evidence reports and chain-of-custody records were grudgingly allowed to make their way into the trial court — in preparation of the Evidence Code 402 Hearing — … White-out! Whited out and written over?  That to which the prosecution had been testifying under oath was nothing more than two binders of evidence report pages, painted over and fabricated, manufactured and rewritten.  The prosecution also referred to these binders as original evidence reports and original evidence chain-of-custody logs.  TPD’s own protocol precludes painting over original evidence reports.  You can’t trust the evidence.  You can’t trust the witnesses.  The Evidence Code 402 Hearing will begin.

The first witness to take the stand attempted to minimize or explain away the whiteout, manufactured evidence and corruption. This person was…

To be continued…

YOUR VOICE HAS MEANING.  I WILL ENJOY HEARING FROM YOU.

 

Donald Ray Young

P.O. Box E-78474

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974