Mississippi rally demands release of Scott sisters 15 years into double life sentences on bogus $11 robbery charge

JACKSON, Mississippi — On a hot day in Mississippi, more than 300 people filled the streets as they marched demanding the release of Jamie and Gladys Scott who have spent the past 15 years unjustly imprisoned.

Organized by the Committee to Free the Scott Sisters, the September 15 march began at Farish Street Park and culminated in a rally at the Mississippi State Capitol after stopping at the gates of the governor’s mansion.

Injustice lands two young mothers in prison

The Scott sisters were first imprisoned in October of 1994, accused of doing a robbery in which $11 were allegedly stolen.

No one was hurt and witnesses and alleged victims say the sisters had nothing to do with it. In fact, some witnesses say the sheriff threatened them to force them to lie on the sisters.

Despite this, a Mississippi court convicted Jamie and Gladys, and they were slapped with double-life sentences!

The judge in this case was Marcus Gordon — the very same judge that granted bail to the murderers of the three civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner in 1964.

In the case of the Scott sisters, he continued this legacy of colonial “justice” that unjustly imprisons African victims and rewards our oppressors.

When they were sentenced, Jamie was 19 years old and pregnant. Gladys was 22 and a mother. Today, Jamie — who was a healthy young woman when first imprisoned — is deathly ill, having suffered the failure of both of her kidneys since being locked down.

Rally demands release NOW!

Rally participants chanted down the Mississippi State Capitol with the slogans “No Justice, No Peace!” and “Free the Scott Sisters Now!”

Chokwe Lumumba — Chairman of the New Afrikan People’s Organization, attorney to the Scott sisters and Jackson City Councilman — said to the riled up participants, “I don’t just want Jamie and Gladys out of jail.

I want everybody that shouldn’t be in jail out of jail.

This is a people’s movement, and we say the people united can never be defeated. Gladys and Jamie represent a tremendous symptom of oppression. What is wrong with the system is far worse than that.”

Chairman Omali Yeshitela of the African People’s Socialist Party-USA made it clear that the sisters’ conviction had nothing to do with justice. He said, “I won’t dignify the state of Mississippi by presupposing that this has anything to do with justice."

He continued, "The fact of the matter is that our history in this country as a people defies any definition of America being a place of justice for black people — specifically the state of Mississippi where you can’t dig a hole in a rural area without digging up somebody black who has been murdered, butchered or otherwise mistreated by the criminals who occupy power in this state.

"The fact is that if [Mississippi governor] Haley Barbour should sign anything that pardons the Scott sisters today, it is because he knows that tomorrow he’s going to have to ask for a pardon from black people here and other places around the world.”

“The fact is that it is we who built this ‘incredible’ country that everybody talks about. The wealth of this country, the wealth of Mississippi is something that was forged in the blood of black people.”

Chairman Omali continued, “If we are here today… it’s just a rehearsal. If you don’t free them today, we’ll be back in numbers. We’ll use this opportunity given to us by the incredible Scott sisters to be reminded that we have to organize to take power in our own hands if we’re going to be free from injustice.”

As chairman of the Black is Back Coalition (BIBC) for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, Omali Yeshitela also called on participants to join the BIBC for its November 13 march on the White House, demanding an end to the attacks on not only the Scott sisters, but on all Africans and other oppressed peoples under assault by the U.S. government.

Another speaker at the Scott sisters rally was Alton Maddox, attorney in the 1987 case of Tawana Brawley in New York. Representatives of various organizations including the New Black Panther Party, the Jackson branch of the NAACP and the African Methodist Episcopal Church spoke.

Student leaders from both Jackson State University and Tougaloo College also spoke at the rally.

The day before this rally, a request for a pardon or a commutation of the sentences of the sisters was delivered to Mississippi governor Haley Barbour.

Judging from the look of the crowd demanding their release, it would be in Barbour’s interest to abandon that old “Mississippi justice” and do the right thing — set the Scott sisters free!

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