More letters from around the world demand freedom for Diop days before sentencing hearing

Below are more letters from people around the world, sent to judge Roxanne Covington demanding Diop be set free at his October 13 sentencing hearing. They are being published unedited.

Free Diop Olugbala‏
To Judge Roxanne Covington,
I am writing in support of Diop Olugbala, who is facing sentencing on a false charge of assault from a confrontation with police in Philadelphia City Hall on Thursday, March 19th 2009.
I was present in city council chambers at the time, and witnessed how Diop and Shabaka Mnombatha were singled out for brutal physical attack by the police, even as members of many other organizations, who held signs and spoke out against the mayor's budget plan, were not similarly targeted.
Diop was protesting the 1 billion dollars in the city's budget for police and prisons, when what is needed is economic development controlled by the African community themselves, to create job opportunities, decent housing, health care and education. What he provided was a vision for a sustainable, positive future for African people and the city of Philadelphia as a whole. It was his bold advocacy for the rights of African people that made him a target; the real crime is the daily attack by the city of Philadelphia on the African community and on it's representatives like Diop Olugbala.
Drop the false charges and Free Diop. Reparations to Diop and the African community of Philadelphia. Put in place a policy of economic development for the African community, not police and prisons.   The real criminals are not African people struggling to survive the criminal assault by the government of the city of Philadelphia, but the judges, prosecutors and police who violate their human and democratic rights on a daily basis.
Pete Yaroschuk
San Francisco, CA

Dear Judge Roxanne Covington,
I am writing in regards to one of our young community leaders Diop Olugbala whom I know very well and worked alongside for many years. Diop is one of the most dedicated, respectable patriots that this nation has. If one of your relatives or one of mine were victims of police brutality, Diop would be one of the first to stand up for them and defend them. He is a peaceful young man and respects the law just as much as many who have been sworn in to protect and defend.
Diop is very important to our community and I stand in support of him. This letter I’m writing you, I wouldn’t just do for anyone. I give you my word and put my hand on the bible to say that the court would be making a big mistake by sentencing Diop to serve time in jail. He represents one of the best this country has to offer.
I plead with you your honor, to reverse Diops conviction with no charges and no sentence. I saw the video and researched this case for myself and I’m convinced that the officers were completely in the wrong.
Sincerely Yours,
Rev. Omar Wilks
National Presiding Minister of
Unison Pentecostal Church (UPC)
Headquarters; Brooklyn, NY
Tele# 347-325-7828

Dear Judge Covington:

We have recently become aware of the situation with Mr. Diop Olubgala (also known as Wali Rahman). After a substantial review of this case, it appears that a serious injustice has occurred in your courtroom. In a bench trial in which you apparently took only a brief period to examine the evidence, Mr. Olubgala was convicted of assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. This, despite the existence of a videotape showing that Mr. Olubala was attacked and choked by police during a First Amendment-protected activity in a city council meeting.
In situations in which people in power are not interested in hearing alternative opinions, police are sometimes used to suppress the community. This incident has the hallmarks of such a situation. Further, it is axiomatic that people who are brutalized by police are falsely charged in order to justify police actions. This conduct is expected of police. However, such false charges should never be abetted in the court system.
We insist that you reconsider Mr. Olubgala’s conviction on these serious charges and that Mr. Olubgala’s important contributions to the community be kept at the center of all further considerations in this case.
You still have an opportunity to right this injustice. Our organization urges you to do so.
For justice,
Michelle Gross, President
Communities United Against Police Brutality™
3100 16th Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407

Free Diop Olugbala!
Your Honor Judge Roxanne Covington,
I am writing to you in support of releasing Bro. Diop Olugbala and the removal of all charges against him. The act of unjustly imprisoning Diop has not only committed a crime against his family and loved ones but against the city itself. Bro. Diop is an asset to the disenfranchised African community in Philadelphia and a champion for justice,freedom and equality for all oppressed peoples of the world. Imprisoning a man for holding his government accountable for the fair treatment of its citizens and for exercising his right to free speech is not only unjust but reveals to true character of the so called "City of Brotherly Love".
Let True Justice Be Served, Release Diop Olugbala!
E. A Graham

Hands Off Diop Olugbala!
Reverse Diop's conviction. No charges, no sentence!
Odongo, J.

Ms. Covington,
I am writing to protest the arrest, trial and conviction of Diop Olugbala.
The entire attack on him is politically motivated through and through. The powers that be in Philadelphia City Hall were inconvenienced by his protests of Nutter's brutal war budget which, if implemented, will deepen the oppression of the African community in Philadelphia. So their response, as visible on the video, was to try to 1) crush his windpipe and 2) lock him up to prevent him from organizing the community in its own interests.
I am a white person but something in me rebels when I see that there is no equality for Africans whatsoever in the "City of Brotherly Love." We are lectured from birth in this society on the virtues of our system of government, including the much-vaunted "free speech" that we supposedly enjoy. However, when an African man attempts to exercise his right to speak out on the oppression of his community, the covers are ripped off and we see the truth. There is. quite apparently, no free speech for African people in Philadelphia or the United States of America.
The city where you live and work for the power structure is a true hellhole for African people. I used to live there. I support any demand for more and better facilities and services that would improve the quality of life for the people there, and any demand that would help protect the people from any increase in the number of blatantly corrupt, violent police and prisons. And this is what Diop was calling for with his perfectly legal, peaceful banner.
Which side do you stand on? The oppressed or the oppressors? Will you stand with the African community and help to fight off this vicious attack by rebuffing the prosecutor's ridiculous case, or will you continue to cave to pressure from the white power structure that writes your check?
What good does it do to have black judges if they are not fair and impartial but only do the bidding of the powers that be? That's not social change, it's neocolonialism. It's white power in blackface.
What's it gonna be?  Justice for the African community or the security of not doing anything that might endanger your 30 pieces of silver? If Diop's conviction stands, your career may appear temporarily more secure, although the power structure will most likely toss you aside when they're done with you. But your place in history as a modern-day Judas will be absolutely secure.
The white ruling class will always turn on you eventually. But stand with the people, and they will always stand with you.
Dianne Tornay
Gainesville, Florida

My Dear Judge,
I am writing from Ghana, West Africa. I know you are under pressure to do things that may seem right to the state but have you considered doing what is right by God and Man?
We are watching, my brothers and I. All I want you to know is that these tactics to undermine the efforts Black people are making to get better treatment all-round WILL NOT WORK. Malcolm X never stopped, Nkrumah never quit, Marcus Garvey, Dr King and all our predecessors never stopped once so you can rest assured that we will never stop our efforts till the evil you represent is toppled. Thank you and I hope you have an enlightened day. FREE DIOP, FREE ALL OPPRESSED PEOPLE…DEAR JUDGE, FREE YOUR MIND

The Voice of the People shout FREE DIOP!‏
To judge Roxanne Covington:
The African masses are organizing. Too long has the US colonial government been in control of Africans. Too long have Africans have face the brutality of slave masters and slave catchers now in the form of the state and police. Too long have Africans seen their children face attacks, father dragged off to prison, mothers mourning. This is a downright war created by the white ruling class that you work for in order to steal the resources that belongs to Africans. The Parasite on welfare is this white nationalist nation called america. You are nothing but a buffer to protect the slave masters. Like Malcom X said "I'm a field Negro" meaning the African working class who wants absolute freedom. Diop is fighting for that, fighting for economic development not police containment in the African community. And for that he got attacked. That reveals the backwardness of this system you call justice. I know Lady Justice still has her blindfold on. Its true, she is blind, because she cannot see the grave injustice that Diop and all Africans are subject to on a daily bases. The ruling class sent cops to provoke Diop, even though by US standards he was exercising his right to free speech…oh thats right, he's black. The liberties only apply to citizens like white folks myself. Well, guess what I stand in Solidarity to fight for the liberty of human being, underneath the power of the African working class, who were force to create my parasitic existence. I demand a new kind of relationship, a just relationship. I want to hop off this pedestal and join humanity. NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF AFRICANS AND NATIVE PEOPLE! And thats exactly what Diop Olugbala is doing, to make me take responsibility for my self-imposed isolation from humanity. The slave is and never was a slave in his/her own eyes, but a free man/woman that will do anything to take back what is rightfully his/ hers. Diop loves his people, obviously white power cant stand this. He wouldnt bow down to the choke hold that the cops had on him. This is the true face of the African working class. SELF-DEFENSE! That is a normal healthy reaction of a human being!    Your laws are nothing but a joke against the forces of nature…You can put love on trial but love will fight back everytime.. Because its unnatural to criminalize freedom. Its bound to lose. And Voices of the People Shout Free Diop!. Do it NOW!
Johann, a true communists!

Dear Judge Covington:
I respectfully request that you reverse the conviction in the case involving Diop Olugbala. I have known Diop for 10 years and he has always been a courageous and law-abiding citizen. He is an example of an educated and loving family man in the African-American community. Why would any one want to deprive his family and the community of this great example of a outspoken gentleman? I believe Diop was right in protecting his freedom of speech in the safest way possible. Diop was physically attacked. He was having a peaceful protest, something that has transformed this country immensely. He should not have to suffer for defending his rights and everyone else's rights. His impact on poor communities has been a positive one. Please allow for this progress to continue for the benefit of all man-kind.
Your Honor, I thank you for carefully considering reversing the conviction against Diop Olugbala and dropping all the charges so that he can be with his family and continue to be a father to his children. I thank you for your valuable time.
Omowale Adewale

Free Diop Olugbala
Dear Judge Covington,
I am a former Philadelphia resident and longtime human rights activists. As a member of Amnesty International, a practicing attorney, and a Black woman, I have written many of these letters to governments abroad. Having to write one to you for justice for a person's exercise of his First Amendment rights is disturbing and shameful. I urge you to set aside this conviction and release Mr. Olugbala. Today the campaign to quash dissent has come for him, when you've outlived your usefulness it will be you. Your collaboration will not protect you.
Shame on you,
Efia Nwangaza
Greenville, SC

Free Diop Olugbala
Dear Judge Roxanne Covington,
Once again, I am writing to express grave concern about the situation with Diop Olugbala.
He is a dedicated and courageous community organizer who has stood up for the rights of oppressed people.
I am a teacher in Oakland, CA where the conditions are much the same for the community and where there have been many police killings of young black men. Diop is someone who is standing up for the rights of the people and now his rights have been egregiously violated!
All charges against his should be dropped as he has done nothing wrong. He has been making positive change in leading the way to challenge the injustice and brutality that has come down in the city of Philadelphia.
Thousands around the world have seen the videotape of the attack on Diop's freedom of speech in the city council chambers. I would think it would be unwise and greatly unpopular to uphold a sentence when no crime has been committed.
Please make the right decision and drop all charges against Diop!
Wendy Snyder
Oakland, CA

Regarding Diop …
Good morning Judge,
I urge you to drop all charges against Diop and thereby
rectify a glaring injustice.
I am in San Francisco and have seen the video. Clearly the
police and court officers not only impeded Diop's right to Free Speech
but clearly assaulted him – very unprofessional.
For you to then turn victim into perpetrator, while increasingly common,
is unjust and disgraceful.
I encourage you to do the honorable thing and release Diop free
of all charges. This will be a powerful example to all the folks far
and wide, such as myself, that indeed REAL justice can be served.
Dave Reardon
San Francisco, CA

Freedom for Diop Olugbala‏
Dear Judge Roxanne Covington, I am writing in support of all of the peoples of the African Community here in America as well as our International supporters, those being both black White and colored people, and as one African having been in the same situation as my dear brother Diop meaning having been beat down kick after dropping to the ground after being told if I safe one more word that they would do bodly harm to me three white cops against one black man a decorted Veit Nam Disable Veteran, this was how I was treated, my eye was enjurged I was asked did I want to go to the hospital, I answered what do you think?my eye bleeding all because I was told If I say one more word that they would attack me, I said to them that God gave me this mouth that they had no right to make that commit towards me , and if I was not being arrested being held for anything that they should let me be on my way, thats went a white officer charge up the steps dropping his gun /pistol all the while attempting to advance me to assult me his face red full with anger and wage, I remembered the none vilonce of Dr.Martin Luther King , after taking two nto three punches to the stomach I just dropped to the floor coverd my face but that did'nt make him stop no just then he proceeded to like a coward he was kick and kick and kick me until his buddies pulled him off me .This officer is still problely severing on this force that was the 35th district, after 9months and bring my case in front of a jugde that my dad knew who through out all charges that those cop[s trumped up on me to cover themselves ,this only happened because my father was a city councile man of the Fith Councilmatic District Cecil B. Morre's Distric, I Thank Juge David Savitt, now retired who let those bullies even I hads a right to due process ,that I had a right not to speak a right to councle, the police have been trumpting up false charges on inncest black men and women and getting away with it for have a chance to use your power to right a wronged,thank you for your time.Uhuru
James L. Grant

Does free speech exist in Philadelphia?
Judge Roxanne Covington,
I am writing you with great concern regarding the case of Diop Olugbala.
I saw the same video that you reviewed in your court and it is clear that Philadelphia police physically accosted and choked Diop when he was peacefully and justifiably expressing very grave concerns about conditions in the black community of Philly.
I implore you in the name of justice to reverse all charges against Mr. Olugbala, and ensure that he is not imprisoned for voicing passion for the well-being of his community.
Every citizen of the city has a right to raise concerns about how the monies of the local government are being spent. It is the responsibility of that citizen to especially be concerned about the inequities that are clearly present in your city.
The city of Philadephia has a national, and indeed international, reputation for police killings and abuse of the black population in your city. A huge portion of the city budget is spent on police, and not on services that would alleviate the devastating poverty faced by the black population in your city.
It is not everyone who has the courage to stand up for what is right and just.
Diop Olugbala clearly wants solutions to the conditions facing his people. This is why he demands economic development for his community in place of a police presence and activity that maintains untenable conditions.
If the black community cannot use free speech to bring serious concerns to the forefront, what avenues do they have to bring to light the poverty, unemployment, police brutality, lack of services and educational issues that impact the majority of the citizens of that community?
It is your duty to ensure that injustice is not furthered.
Free Diop Olugbala!
Maureen M. Wagener
Oakland, California

Your honor – lenience for Mr. Diop,
Dear Judge,
I write to you out of concern for Mr. Diop, who is scheduled to appear before you tomorrow. I understand that he is facing up to ten years for what boils down to a free speech issue. I trust that you will find it in your heart to practice both justice and mercy in this case. Thank you in advance for you kind appreciation of this request.
Patrick McCann, teacher, Montgomery County (MD)
Board of Directors, Montgomery County Education Association
National Board of Directors, Veterans For Peace

Reconsider, Judge Covington
Judge Covington,
I had not heard of you before so I googled your name and found a simple bio. It mentions your "dedication to public interest and… Justice," which,if true, contradicts your conviction of Diop Olugbala, who too seeks justice for his community. So why is he going to be sentenced this Wednesday on false charges?
If you truly cared for the public and justice you would understand that Diop's voice and ability to organize represent a realistic movement for the African community. His choice to hold up the sign at the City Hall is protected under the 1st amendment; his presence along with the other protesters was non-threatening. However, what was unlawful was the behavior of the violent plain clothed officer (save for the gestapo-esque armband) who lept at Diop putting him in a choke hold and then punching Diop, as seen in the video that has been widely circulated.
The action to (falsely) arrest African activists and keep them in prison is the normal way of dealing with possible threats to the system that feeds off of injutice and under development & police containment of African communities.
At this point in U.S. History,perhaps the system should stop making things harder for itself and let the people be heard. Diop Olugbala is a voice for the people. Perhaps his voice is too loud and clear that it intimidates the capitalist white power, but putting him in prison will only enrage his supporters and add fuel to our fire. Is that what you want, Judge Covington?
If you understand the true meaning of justice and public interest, you will drop the charges against Diop Olugbala.
Again, imprisoning Diop will not put his work to an end; you will only be providing an opportunity for more voices to emerge and we will all work harder to fight for his freedom, as well as continuing his work to bring justice and empowerment for the African community.
Save yourself from bad publicity and side with the people, surprise us with real justice, drop the charges against Diop!
Kefira Baronofsky

Diop Olugbala

Dear Judge Roxanne Covington:

I am writing from Nassau, The Bahamas asking that you reverse Diop Olugbala's conviction. Also I am asking that no charges are brought before him and that he isn't sentenced. Since meeting Diop I have known him to be a courageous young man who is working to make the world a better place for us and those who will come after us.
Charo R. Walker, Alex Morley and all of his comrades in The Bahamas

Judge Roxanne Covington: reverse Diop Olugbala's conviction
Judge Roxanne Covington,
In the interests of justice, free association and free speech, and as a call to your conscience, I am strongly urging you to reverse the charges laid on Diop Olugbala. In a time when our freedoms are most vulnerable, it is imperative that this Court recognizes the human rights of this progressive thinker and activist leader, who by speaking out has exercised his right to freedom of speech, his right to bring attention to the inequalities in our society. You have the power, and therefore the responsibility, to take a stand on the suppression of black peoples' voices.
Melody Nixon
Columbia University

Judge Covington,
This railroading of Diop Olugbala is wrong!
You must be aware of the fact that people in this country have a right to assemble and speak about issues of importance to their lives.
You must be aware that all of the evidence in this and countless other cases show police abuse of power.
You must be aware that this is a political lynching of a passionate, intelligent community activist who leads by example.
By upholding this conviction, and imposing this insane sentence, you are showing the world that you are part of the problem! You become a party to criminal neglect, and a violation of the very principles you took an oath to uphold!
You must stand up and judge, with open eyes, what is right in front of you. Otherwise, you become a rubber stamp to the rampant corruption we see throughout government and the "injustice" system.
No charges, no sentence! 
Do the right thing and declare this whole mess null and void.
Paul Breslin-Kessler
Santa Cruz, CA.

Reverse Diop's conviction. No charges, no sentence
Dear Judge Covington,
You must be aware that Philadelphia is known throughout the
world for its brutality against Afrikans, for bombing them and
assaulting their children, then charging them with assault.
The case against Diop is just another example of the US
criminal offensive against poor and oppressed people.
Do not become a party to this criminal venture, reverse
the conviction and drop all charges against Diop.
Yours etc.

Please reverse the charges against DIop Olugbala. He is the victim not the criminal.
Thank You


Free Diop- no charge no sentence

Honorable Roxanne Covington
Judge Covington,
My name is Amudu Davis and I am a resident of San Leandro, Ca. I have worked with Brother Diop Olugbala on campaigns here in the Bay Area primarily in Oakland and San Francisco seeking justice for Africans both here and abroad. This young man is upright and righteous and has displyed honor and integrity in his exploits of mobilizing young people to steer away from drugs and crime. He encourages our youth to be informed and take a positive stand on issues that Africans face in our daily lives. These issues concerning our economics, education, and political advancement. I appeal to you to repeal all charges and and free Comrade Diop.
Sincerely Your,
Amudu Davis B.S., CPIM

Honorable Roxanne Covington
Your honor,
On the matter of the sentencing of one Diop Olugbala, I respectfully ask you to consider dropping the wrongful charges against him. Being as though you are a judge, you must have some faith in the criminal justice system to be one that fairly doles out punishment or calls for rehabilitation. I would ask you, then, exactly what crime is Mr. Olugbala being accused of, or for what dishonorable behavior does he need be rehabilitated? 
Mr. Olugbala has been at the head of a number of peaceful protests in Philadelphia and beyond, never resorting to the kinds of violent behavior that have come to be associated with revolutionary social movements. The only thing that Mr. Olugbala threatens is the status quo – one in which African-Americans, particularly young black men, are incarcerated at rates disproportionate to actual crimes committed, and without regard for the precipitating conditions. It has been well documented that there is profit to be made through increased incarceration rates, especially as the handlers move towards privatization in the wake of a failing economy. Who are the majority of those incarcerated? African-American men. In some cases the punishment is warranted; I do not mean to make excuses for everyone, but far too often it is a case of the punishment exceeding the crime, as in the gross imbalance between the incrimination of crack-cocaine possession (more prominent amongst African-Americans) and power cocaine possession (more prominent amongst Euro-Americans).
But these are larger issues. Policy issues. Before you now is a simple case of a man speaking out for what he believes, and subjected to the same knee-jerk tendencies towards punishment rather than open-mindedness. Again, Mr. Olugbala posed no threat to anyone, and so I ask you – plead with you, really – to honor your commitment to justice and to drop all charges against him.
Mr. Julian Grey

Release Diop Olugbala NOW!!!! Release him now Release him now

This is an illegal conviction and his 1st amendment rights have been violated. You are in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Dear judge Roxanne,
As a comrade of mine said, "History will judge you." Just like how Palestinians are ghettoized, their resources being stolen from the Israeli government, the US steals resources from the African community, dating back when Europe attacked and enslaved Africans and brought them here on stolen Native land to build capitalism for white people. Look what it has done. It has demoralized African working class and Native people. And all the US government does is criminalizes poverty created by this colonial government. Justice would be reparations and economic development in the African community. Diop was all about that and Philly came along and attacked, becauise they see a threat of African masses prospering as a community, like Rosewood and Tulsa, when reactionary white people slaughtered the prospering African community. So dont pretend that Diop and Africans are the criminals, when history reveals the exact opposite. The white people you work for feed you lies, the black people who I work under feed me truth. Prove yourself as a judge, leave the African community and Diop alone. How come when white anarchists actually attack cops you do nothing, but when Diop defends himself from a choke hold you are ready to attack your own people? We both know why…because Africans are merely subjects in the US governments eyes. The lie that Africans have been integrated is finally being exposed. Ever notice how black and brown people are always the enemy, Mexicans "Illegals" Arabs "terrorists" Africans "criminals" You know that saying when you point the finger, three are pointing back at you. So very true in this case. US is an organized gang, that came here stealing land as immigrants, terrorizing Arabs so you can pump that car of yours for cheap, an finally are thieves in African lives. White power gang cant shut up Diop fast enough, because the truth will shut down the criminal enterprise sooner than you think. The thugs on wall street are nervous…Its over! Free Diop! or join the sinking Titanic!

To the attnetion of Thee Hornorable Judge Roxanne Covington, again I write you ,to express ,to voice in unitiy with all the other African peoples standing solid ,standing firm and committed for one thing to appleal to you judge Covington again we ask for you to render a fair and just rendering that will result in dismissal of those false charges, aganist our brother Diop, I live In the Delaware Valley, have live and work in Philadelphia ,went to school in this city, I have been a victim hunted by the Philadelphia Police,as a black male in this city, and know what it is like I served in the United States Marine Corps faithfully, fought in Viet Nam conflicted because miseducation and in order to take care of a son born out of wedlock now 38 yrs old, I have served over 30years in this government, presently with the The U.S. Department Of The INTERIOR, with the National Park Service,at the Independence Nation Historic Park Service, at age 16 I would drive to the Detention center ,Easton State Penatentary ,Holmsburg Prison,and some times Dallas State Pen, Bailing out Grow Black Male Adult, as My late ndear departed father Mr.Vernon Marks at that time was the only Black Boundsman in the State of Pennyslvaina ,I work with him Bailing out mostly Blacks men and woman, so I do know what it is like going through the system. We already have too many Black young good men locked up, lets end this pratice, thank you for you time.with that I say Uhuru.
yours truly
James L. grant

Free Diop Olugbala

Honorable Judge Roxanne Covington,

I am writing this letter to plead with you to reverse the sentencing of Brother Diop Olugbala and drop all charges filed against him.

I met Diop Olugbala about 5 years ago when he came to Spain to support our efforts to organize and empower the local Black community. His presence and participation here was highly appreciated and we were all so honored to meet such a righteous, intelligent, educated and humbled man. His desire to spread the message and struggle for freedom drove him all the way across the ocean, such is his desire to share and speak truth, just as he has been doing in the States and other places for years.

I have watched the video of the incident that caused Diop's arrest. Where is the crime? What would be of a country, of a civilization, of our civil and human rights if compromised people as Diop Olugbala didn't stand up, speak and move for what they think it must be changed for the better of our societies!? when the People are in Fear of speaking their minds, peacefully, it can only lead to the degradation of their society's culture and social justice, its civilization. Do we want to go back in time when only few selected people spoke and had a say, and the rest lived blind, uneducated or too afraid to demands their rights. What message are we sending to our youth?

As much as i read of history and stories of injustices, it still amazes me every time i see how anybody trying to speak their mind through legal and peaceful ways can be convicted of assault when they are themselves assaulted by police forces. How simple! how easy speeches can be shut in a society with freedom os speech. Now its only in the hands of judges like you to take a stand and set an example for true Justice.

Dont let Diop Olugbala, an innocent man, be convicted for practicing and demanding our rights. We wont stop demanding justice for him, Worldwide.
Elisa Marvena Sanz Navarro
Psychologist and Youth Educator
President of Asociación Panafrikanista Sankofa,
Barcelona, Spain

Case of Diop Olugbala

Dear Judge Roxanne Covington,

I am a research technologist at the University of Chicago.  I try to stay updated on current events as much as possible, and I found this case to be particularly shocking.  I am asking that you reverse charges against a man who is exercising his democratic rights to speak out on behalf of his community and addressing the crippling poverty and political powerlessness that is the black experience for the vast majority in this country.
Diop Olugbala is known by his community to be a courageous activist, organizing for economic development and social justice. All the evidence points to police initiated violence against Diop and others involved in a City Hall protest, activity which is supposed to be protected by the constitution.
This is clearly a political attack against Diop and his community, and the Uhuru Movement in a city with a history of brutality against African people aimed at shutting down community activism.
I join in calling on you personally to take a stand, and reverse the charges and the sentence in the name of Democracy and human rights. There should be no sentence, and no charges. In fact the "right" thing to do would be to call for an investigation on police abuse of power!

Thank you,
K. Gordon
Research Technologist

Free Diop Olugbala

Judge Roxanne Covington
Re: Case of Diop Olugbala
Your Honor Judge Covington:
I work with several human rights organizations in Peru. I came here orginally as a Peace Corps Volunteer. My political formation in civil rights began in Atlanta Georgia with Dr. Martin Luther King and was further developed by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta when I served as a Farm Advisor in California. I am a Bowdoin College, Cornell University and University of San Franciso graduate and maintain a list of over 3,000 email clients within Peru and worldwide. I dare say that most of my readers do not agree with my opinions, but they have the highest respect for my integrity.
Having viewed the video of the Police Riot against Diop Olugbala, I can only hope that you will do justice in this case and throw out the charges.
The United States at this point in its history is replete with injustices. Most of my thousands of Peruvian friends hold our justice system in the highest regard.  I hope that you will carefully review the  Diop Olugbala case, and make us proud with your decision.
David Bayer
Ica, Peru

Dear Judge Covington,

Shortly after 9/11, even before the dust had cleared over Ground Zero, many Americans
expressed their shock and bewilderment in a single question: "Why do they hate us?”
I remembered that when I learned of Diop's conviction on those trumped-up charges. Your
verdict and the courtroom lynching over which you presided answer the question posed by
your fellow citizens. Kangaroo courts and injustice – that is why "they" hate America.
Exploitation and oppression too, among other things.

The injustice and brazenness of that verdict (in the face of irrefutable video evidence to the
contrary) suggested that it would be pointless to expect better tidings from you during the
sentencing phase, which is why I won't plead for leniency on Diop's behalf.

I won't waste your time or mine because I recognise that you too are a prisoner, that you
are just as imprisoned by your personal circumstances as the rest of us. As a judge, you
probably enjoy better living conditions and a higher social status than most of us but at the
end of the day, when all is said and done, you are still a black woman in white America and
always will be. Whether you like it or not, whether you agree or not, you are an African
living in a world created by white people for the benefit of white people. And I am sure that
there are measures in place to deal with wayward judges, to deal with those who wander
“off-script”. For that reason, the rest of this letter is addressed to those who pull your
strings, to the white America on whom you depend.

Diop Olugbala's conviction is clear proof of the hypocrisy and fascist character of “the
American Way” – that is the first thing. No ifs and buts; it's as clear as black and white. And
on HD video too. And I believe in the evidence of my own eyes to such a degree that even
if God himself were to come down from some white heaven proclaiming Diop's guilt, I
would spit in his face and call him a liar, a fake God. You may wish to pause and consider
how I would react to you and your sidekick in this enterprise (the District Attorney).

Secondly, and given that this case has been widely publicised on the internet, people all
over the world and future generations will now see that the provisions of the Bill of Rights
and the First Amendment are nothing but a sham, a bogus irrelevance – a big fat zero – as
far as the human rights of black people in America are concerned. Ironically enough, that
First Amendment was ratified in Philadelphia, the very same Philadelphia that arrested,
tried and convicted Diop Olugbala for exercising the right conferred on him by the
Amendment. Oppression and exploitation don't do irony, I guess.

It is also increasingly clear that white America has an undeclared policy to silence, kill,
imprison or otherwise neutralise troublesome Africans like Diop Olugbala. The collective
fate of Denmark Vesey, Malcolm, X, Mumia Abu Jamal, Fred Hampton, George Jackson,
the Angola 3, the Black Panther Party, Assata Shakur and many others illustrate this reality
– and the existence of a strategy designed to terrorise us into a passive acceptance of
inferiority and sub-human conditions, to terrorise us into dumb submission. In other words,
the historical evidence suggests that a COINTELPRO programme of sorts has existed
ever since the first European set foot in Africa and that programme is still ongoing. It is
through that prism that we see and understand these court proceedings against Diop, as a
21st Century update of that programme.

In the light of that history, ie a history of enslavement and degradation, many of us are not
particularly concerned by whatever sentence you may decide to pass. We will absorb it as
we have absorbed so much else. We are in this for the long haul and time is on our side.
Some day, this too shall pass (if it passes quickly enough, we could even put you on trial
for crimes against humanity and Diop Olugbala).

In his autobiography, Malcolm X warned those who would hunt a man to always remember
that the jungle also contains those who hunt the hunters. For centuries, we have been
hunted like prey and the system you represent has been a predator, acting with complete
impunity as it trampled over the lives and dignity of millions of Diops – a murderous
imperialist war here, sadistic torture there and a planetary prison system for black people
everywhere. It started with kidnapping and slavery, as you well know. Today however,
there are other actors on the scene, other forces in the mix, playing out their roles as
catalysts or factors in the evolution of mankind. From Bagram in Afghanistan to Abu Ghraib
in Iraq, from the prison farms of Angola, Louisiana to the refugee camps of Kisangani in
the Eastern Congo, the victims of racism and injustice are uniting in solidarity against
racism and injustice everywhere. That trend will grow as peoples of the world become
more aware and build stronger bonds of humanity in this internet age. As they do, expect
to see an acceleration in the decline of American influence and power in an ever shrinking
global village. Even as I speak, that process of decay is well underway and Diop's case is
a good example of that. It really is a question of time.

I will leave you with the words of two famous Americans, two men who wished America
well and tried to improve her race relations. The first, John F. Kennedy, was a former
President who said that "those who make peaceful change impossible make violent
change inevitable". The second, James Baldwin, a brother and a writer, warned of "the fire
next time." Without justice, dear Judge, can there be peace? Without justice, isn't violence
inevitable? Without justice, how will you prevent the fire next time? And the time after that?
You decide.

Kind regards,
Olufemi Ijebuode,
United Kingdom

To the Presiding Judge,

Please free the man that you have wrongful accused . The system is for criminals and people with criminal minds this man has only helped the injustice that his community faces. If this were 1956 maybe that would be ok. This is 2010 how is it that we have freedom of speech but no freedom to speak!

This is a concern in many states. I have notice that the community no longer has a voice or the one that are voicing their community issues have been ridiculed by police or our issues have been pushed aside.

I live in Seattle Washington and I wish the movement was as deep as it is in  other states, the Police have been killing and beating up too many citizens. It is a disconnect between the citizens that have lived inthe neighborhoods for all their lives vs new rookie cops that are trying to meet quota and earn merit.

FREE Diop Olugbala

Michelle Reese


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