Day 19 I woke up way before the sun and got dropped off in downtown Raleigh for my trip up north to participate in the H2A Hip Hop festival in the Bronx. H2A or Hip Hop Association is about facilitating, fostering and preserving the hip hop culture. It's a non-profit organization dedicated to serving educators and those committed to reaching youth through hip hop culture which is what I do. I educate youth and adults about our criminal justice system, about the history of prisons and about capital punishment. This three day festival was held at the Ralph Hernandez School of performing arts in the South Bronx about 7 or 8 blocks from my old neighborhood. Let me tell you it was an honor for me to be invited to sit on a panel to share what I have been doing world wide with hip hop as well as what I am currently doing, the Walk 4 Life.
Because I was taking a bus up north didn't mean I was taking a break, as soon as I was dropped off at the bus station I went to work giving out buttons and fliers as I explained what I was doing to anyone that would give me moment of their time, the struggle never seizes for me. As long as I have brotha's and sista's locked in cages waiting to be murdered, I will not seize.
On a daily basis I find it amazing that I continuously find myself talking to people that don't agree with capital punishment. Now I know there are cold heartless people that do agree with this barbaric act but I feel that the majority of Americans don't not agree. Now the media states that we are divided by 60% pro and 40% against. I believe these polls are most likely taken in areas that consist of those people I never see, those people that get the tax breaks, those people that live in areas where the police actually server and protect, not where they prey on human beings. I believe if these polls were taken where common folk live and in the ghettos across America a different story would be told. I believe just like in the days of the civil rights movement where they held voter registrations in poor areas, we need to hold death penalty opponent registrations. I think that many people that may be against the death penalty remain silent out of fear. Now if they witness large numbers of death penalty opponents gathering together in unity their fear will subside. Death penalty opponents are about life and love, compassion and reconciliation how can this not attract people. They just need to see us out in numbers. Most importantly politicians need to see us out in numbers. Politicians are attracted to large organized groups of registered voters. Not only this politicians that agree with death penalty opponents would feel more confident to step up and speak out knowing they would be backed by the people. Uniting out on the streets of America is the only way we will counter the effects of the fear the media instills in Americans. I also believe that believe that by uniting in such way in solidarity would also cause a ripple effect that would also see a drop in violent crimes. Young men and women across America that feel abandoned would surly be attracted by such a powerful unification of the people.
After boarding onto my bus I quickly set up my lap top and got to work tackling my never ending e-mails. It is amazing just how many people around the world have been responding to the walk 4 life. I pray that this momentum does not slow down till we see victory.
From Raleigh, North Carolina our first stop was at a Burger King. This was about two hours after hitting the open road. We were allowed 20 minutes to get something to eat and use the rest rooms, smoke and stretch our legs. I used this time to reach more people. At times I feel like I am on the campaign trail running for president. Yes I pet dogs and kiss babies too. If allowed I'd pin a Don't Kill For Me button on a babies diaper. We have to get them young before they are programed to believe it's ok to kill in the name of justice.
Not more than ten minutes after pulling out of the rest stop the bus had a blow out. Let me tell you people were not happy at all. It wasn't so much that we had a blow out, it was the fact that the tire was really bald. We could not understand how this tire made it passed inspection. It was a retreaded tire. The way our economy is everyone is trying to cut corners to save money. I don't think buses should be allowed to use retreaded tires especially after being told by the bus driver that if it had been a front tire we most likely would have flipped over. I stood there in shock when he told me and a few other passengers that a front tire blow out makes buses flip. Amtrak was looking pretty good at that moment.
We were paid a little visit by state troopers as we waited for a repair truck to come out and fix the flat tire. This set us back about 2 hours I was not happy at all; none of the passengers were happy.
After the tire was fixed we reached Richmond Virgina where we were asked to get off of the bus. We were given little information as to where to go. I chose this particular bus because there were to be no changes. Well because of the flat we were made to not only change buses, we had to wait some three hours. I felt like I was flying AA. Anyway at the Richmond station I noticed a large number of prisoners waiting for buses on their home. How do I know they were prisoners? Because I was one of them at one time. The state clothes given to prisoners are easy to recognize. As I watched them walk around confused I wondered how many of them would make it in the free world knowing they were released with nothing. When I say nothing I mean no money, no job and no education or rehabilitation. I prayed for them.
I walked around and spoke to a number of people again receiving nothing but positive reactions. Keep in mind I was amongst the poor here. I don't think people of wealth ride the bus. They may leave their driving to others but it's most likely chauffeurs. Anyway three hours later I was on my way once again back up north.
The flat tire got me to New York City about three and a half hours later than I had expected. But after all was said and done it felt good to be home even if it was only for one day.