Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Day 28 Walk 4 Life

Day 28 was a bit calmer than day 27 but was just as special as every single day of the walk. I woke up early and got some work done before heading to the dinning area of Open Door and having breakfast and some great morning conversation as I waited for Mary my assistance for the day. I was grateful for the positive vibes and well wishes it was energizing for sure. All the people I met at Open Door were kind and caring filled with love and compassion. I wonder why I didn't meet people like this on a daily basis when I just worked a straight up job. At any case I was grateful.
After taking a few pictures, getting a few more hugs and a lot more love I got a call from Mary who was right across the street waiting for me right on time, God is good.
The plan was for Mary to move my gear to Columbus, GA. Understand Columbus is no where near where I was supposed to cross the border into Alabama. I was heading down to Columbus which was way out of my way for two reasons, to meet with the media there in Columbus who wanted to cover the walk, and also to meet with the loved ones of a prisoner, Tony S. who is serving life without parole in an Indiana prison.
Tony S. who I will get into more at a later time created a little bit of controversy when his name appeared on the Walk 4 Life dedications list before I even started walking. His loved one's wanted a day of the walk dedicated to him though he wasn't on death row. Well we were confronted by a spokes person for victims family members wanting Tony's name removed from the list. Their argument being the walk was for condemned men on death row and Tony though he was charged with a capital case was not on death row. Looking to not engage in a battle that would take the focus off of the issue at hand the death penalty, we removed Tony's name, but we had Tony's loved one's left to deal with, victim's in their own right.
In dealing with Tony's loved one's on this very sensitive issue I took an interest in Tony's case. I promised that after the walk was over I would do what I could to help. At first glance into Tony's case one would determine there is nothing to help, but one must realize we are dealing with the American justice system here. I don't have any trust in our system at all. I am a survivor of this system and know all to well how it doesn't work.
The ride to Columbus to was great. Mary was a fiery activist who entertained and enlightened me in countless ways. She was without question an angel, one of God's soldiers. When we first arrived to Columbus, Mary first took to the battle grounds she has fought on many times, a famous protest target in front of Fort Bennings, US Army School of Americas.
Mary introduced me to Father Roy Bourgeois who I believe lives right in front of Fort Bennings. Father Roy Bourgeois is a leading activist in the School of Americas Watch (SOAW). The SOAW is dedicated to shutting down the U.S. Army's School of Americas. It came as no surprise Father Roy was against the death penalty. It was an honor to meet Father Roy. Father Roy greeted me with open arms. He gave us a number of contacts and pointed to some cheap places I may be able to set up shop and rest my head after my day of walking.
After our meeting Father Roy, Mary and I set out to find me a place to stay. She showed me around Columbus a bit seeing she knew the area a bit. Mary was just incredible. I wished to spend more time with her. We found a spot that I found a bit high in price but Mary was quick to offer picking up the tab, bless her. After checking in and dropping off my gear, Teresa Tony's ex-wife and their son showed up where I was staying. Mary and I said our see you later's and she was off on her way.
Teresa and her son really touched me. We sat and talked over lunch and talked about the controversy that surrounded Tony, his case and also Teresa'a fight for her child's father's freedom. I applaud Teresa's courage as well as her son's who is only 16 years old, a victim of not just our cruel system but of societies cold and cruel ways of discriminating against everyone it can.
We proceeded on discussing plans of action we will be taking on Tony's behalf including Teresa joining me on my walk in the morning. We planned to walk together and meet with the reporters who were interested in covering the walk.
Let me make this clear. My involvement in the abolition of the death penalty and the rights of prisoners is solely a service to the people. I am not involved in this struggle for monetary gains. I do solicit donations because as in any war being fought money is needed. All the money I raise goes to the struggle. All the media attention I get is to further the struggle there are no underlining motives here. Some may argue that I am using my actions to further a music career. These critics need to listen to my music which is aimed at the exact target of my actions, the death penalty and prisoners rights. All the monies that are raised from my music also go towards fighting the injustices here in America and beyond. So what do I get out of doing what I do? More than I can put into words.
Upon leaving our brief lunch meeting after our plans were solidified we proceeded to say our see you later's. Tony's son then gave me a hug that I will not ever forget. As he hugged me he spoke softly into my ear saying "thank you, thank you for at least trying to help my dad". I squeezed this boy with all the love I could muster up and told him he was not alone. This is my payment. Bringing hope and sharing love makes me feel alive. I don't care if I don't have a car, a home or nice clothes. None of these things brings me near as much joy as doing something good for people.
After my meeting with Teresa and her son, I got dropped off about 30 miles or so away from the hotel I was staying at and began walking.
I don't know exactly how long it took me to get back to the hotel, I do know I arrived after night fall. I needed this walk more than air this day. I walked a slower pace for a while praying for Tony, Teresa and their son. I also thought about all those sitting just waiting to die not just on death rows but also those serving life without parole for that's a death sentence of the worst kind. As I walked seeking strength and answers the billboard above slowly came into my view, "Trust God". Amen to that.

On this day I worked and walked for Frankie Harris - PA death row.

1 comment:

we're not lost said...

Thank you for meeting with Teresa and taking an interest in Tony's case.
Regardless of the opinions of anyone from Ohio, there are more than a few of us in southern Indiana who believe there was something seriously wrong with this investigation.
For more information, please visit: