"Most Powerful Pages on the Planet"
October 28, 2008
Volume 1 - No.25
Darwin Campbell, Executive Publisher
A Bi-Weekly Publication
ACTIVIST ICON DICK GREGORY:
HINTS DA’s STANCE ON PARIS HATE CRIME
Protest Planned to Focus on Paris/Lamar County Injustices
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Paris, Texas - Activists are preparing to turn up the heat and demand true justice in the hateful dragging death of Brandon McClelland.
This after statements reported from Allan Hubbard of the Lamar County District Attorney’s Office suggested that comparing the heinous act to the dragging of James Byrd Jr. 10 years ago or trying the case as a hate crime is “preposterous” to the county’s top “law enforcers”.
"This is a hate crime. If this is not a hate crime, what is the definition of a hate crime?," said Iconic polical and social activist Dick Gregory said. "If this were two Black men that dragged and killed a white man, that same DA would have already declared it a hate crime."
Activists and victimized family members are neither amused by the Hubbard statement nor or blinking on the issue making plans to move forward with plans for a unified fight for justice starting with a protest and rally on the steps of the Lamar County Courthouse in Paris at 4 p.m. on Nov. 17.
According to Dictionary.com, preposterous is a word that means something completely contrary to nature, reason, or common sense; absurd; senseless; utterly foolish.
"You can expect that kind of mentality from the DA," said Gregory, who is a renowned international civil rights advocate, social activist and writer. "That kind of mentality and attitude (of Lamar County DA Gary Young) contributes and leads to some White folk thinking its O.K. to do Black folk like this."
Gregory, who also condemned the dragging, said it is important for Blacks in Texas to wake up, stand up and make a strong statement against hate crimes and African-Americans, demand that Young enforce the law or push for federal intervention in the case that would open the door for the case to be reviewed at the federal level and possibly tried as a hate crime under federal statutes.
Brandon McClelland is the second African-American Texan that has allegedly been murdered in a James Byrd-like fashion by White men who claimed to be his friends... This year marked the 10the anniversary of Byrd’s death.
The men allegedly ran down McClellan and left his body on a dark road mutilated and dismembered and abandoned.
According to his biography, Gregory is no stranger to activism.He came down so consistently on the side of justice and equality that his speaking out on an issue became a kind of bellwether for the direction of certain progressive political trends.Gregory also understands civil and social struggle.
He has fasted to support animal rights, fasted to protest the racism of
the Central Intelligence Agency, fasted in support of peace in the Middle East, and, in 2004, fasted for 40 days to protest the child molestation charges filed against his famous friend Michael Jackson.
Fasting has not been Gregory's only tool to draw attention to the issues he finds important. He has continued to use public speaking and protest to promote his political agenda as well.He held prayer vigils for victims of racial hatred, in 2002 he worked with other civil rights activists to lobby against naming the FBI headquarters after J. Edgar Hoover, and in 2004, even at the age of 73, he was arrested outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., for protesting against the genocide in that African country.
According to Gregory, justice is not as distant or out of reach as it used to be in the days when Blacks were hunted and lynched by some Whites for sport and fun.
McClelland’s body was found on FM 2648 in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Sept. 16.
According to reports, McClelland was allegedly walking in front of the pickup when Shannon Finley, 27, and a friend, Charles Ryan Crostley, 27, allegedly ran him down and then dragged him 40 feet along the road until his mutilated body popped out from beneath the chassis.
In 1998, James Byrd Jr. was dragged to death by three White men in Jasper, Texas.
The three men beat Byrd, chained him by the ankles to their pickup truck and dragged him for three miles. At this point in the case, none of the reports suggest that Finley or Crostley chained McClelland to their truck at the time of the incident.
At first, investigators reported Brendan’s death as a possible hit-run accident, but later determined his body allegedly had been dragged by the vehicle.
It appears by definition and admission that chief “law enforcers” in Paris see the voice of the McClelland family and concerns of African-American activists as senseless, absurd and utterly foolish.
"What's preposterous is the dragging death of Brandon McClelland and how Paris is hiding the truth and covering up racism to save their own asses," Texas activist Freddy X said. "What's preposterous is that in 2008, we are still fighting racism and dealing with the blatant lynching and injustice."
X said the district attorney's office is protecting Paris' racist past and keeping it alive today by intimidating and attacking Black people using the criminal justice system and the court's power.
"State and federal authorities need to come in and do a comprehensive investigation into Paris/Lamar County District Attorney's Office and review the injustices happening to Black people in Paris and Lamar County."
How senseless and absurd is the cry of a mother to grieve over the loss of her son and seeing his dreams vanish in an instant? All she wants is equal, fair and honest justice. Is the lamentation of a father being deprived of the fellowship and good times with a son he loved so much utterly foolish?
Is this the kind of callous spirit and attitudes that Paris and Lamar officials elected and sworn to protect, serve and render justice for all Americans have about a victimized family and population of African-Americans in the community who simply want justice and equality for Brandon McClelland? The Civil Rights Movement history shows that Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Congressman John Lewis, the Little Rock Nine, the Edmund Pettis Bridge marchers and lunch counter sit-in students all protested injustices, declared their stands for justice and Civil Rights and made clear statements against racism.
Were all these Black men and women preposterous because of their courage to take on and expose established and entrenched racism and injustices in a system that clearly practiced intimidation and discrimination against Black people?
Family, friends and members of the New Black Panther Party, the NAACP and the Nation of Islam and a Christian minister attended a vigil remembering McClelland Saturday and vowed to support for the family and promised a freedom fight that will not end until justice is fairly and equally administered, achieved and applied to every citizen living in the county.
This rally will be a reminder that the fight (for justice) is not over and our work in far from done," he said. "It is everyone's responsibility to stand up now. If we don't fight, these egregious acts and others will continue."
Irving NAACP founder Anthony Bond agreed with Gregory’s assessment that the eyes of the world will watch the trial closely. “This is a case that demonstrates that a Black man’s life still is not equivalent to a white man’s life,” he said. “The real question to be answered here deals with defining the meaning of true justice.
Either there is justice or there is no justice.”Freedom is a road paved with the blood, sweat and tears of countless African-Americans that stood up, spoke when it was unpopular to do so, protested and demanded change.
Bond, a veteran activist, said despite the attitude and response of the district attorney’s office, the most important is not to allow the victims to be lost in the discussions.
“We must muster resources for justice, courts and proper legal representation for this family,” he said. “This family is going to get justice. We will not let this go.”
"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.