Shaka Sankofa, formerly known as Gary Graham, was executed by the state of Texas by lethal injection on June 22 for the alleged robbery and murder of Bobby Lambert, a white drug dealer, in Houston in 1981. He was the 135th person to be executed in the 5 years that George W. Bush has been Texas Governor, and the eighth person world-wide (7 in the US and 1 in Iran) executed in the last 3 years for crimes allegedly committed when they were children. Shaka was 17 when he was targeted as a suspect for the murder after being ‘identified’ by a single eye-witness who saw the crime from 30/40 feet away, through the windshield of her car in the dark of night. In spite of investigations and appeals highlighting important evidence that was not heard at the 1981 trial, Shaka’s final appeal was turned down: Governor Bush stating
“I am confident that justice is being done”.
Extracts from Shaka’s last statement reminds all of us just how little ‘liberty and freedom’ exists for black people in America.
“I would like to say that I did not kill Bobby Lambert. That I’m an innocent black man that is being murdered. This is a lynching that is happening in America”
“This is genocide in America. This is what happens to black men when they stand up and protest for what is right and just. We refuse to compromise, we refuse to surrender the dignity for what we know is right. But we will move on, we have been strong in the past. We will continue to be strong as a people. You can kill a revolutionary, but you cannot stop the revolution. … You are the people that must carry that revolution on, in order to liberate our children from this genocide.”
“Slavery couldn’t stop us. The lynching couldn’t stop us in the south. This lynching will not stop us…. We will go forward. Our destiny in this country is freedom and liberation. We will gain our freedom and liberation by any means necessary.”
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