Message from Efren to Fasters – Sent via Helen

“When any person suffers for someone in greater need,
that person is a human.” –Cesar Chavez

As we join together in spirit this Sunday, March 16, 2008, I pray that we are all blessed with the strength, courage, and determination to make it through this week of fasting. This week will be a time of sacrifice and reflection. We will be united in spirit as a single voice of conscience, and resounding collective expression that will reach humanity from every corner of the earth.

This week people across the globe will be joining us in solidarity in support of life; in support of my release from one of the most deplorable conditions encountered by a human being — unlawful incarceration — and on behalf of people across America who were sentenced to die in prison when they were children.

The imposition of life without parole sentences on children is an inhumane act that both offends and defies the will of the Creator. The sentence is an act of cruelty that strikes at the very core of the human spirit. It is callous disregard for the inherent dignity of human life, and is diametrically opposed to the idea of redemption.

This fast is also in memory of children sentenced to life without parole who have died during their prison terms and never received a second chance to experience freedom in their adult lives. Though their lives became casualties of state-sponsored atrocities against children, they are not forgotten. As long as we continue to mention them they will always be remembered.

 I am currently housed with the person who has been incarcerated for the longest period of time in Michigan history. He, too, was sentenced to die in prison when he was a juvenile. His name is Oliver and he has been incarcerated since 1947. He entered prison at age 16 and is now 77-years-old.

Oliver will die in prison if House Bills 4402-4405, which would abolish life without parole sentences on children, is not enacted into law. And, because of numerous health problems, his death could occur in the near future.

Oliver’s continued incarceration is a testament to the callous, unforgiving spirit of the criminal justice system. He was condemned to die for a crime he committed over 60 years ago and the State of Michigan has vigorously sought to carry out their intention.

Your participation in the fast is noble. It will serve as an inspiration to the world, and to
those sentenced to die in prison when they were children, that change will come. They will know they have not been abandoned.

Tomorrow, March 15, 2008, will begin my 19th year of incarceration. While it is a reminder of the many years I have been robbed of my freedom, it also marks one more day I come closer to the eventual restoration of that freedom.

As I fast each day I will be constantly reminded of the sacrifices we are all making for justice, and in defense of the human rights and protection entitlements of children. You will remain in my prayers throughout the week as I sacrifice on behalf of myself and others. I will reflect on the suffering that humanity endures each day as a consequence of the cruel sentences being meted out against children by judges across the country.

Know that every moment that passes during the week I will be totally committed to the fast. Mentally, physically and spiritually I am more prepared than ever to succeed in fasting each day this week. I am honored to be joined by each of you.

Thank you for your continued support, and please keep me in your prayers. History is in the making, and you are each active agents in making that reality manifest. Without you none of this would be possible.

In Solidarity,

Efren Paredes, Jr.

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Published in: on March 17, 2008 at 3:43 am  Leave a Comment  

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