To Be Truly Human

The denial of food for one’s self is such a small thing when one contemplates the denial of justice for so many in our world. Fasting in solidarity with Efran and in the hope that hearts and laws will be changed. May every yoke be broken, may the oppressed be freed, may we discover what it means to be truly human during this time of death and rebirth.

-Kim Redigan

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Published in: on March 18, 2008 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Here’s To Ressurrection

Elena Herrada
Detroit, Michigan

Today was the first day of the fast for Efren Paredes.  We held a press conference, which the Michigan Citizen attended, but none of the corporate press attended. They are fixated on our erstwhile mayor. There was just a handful of us. We hope that those who were sentenced as children are freed soon. It is a crime against humanity to lock away a child for life, without hope of freedom. What makes it so agregious is that, like the death penalty, it negates the possibility of conversion . In the case of the innocent person, there are no words for such an injustice.

When i got home from the press conference, my daughters asked me how it went. I told them that the kick off for the fast went well, but that few people joined us. I told them that an issue about prisoners, guilty or innocent, is not important to most people. Otherwise, how could Efren be still in prison nineteen years after being sent away as a child for a crime he did not commit? Who cares? Mothers and some family members, if one is lucky. Many families in Detroit are too poor to make the trip to visit their loved one far away. How could we ever calculate how much of our collective human capital has been squandered by imprisoning children? What could ever restore them?

From the beginning of my involvement with Efren’s campaign, i have connected with Velia, his mother.   She was the inspiration for me to bring attention to his case so that he could be given a chance at justice, so long after his youth was stolen from him. Who cares? A mother cares.

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Published in: on March 18, 2008 at 8:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Passage of Scripture

-Bill Wylie-Kellermann
Detroit, Michigan

Friends:
Just a passage of scripture of which I’m mindful as we begin these days together. From Isaiah 58:

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Published in: on March 17, 2008 at 10:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

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.

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

The Thought of Injustice

The mere thought of such epistemic injustice exemplified by the story of Efren is heartbreaking, brings tears to my eyes, makes me keep on going in hopes that someday the institutionalized oppression that shapes our lives will one day be reconciled.This coalition-filled effort makes me think of another hunger strike that took place last year in November: a slightly different occasion but a completely inter-connected thread of struggle for social justice…

Columbia students hunger-striked with these thoughts and hope in mind…
“With luck, Columbia will see the starvation of our bodies as a bellwether of our growing desperation on this campus. It’s a shame that Columbia was not more alarmed when we said our minds, hearts, and spirits
were starving, too.”

As another display of solidarity and strength takes place, I would just like to end by saying my heart goes out to all those in the fast during the coming week. We must keep on fighting, keep on struggling.

Isang Bagsak

Published in: on March 16, 2008 at 7:10 pm  Comments Off on The Thought of Injustice  

Lighting a Candle

I will not be fasting – because of advanced age and dietary issues – but I will be lighting a candle the first thing every morning, starting Sunday (tomorrow).
Roz

Rosalyn Reeder

Published in: on March 16, 2008 at 7:04 pm  Comments Off on Lighting a Candle  

The Injustice Must End

The Injustice Must End (TIME) committee has called for a week long fast in Support of Efren Paredes, Jr., the over 300 Michigan prisoners, and the 2,000 other juveniles across the country sentenced as juveniles to mandatory life without parole. The Fast is taking place from Sunday, March 16th 2008 to Saturday, March 22nd 2008.This blog is a living history of the thoughts and reflections of people across the continent participating in the fast. Our words and stories bear witness to the Injustice of Efren’s Incarceration. The Injustice Must End.
Published in: on March 12, 2008 at 6:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Fast 4 Freedom, Fast 4 Efren Paredes, Jr.

FAST FOR JUSTICE FOR EFREN PAREDES, JR., THE 300 MICHIGAN JUVENILE LIFERS, AND 2,000 JUVENILE LIFERS THROUGHOUT THE USA

This is a call by The Injustice Must End (TIME) Committee to join and support a fast during Holy Week 2008 on behalf of Efren Paredes, Jr., the over 300 Michigan prisoners, and 2,000 other juveniles across the country sentenced as juveniles to mandatory life without parole. These are veritable death sentences and have been ecumenically condemned by the international community. In a season of public passion, we are passionate about their freedom and release.

The fast will begin at 9pm on Palm Sunday, March 16, 2008 and conclude on Holy Saturday, March 22, 2008 at 9pm. Press conferences will be held in Lansing, Detroit and Calfornia on Monday, March 17 to declare the fasters’ support of Efren Paredes, Jr., the 15-year-old Latino honor student wrongly convicted of murder and robbery by a nearly all-White jury in Berrien County, Michigan.

The injustice perpetrated against Efren occurred in 1989. He was sentenced to two life sentences without the possibility of parole and one parole-able life sentence. The fast marks the beginning of Efren’s 19th year of incarceration. To learn more about this injustice you are invited to view our web site at http://www.4Efren.com.

The fast supports the commutation request recently submitted to Governor Granholm on Efren’s behalf and House Bills 4402-4405 currently pending in the Michigan House of Representatives. Enacting the bills would abolish the imposition of life without parole sentences on juveniles in Michigan and provide the possibility of parole to the 300 plus prisoners incarcerated for crimes they were convicted of committing when they were children.

Legislation to abolish juvenile life without parole sentences in Nebraska, Florida, California, and Illinois is currently pending, and efforts are being made to ban the practice in Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Washington as well. Our call is being heard across the nation.

Some fasters will undertake the entire week on water, others on juices. Some people will join the fast by choosing one day of the week to participate. Others will lend their prayer, voice, and presence to this effort of the spirit.

The tradition of Lenten and Holy Week fasting has always been an act of preparation and solidarity with those to be baptized or reconciled to the community in the Vigil of Easter. In the case of people wrongly convicted or unjustly held, it is the community which needs to be reconciled to the prisoner so that justice may be restored. Our fast is to that end.

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 9:25 pm  Leave a Comment