Greetings brothers and sisters, and thank you for attending this
event to listen, learn, teach, and organize. I am Leonard Peltier, a
proud Lakota and Anishinabe American Indian activist, organizer, and
patriot. I am likewise, unfortunately, a fellow political prisoner in
this 'land of the free.'
I, along with my family, my supporters, and American Indians
everywhere, know full well what the justice system of the United
States can mean to the brown man, the black man, and any man or woman
who dares to think or talk truth to power.
That we have been made targets in our own country should outrage
every single man and woman everywhere, no matter the color,
background or political leaning. That this country continues the
barbaric practices of executions should be opposed by all people of
Whether or not you approve of capital punishment is irrelevant as
long as minorities are executed with alarming disparities. Whether
you approve or not is of secondary concern when people like Mumia Abu
Jamal, myself and many others are convicted and sentenced to die with
evidence that would exonerate most any white man. As such, every
single progressive organization should oppose the death penalty as we
now know it.
This has not been a case of justice or the law, it has been politics,
racism, and control, and we should confront these issues long before
we decide who to execute. As long as we have these inequities in our
midst, we will continue to convict and execute innocents. Execute -
let's call it what it really is - state sanctioned murder! Why does
America allow this brand of 'justice' to exist?
That is a question that must haunt the soul of every true American
patriot. For as long as it does, America can never be the bastion of
freedom it has claimed to be, the light in the darkness it wants to
be, nor the high ground of morality it hopes to be.
Pay attention to the names this government uses when it is opposed.
The American government has called other countries 'evil empire' and
'axis of evil.' The rest of the world hears this and scoffs!
Why? Because they see this country convicting, imprisoning, and
executing innocent minorities and political liabilities while
claiming to be a free society - because they see corporate personhood
allowing the rape of the Earth and desecration of the sacred -
because they see this country waging illegal war while claiming to
love peace - and because they see this country propping up murderous
dictators while giving lip service to human rights. The rest of the
world sees all of this and wonders, is not America the real evil empire?
I, like Mumia, have been called a terrorist by my own government.
Well, I never knew a terrorist who advocated the rule of law as we
have. Some people need to find a new dictionary!
There may be other parts of the world which are breeding grounds for
terrorism, but this government makes sure they have fertile ground to
harvest. We are not the terrorists! I love my country. Progressive
thinking people love this country. It is thusly our patriotic duty to
respond to such government with righteous indignation! It is only
when we allow a corrupt government to corrupt our very minds that a
patriot becomes a terrorist!
As long as you are willing to work for justice, all political
prisoners can still hope for freedom. Real power starts from the
bottom and goes up, not the other way around. Free Mumia!