INSIDE THE BEAST
INSIDE THE BEAST
I came to Texas Death Row in 2001. I was fortunate enough to be encaged around brothers like Kenneth "Haramia" Foster, and Tony Ford who encouraged my self-embetterment. I was introduced to spoken-word (poetry), Swahili, Dr. Na'im Akbar's Visions for Black Men, Akil's From Niggas to God, W.E.B Dubois' Souls of Black Folk, Tyrone Powers' Eye to my Soul, Howard Zinn's A People's History of the U.S, and numerous others. This was the rain and sunshine I needed to grow through the manure of miseducation I began to discard-my reprogramming process.
I also began studying Death Penalty Law, not for recreation, but to educate myself of my rights so I wouldn't be depending blindly upon lawyers appointed to represent me by the "adversarial process" (Judicial system). The more law I learned, the more I wrote these attorneys concerning claims I wished to raise in my appeal. Studying Death Penalty Law, combined with my own trial experience, only deepened my understanding of the corruption inherent in the Death penalty Process.
One of the first brothers I got close to (Reginald Reeves) had a profound impact on disenchanting me from subcultural misconceptions. Here was a solid, conscious brother that pretty much schooled me on the haps with Death Row when I first got here. He was my first neighbour. And up until his state-sanctioned murder (execution), I knew nothing about what he was convicted of. This is personal business that prisoners tend to leave alone, unless it's made known to everyone. As i listened to the news on the day this brother was murdered by the state, I was shocked to hear he was convicted of rape and murder; something that makes people targets of retaliation in prison, ostracizing him and anyone who associates with him. I thought to myself "what would have happened to my growth if I refused to associate with this brother should I had known he was a rapist?" This experience helped me see Death Row prisoners from the perspective of "that’s my father" or "that’s my brother" to see the Humanity within these walls of death.
These things, compiled with witnessing one of my neighbour's (Kenneth Clark) murder-by-medical-neglect, and the ever deteriorating conditions of our confinement, formed a lethal concoction. My conviction that knowledge is void without implementation forced me into activism. Operation Revelation (see www.operationrevelation.org) became a tool I would utilize to educate the people about an atrocious Death Penalty system. Then in 2003, I went to Level-3 the highest level of psychological warfare prisoners are subjected to-for training in unconventional resistance. From that point on I would engage in resistance, fomenting activism wherever I could. All of which culminated into my consolidating with a group of dedicated brothers in D.R.I.V.E: Death Row Inner communalist Vanguard Engagement.
We've watched these dehumanizing conditions spawn a reactionary suicide (ones taking of their own life in response to their social and/or economical conditions) amongst death row prisoners, who dwell in various stages of despair; from those that have given up fighting for their right to Life, to those that lay in in their own waste, drop their appeals to expedite their execution, or commit suicide. Conditions merely revealing the inherent corruption of the Death Penalty system. DRIVE, therefore stands against the death penalty, while demanding as close to humane treatment (because confinement under these conditions can never be humane) as possible as long as we have to be confined. We strive to create a sense of dignity and brotherhood within these walls through standing in solidarity with our fellow prisoner-turned brothers, while relaying avenues to the death row community can and should utilize to attack these oppressive forces that creates our environment, as opposed to permitting our own emasculation, and ultimately, our destruction......which amounts to the destruction of civilization.
"There is in the world no such force as the force of a man determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained "--W.E.B. Dubois.
Like a Phoenix from the ashes of ignorance in the vicious cycles of reactionary suicide/homicide, arose Omari Huduma (Swahili for: The Highest Service). This is not merely a name I've adopted, but a state of existence; my philosophy of Life. Not only do I strive to realize my highest (omari) self, but i dedicate my life to uplifting all oppressed people as the highest service (huduma), fighting to preserve Humanity's dignity until civilization becomes a reality; whether I'm on death row or not. I AM undaunted.
"Reactionary Homicide" is community suicide; it’s the outward response to reactionary suicide inward response.
This piece only highlights those instances that had the greatest impact on my life