Words written by those who face the same struggle for justice as Tony... by those who know him... those who share the bonds of family with him... those who stand in solidarity with him...
By Haramia Ki'Nassor (Kenneth E Foster Jr)
The death row walk is undoubtedly one of extreme complexities.. The struggles with life, torture, despair, hope, death etc. are ones that can be put in no simple words. Each of us as unique beings will deal with these things in different ways and because of our unique essences and beliefs there's just no way that another man can instruct the other in exactly how to walk their path. However, it is my hopes that as ones who face a common fate. and go through common things, we can listen to each others experiences, especially when they may lead to the greater good.
I came to the question - do we humanize the death penalty? Have we sat by so thoroughly inactive that we inadvertently promoted this process? This came to mind when Texas death row inmate Tony Egbuna Ford launched a month long protest against his execution date. Brother Ford decided to non-violently protest his execution to make a statement to society that he was not ok with the death process he was going through.
How many have done this? In Texas, 4 men have physically fought before their executions; Desmond Jennings, Ponchai Wilkerson, Emmerson Rudd, and Shaka Sankofa. Todd Willingham made them drag him. This is 5 out of 300-something executions. What this means is that 300-something men walked to their murders – the majority having elaborate death feasts (that which probably won't even digest) before their executions. I asked myself; what message does this send to society? The conclusion I came to was, I', okay with this..
This statement creates controversy as many feel their manhood is being questioned. Well, it is not. What is being questioned is our wide range vision towards this capital punishment process. It is my wholehearted opinion that no death row inmate should walk to their execution. I passionately express that to those inmates who condemn the death penalty (the reality is that all death row inmates do not), and to get out there and launch campaigns to save their lives, If we can do that in the outside world, we can do that on the inside. I believe it's our duty to make this statement – to burn this into the psyches of our captors, other inmates, the system and the media. As one says "the death penalty is wrong", we should stand on that until the end.
I know this is a sensitive time (facing a date) and one may not he willing to sacrifice like Brother Ford. Due to his protest the administration took his property, showers, recreation, and suspended his visits. They didn't take his spirit or dignity though, and for those of us standing with him, we are going through the same restrictions, yet we are not broken either. Tony had prepared for all this saying his goodbyes a month ahead of time and dedicated his last month to the struggle. What courage and dedication! Many won't do this, but that's not a total loss. When those people come to walk you to that death chamber, just refuse to participate. What are they going to do? Write you a case? You don't have to physically fight. If media comes to see you, tell them what you will do. Let the world know that "I'm not participating in my own murder!" What do all of you think society would feel seeing hundreds of men and women doing this? I think it would he very provoking. It's almost 3,600 death row inmates nationwide, but how often does this happen?
Some will try to manipulate you and say "a real man would walk head high". This is nothing to he proud of. It's an abomination. Some will say "what's the point you're going to die anyway". The purpose is to expose this to the world. Since 1976. there have been over 1.000 executions. There could have been hundreds of statements saying "I'm not ok with this", and that has nothing to do with being at peace or remorseful -- that is if you're guilty or wrong for your crime. One protest does not contradict the other.
In my eyes I see this as the final statement against this death penalty. If you're a Christian and believe in n
se, youon-violence, lay it down and pray out loud about the blood on these guards' hands. If you're a Buddhist, speak about their Karma. If you're a Muslim, remember your code of righteous Jihad. All of the Prophets were warriors.
Our lives have been changed by this process. Our families crushed. We need to help end this process so that the cycle of pain ceases. This one way we can play a role. This is one way we can allow the barbaric nature of the system be seen. I appeal to your conscience and principles. As politicians seek to further oppress us we have to step it up a notch to end this death penalty. I do believe that the above movement is one long overdue. I hope that you'll deeply consider it.
In Spirit, Strength and Struggle,
Kenneth Haramia Foster
(Note: When Tony Ford launched his protest in November 2005 a group of comrades (known as DRIVE: Death Row Inner-Communalist Vanguard Engagement. See www.drivemovement.org] simultaneously started a non-violent protest against death row and its decaying conditions. The protest is still active. Tony Ford received an indefinite stay and since then several others protested their execution: Shannon Thomas, Marion Dudley, Tommie Hughes and Kevin Kincy).
Posted by strugglemag at 07.18 PM
4Strugglemag, July 24th 2006
*This article can be read in its original context at http://www.4strugglemag.org/archives/cat_issue_7.html
By Rachael Ford - written as Tony faced his second execution date in three months...
An innocent man is about to be murdered.
We know the date. We know the time. We know the location this crime will occur.
Now imagine this man was someone you knew. Someone you loved. Does this knowledge
make you want to act? Does it make you want to prevent this crime?
This innocent man is my husband, Tony Egbuna Ford.
My husband has a scheduled time and date for his murder. He knows when his killers will come and lead him to his death. He knows how they will kill him. He knows the routine his last day on this earth will follow. He knows when he will die. But there is no police department he can call who will come to save him. He can only call out to you.
My husband has been incarcerated on Texas Death Row for 13 years. He has been caged in a cell barely large enough to fit a bed in for 23 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 13 years. He has experienced being shunned by society. He has experienced the brutality of the guards that cage him. He has experienced the pain of being separated from all he knows and loves. And he is innocent. INNOCENT.
Tony Egbuna Ford is scheduled to die
for 90 days for
denied consistently ever since his arrest 14 years ago. Yes this is a cause for celebration. Surely you say, justice will now be served? Would you feel so confident about that if justice had been denied your loved one for 14 years? If evidence which could have exonerated him, had been held from his attorneys for 14 years? Would you trust this same system to now let the truth be shown? Would you feel able to relax and let the authorities from the same state that sentenced your innocent husband to death, now disclose the truth? Or would you still be mistrustful? Would you still resolve to fight?
I pray that justice will be served. I pray that the truth will be given light. I pray this one judge will do the right thing. Because I cannot call any police department to save my husband's life to ensure that the verdict is just. I can only call out to you. Please do not turn your back. We need your help. Tony needs your help and time is short. Please join us in the fight to save an innocent man, my husband Tony Egbuna Ford.
Justice for all.