Next First Step. . Message from Ben Carnes LPDOC - Leonard Peltier
By Ben Carnes
LP-DOC Natl. Spokesperson
I wish to offer my personal thanks to everyone for your continuous work and dedication. I was at my computer Friday morning when my google alert brought me the first news of the denial, and then I received an email from Wanbli containing the same news. It was like the dam busted, I received several hundred within the first hour and a half from many of you expressing your sense of outrage at the injustice done to Leonard.
One of my friends wrote something to the effect that a new movement was born today. I really want to see this and so does Leonard, I know we can all agree the White House needs to feel it.
So what is it going to take? It is going to take everything we got - 101%! And trust me - this kind of commitment demands sacrifices and you will be challenged for your stand on this principle. When Leonard was convicted, the late Lew Gurwitz stated, "This is a case that is not going to go away!" Lew lived his words traveling and sleeping in his car to create the awareness of this case. When he passed on, his brother Shep took up the cause. There are many of us who have been here supporting Leonard for years.
Last year, we made a commitment to do what we can to bring Leonard home before his birthday next month. We have less than three weeks to really put our hearts into this, and some of us have personal responsibilities and burdens to overcome and it comes down to making some hard decisions. It isn't going to be easy. So as a National Branch Support Group Coordinator, I want to ask everyone if they would consider again forming a branch support group in your area. We have a lot of organizing and networking to do with the clock ticking.
We have to overcome the media turning a blind eye to Leonard’s plight. They are more than happy to spread detrimental news of his parole, as you have noticed recently. Let’s turn this into something positive for us, each of you can write letters to the editor in your local respective paper. Sit down and write a letter expressing your disgust and outrage.
As most everyone has heard, the White House phone lines were shut down today immediately after the news came out. The fact they shut down the lines is proof of how they were overwhelmed. You know that was brought to the presidents’ attention. I hope he leaned back in his chair and looked out the window of the Oval Office, and really thought that day about Leonard Peltier. And how much he obviously means to the people to shut down his hi-tech phone system.
And relatives, we only flinch! We’ve known the system has not treated Peltier fairly in the 33 years of his imprisonment. Imagined what would happened if we shouted? So yes, we need a revitalized and disciplined movement, not only for Peltier or other native prisoners, but also for all of us.
Once, we were a movement of people who traveled around the country to help put out fires of racism, greed and abuse. We have learned a lot from those days of protesting, civil disobedience or conducting roadblocks and occupations of government offices some valuable lessons. We also know that we are now in the day of hi-tech surveillance capabilities and out of control police powers. We don’t need more people going to jail. The government is doing a good job as it is, so be mindful of what you do and say, but always speak from the heart and act with your conscience. Don’t allow oppression to silence your voice of dissent – not now.
When there is a call to action, we can be more effective in organizing in our own communities, you know what resources are available to you there and it is going to take solidarity actions across this country, including developing media contacts, mainstream/alternative, in your locale. That is a good place to start because we will grow in numbers quickly, whereas, if we attempted to travel across country at great expense, then we may cut our participating numbers down dramatically.
Those of us who have been doing the work had to start alone or we might have had help, but we all started somewhere. We had to, just as we have to keep building this up. So for now, go to http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/ and fill out the application to form a Leonard Peltier Branch Support Group (city or state), and then Monday morning, your first action is to ring the phone off the hooks at the White House, and start recruiting your friends and other organizations to follow this course of action. Do this as often as possible throughout the day, everyday.
We’ve been saying that we wanted to start a prairie fire of outrage to the Oval Office of the White House for Peltier, and now we have cause. Leonard Peltier should not have to spend one more birthday in prison for something the government admits they cannot prove.
Offer your prayers to the Creator to give you guidance, then join this international movement for our brother and lets bring him home.
Email completed application:
firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com.
We've got some work to do now.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse and Leonard Peltier,Ben Carnes