This is Uhuru Rowe. Help make 2017 my last year of incarceration.
Happy belated new year to all of you. I wish you all the best on your personal and professional endeavors. The beginning of a new year always presents an emotional and psychological paradox for those of us in prison. On the one hand, it is a time for us to be thankful we survived one year and we lived to see the next. On the other hand, it is a time when we feel profoundly alone and depressed because it represents another year we remain confined in a prison cell away from our family, friends, and community. At least, that is the paradox I’ve experienced the last 21 new years.
But 2017, which marks my 22nd year of incarceration, feels different. Maybe all the years I’ve spent inside of a concrete box has made me irrational, maybe a bit delusional. But my newfound optimism feels justified. It’s rooted in the rising tide of opposition inside and outside of prison against the criminalization, mass incarceration, warehousing, and disenfranchisement of poor people or people of color, which amounts to what Michelle Alexander has coined “the new Jim Crow.”
My clemency petition, which has been pending for two and a half years, has reached the last level of the review process and is now sitting on the governor’s desk. Governor McCullough, whose term in office ends January of 2018, represents an oasis for unjustly convicted, excessively sentenced, and longtime rehabilitated incarcerated people fighting for our freedom here in Virginia.
Governor McCullough may be our last hoop of freedom amidst the rising tide of fascism being stirred up by Donald Trump. So I am calling on all concerned citizens who believe in justice, fairness, and second chances to please get organized around the struggle to win my freedom and help make 2017 my last year of incarceration. I need 100 people to call governor McCullough on our behalf at 804-786-2211 and urge him to commute my sentence. If you don’t get an answer, please leave a message and then call again, or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need any additional insight on my case, history, and accomplishments in prison, you can go to my blog at aconsciousprisoner.wordpress.com and search for my post titled “21 Years a Prisoner.” Please reference my former name, which is Brian Lee Rowe, as an A.K.A. in addition to my name, Uhuru Rowe, in your phone calls or emails to the government.
I thank you in advance for all your love and your support. Again, this is talking to you live on Prison Radio.
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.