by Karima Amin
I received some good news last week. I was elated to learn that John Walker is no longer on lifetime parole. At first, I was in total shock. John’s life had been totally relegated, for nearly two decades, by a system that basically ignores the humanity of formerly incarcerated people. I called John immediately to confirm what I had heard and he verified for me that his life on lifetime parole was over. I have spent a week, remembering the many times that John was a guest speaker at our PRP2 meetings. I recalled numerous occasions where I had heard him speak at rallies, forums, speak-outs, teach-ins, panel discussions, and conferences over the years at schools, colleges, churches and other public spaces. His call for justice was always strong, clear, humble, and correct. The need to overturn Indictment #41-413 has been a rallying cry that many have heard and, unfortunately, many have ignored, failing to recognize the fact that injustice for one is injustice for all.
John Walker will be our guest speaker at this month’s Prisoners Are People Too meeting. He will talk about being wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to 17 years when he was 16 years old in 1977. He will talk about what happened to his co-defendants. He will describe the 22 years that he spent behind bars in three New York State prisons. John was released on lifetime parole in 1998 and for 18 years he has been in a fight to reverse his conviction and clear his name. A sitting judge, the Honorable James A. McLeod (who was a lawyer in 1977) has publicly stated that there is evidence to prove that John Walker and his friends could not have committed murder on a night in early January of 1976.
I plan to invite Judge McLeod to this meeting. His perspective and the reasons for it are important. I am also extending an invitation to Judge Timothy J. Drury who was the District Attorney at the time of John Walker’s trial. Perhaps he will come or send someone from his office who can explain why the Court has been so unwilling to consider exoneration for John Walker.
For 40 years, John Walker has been punished for a crime he did not commit. His struggle continues.
This meeting will be held on Monday, April 25, at the Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street, in Buffalo, from 7:00 – 9:00pm. For more information: Karima Amin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 716-834-8438; BaBa Eng, email@example.com, 716-491-5319.
“God has not called us to see through each other, but to see each other through.” (Anonymous)