Ajamu Baraka on Crime



Death penalty for whites is tactic to stop black opposition

When Loretta Lynch, the African American Attorney General, announced that the state would pursue a death sentence against Dylann Roof (the White nationalist who murdered nine African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina), some in the African American community applauded the decision as an appropriate response that would lead to something they defined as "justice." However, for many other African Americans, justice for a racialized people is an impossibility in a colonial state in which racial and class dominance, violence, and systemic de-humanization represents its internal logic and core values.

The decision by the DOJ to pursue a death sentence for Roof should be seen as no more than another tactical move: by appealing to African Americans, the group in the country most consistently opposed to the death penalty, state propagandists saw this as a perfect opportunity to undermine opposition to capital punishment and facilitate the process of psychological incorporation.

Source: 2016 vice-presidential campaign website, AjamuBaraka.com , Jun 26, 2016

Apply international rights against U.S. racial profiling

This week we commemorate the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As we engage in dialogue about human rights around the world, we should take a moment to remember that human rights are not only rights that must be upheld in other countries but here at home in the US as well. Despite the promise of America, social and economic inequalities are still too often delineated along race, ethnicity and gender lines.

The Convention Against Racial Discrimination would help effectively address racial profiling in a way that existing civil rights law does not. Racial profiling continues to be a widespread and pervasive problem throughout the United States, impacting the lives of millions of people in the African American, Asian, Latino, South Asian, Arab and Muslim communities. Congress can take direct action to help address the scourge of racial and ethnic profiling by bringing this country into conformity with the Convention Against Racial Discrimination.

Source: ColorLines.com OpEd by 2016 vice-presidential hopefuls , Dec 10, 2009

Worked to abolish death penalty as human rights activist

Ajamu Baraka, a human rights activist who has worked to abolish the death penalty for 15 years, will receive the Abolitionist of the Year Award this weekend from the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Baraka directed AIUSA's [Amnesty International] National Program to Abolish the Death Penalty over the past 12 months, at a time when intense international attention was focused on capital punishment in the United States. Baraka is now the Director of AIUSA's Southern Regional Office in Atlanta.

"We are honoring Ajamu for his longtime service and remarkable dedication to the abolition of the death penalty," said the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty's Executive Director. "As Southern Regional Director of Amnesty International, Ajamu has traveled extensively throughout the South, highlighting not just the death penalty cases that receive tremendous media attention, but each and every case, regardless of the level of publicity."

Source: CommonDreams.org, "Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty" , Oct 19, 2001

Abolition follows examining death penalty in a moral context

Baraka noted that tremendous progress has been made in the past two years toward educating the public about the cycle of violence perpetuated by the death penalty. He is optimistic about building on that progress.

"We have an abolition unity plan among organizations at the national level, growing doubt about the death penalty system, significant momentum with the moratorium in Illinois, and a lot more scrutiny of the system as a reward for our hard work," Baraka said. "As the public continues to examine the death penalty in a moral context, I believe that support for abolition of the death penalty will grow." He emphasized that this award is for all of the people who have worked to abolish the death penalty in the United States. Baraka calls on activists "to stay the course and victory will follow."

Source: CommonDreams.org, "Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty" , Oct 19, 2001

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Page last updated: Aug 22, 2016