Incarceration Nation

No Matter What They Say or Do, We Die

By Kevin Cooper

Kevin Cooper is an innocent man on San Quentin’s Death Row in California. He continues to struggle for exoneration and to abolish the death penalty in the whole U.S.

They elect the first African American President of the United States, and we still die. They say that we now live in a post-racial America, yet we still die. 

President Obama says to the youth to be patient, because change takes time, and while we have patience, we still die. President Obama says that times have changed, and that things aren’t as bad as they used to be. Times may have changed, but we are still dying!

They say that they are fighting a war on drugs, yet we die. They say that they are fighting a war on terrorism, yet we die. It appears that no matter what kind of war that they claim to fight, we die!

When they seek justice for their kind, we die.

When they stand their ground, we die.

When they claim to be protecting their 2nd Amendment right to the United States Constitution, we die.

When they enforce the law, we die.

When they think, we die.

When they get scared, we get dead.

When they chase us, we die.

When they protect and serve, we die.

Certain people in positions of power within this country often speak about the importance of peace and the rule of law. Yet when we peacefully protest, we die by the hands of the law. When we protest against their violence towards and against us, we die. When we vote, we die and when we don’t vote we still die!

Who are “We?” We are the poor and minority peoples of this country. The “have nots” within the land of the “haves.” We are Black, and Latino and Native American, and Asian and poor white. We are Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Queer. We are the “other” Americans, but we are Americans. But most importantly, we are all human beings. 

It’s an historical truth, no matter what they say or do, we die!

Who are “They?” They are the powers that be, the status quo, the law enforcers and makers, the unjust criminal justice system, which they own, run and control. Despite what some of them claim, this is not about “a few bad apples.” These inhumane things have been going on far too long within this country for it to be just a few bad people doing these inhumane things to their fellow citizens. This is institutional racism and classism within America. This can no longer be business as usual, not in these times. 

As long as it stays the same and doesn’t change, we will continue to die, here in the “land of the free” where “we” are said to be equal. What kind of equality is this where only the poor and minorities get death by any reason?

Write to Kevin Cooper at:

Kevin Cooper C-65304, 4 EB 82

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974