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Winston-Salem chronicle. (Winston-Salem, N.C.) 1974-current, October 27, 2016, Page A9, Image 9

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FORUM ? I _____ ______ ?HB|| V w v w v V v 1?ip^p^JMHBBHP^f?*? v-^uppr-^.^IPPPff ?' is freedom? >. ? t ;& J'^V '^*2'' * ":''v-'" A "^%Le*.1 " '- fT.' ^Ti-j.. ? .jjH^li. '?' ''. ' ? ? '? .4? ??'? ' '?? *i--36l*I ?- * ? ?-'" ? ^~" m ? H JamikaR. Burnette Guest Columnist According to the National Registry of Exonerations, out of 873 individual exonerations from January 1989 through February 2012, defendants collectively spent more than 10,000 years in prison for crimes they should have never been convicted of. My question is, when will Kalvin Michael Smith be free, and to what expense will he receive his freedom? While current debates reflect falsities regarding bogus assertions of exoner ating the wrongfully accused, Kalvin Smith's reality consists of a recur ring nightmare. Stuck in a continuum of agony, he wakes up every day as an innocent prisoner suspend ed within the restraints of a system that erroneously accused him of a crime he didn't commit - a situation that appointed officials can fix, but have simply failed to do so. At the end of the day, everyone opposite of those prison walls can live a liberated lifestyle, but Smith is void that opportu nity. Being a free black man in America is a reference as paradoxical as Aphra Bhen's mention of a "Royal Slave." Nothing is royal about any facet of being a slave, and nothing is free about being a black man in America's society. Kalvin Michael Smith's case reveals social and political truths that amass slavery-like elements, and divisions of mental, spiritu al, and physical brutality - which result in anything but freedom. The elements of Smith's case allow us, as un-incarcerated citizens, to inspect the true trials of the human experience that is wedged within the w$bs of an abhorrent criminal jus tice system. For centuries, America's done a fine job representing systemic oppression through the vices of European superior ity and colonialism. These inherited concepts thrive as the paradigm of our justice system to this very day. Our "Injustice" system is simply an allegory of unprincipled, manipula tive, evil behaviors and century-old trends that show us firsthand that the "system" just can't be trusted. Caught in a web of socio-economic, cultural, and POLITICAL factors, Kalvin Michael Smith's wrongful incarceration dis plays specifically how the African-American man is warehoused for con sumerism, exploited, and commercialized based on the features of the institu tions he belongs to. So, is Kalvin M. Smith a metaphorical illustration of modern-day slavery within a romanticized turned-political justice sys tem? Is he a prime example of the racism and the cruel ties of modem slavery within the core of a social structure that promotes inequality among all disad vantage and marginalized groups? Our criminal justice system romanticizes free dom in the form of a freewill that is offered to us by elected officials, selec tively. For example, based on the institutions we belong to, a person can choose what schools his or her kids go to, where they live, or where they work, as they are "constitutionally free." However, in all actuali ty, our freedoms are desig nated and assigned from a footing of racism and the unscrupulous, biased, and horrific exploitations of human lives. Our criminal justice system has the abil ity to make the horrid sound meek, and make our "freedom" seem less restricting and racist than it really is. Unfortunately, Smith is a major, public example of what a margin alized human being in this society has to sacrifice for a large measure of freedom - his life. Kalvin M. Smith is not the "feigned hero." He is a true, human and very real hero of the mass es. It's beyond time for jus tice. Free Kalvin Michael Smith! Jamika Rose Burnette, a native North Carolinian, has been a freelance writer since 2008. As a content writer, she creates informa tive articles for various websites while pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in English. She is also an active supporter for the Can-Do: Justice through Clemency nonprofit foun dation that advocates clemency for all non-vio lent drug offenders, who are caught in the conun drum of the drug war. Burnette is continuing her studies at Salem College. Republicans began downward spiral by blocking president James B. Ewers Jr. Guest Columnist The politi cal posturing and back and forth will come to a screeching halt on Tuesday, xt~.. o ii r l^UV. o. wc can all agree - Democrats, Republicans and Independents - that this has been the most vicious and mean-spirited presidential campaign in modern day history. New attack ads and unreasonable strategies were coming from one candi date's camp almost on an hourly basis. It is my opinion that the Republican Party has only themselves to blame for this political farce of a campaign that they have repre sented. Republicans in Congress spent the past eight years blaming President Barack Ob&ma for everything from the weather to the economy. They had a constant mantra of "no." No to healthcare, no to women's rights and no to education. These were only of a few of them! Instead of trying to develop meaning ful dia logues with President Obama, the Republican Party. used "no" as their everv day response. President Obama used many approaches to try and establish a relation ship with them but nothing worked. I will use three adjectives and they are smart, black and male. Barack Obama fits all these categories. While they will never, ever admit it, many Republicans, not all Republicans, just could not*take it. Their privilege, their pride and their self-perceived power could not understand how a black man could become the most powerful person in the world. Even some in our communities were against President Obama not because of his policies and proposals but because of his race. Unfortunately, too many African Americans suffer from a crabs-in-the-bar rel mindset. We simply do not want to see other African-Americans succeed. Sad. ? So now for many months, the Republican Party has had as their presi I ? "Shame on the Republican Party. They should be thoroughly embarrassed." dential nominee a man who gloats about not paying taxes, a man who demeans women and a man who questions the fun damental integrity of the voting process in this country. These are just a few of the tru isms associated with the Republican presi dential candidate. Shame on the Republican Party. They should be thoroughly embarrassed. For example, the state of North Carolina has become the laughing stock of the country because its Republican governing body passed HB 2 into law. They want to legis late what bathroom its citizens can use. So if you are a Republican in my home state of North Carolina and you supported this law, then shame on you. I am unbridled in my enthusiasm for what will happen on the night of Nov. 8. Somewhere between 10 p.m. and mid night, television stations across America will announce that Hillary Clinton will become the next president of the United States of America. I can hear Martha Reeves and The Vandellas singing now, "They'll be dancing in the streets." A few weeks ago, as President Obama talked about the Republican nominee's credentials, some people began to boo. The President's appropriate response was, "Don't boo, vote." We must as rational thinkers and rea sonable people vote in record numbers on Nov. 8 to ensure the victory for Hillary Clinton. We will be making history with each of our votes. I am excited and I know you are. Get your snacks 'ready, invite your friends over because on Nov. 8, we will see Hillary Clinton become the first woman to become President of The United States of America. James B. Ewers Jr. EdD. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator. He can be reached at ewers.jr56@yahoox:om. Bad Hombre Tom Hastings Guest Columnist Watching the 2016 campaign is hypnotically akin to the gawker slow down that affects traffic with the slightest accident. Rubbernecking the three most recent Trump offens es in any given week has given America an entirely new hobby. *He might be insulting KIA Muslim American sol diers or their parents, as he did with Capt. Humayun Khan. That was brilliant. - t Tack on his clumsy idiocy about John McCain, telling us that he. Trump, prefers pilots who don't get- cap tured. Does he not realize he sounds like a sociopath ic son of Saddam with these chickenhawk utter ances? ? ?He might be mocking people with disabilities, as he did with reporter Serge Kovaleski. That took courage. Trump, for all his bluster and pomposity, is a profile in pusillanimity. ?Inexplicably meeting with Enrique Pefia Nieto, President of Mexico, with out bringing up The Wall he's designed against all the rapists crossing the bor der now. The Wall that Trump decides unilaterally that Mexico will pay for. Ineffable. *He really fixed that when he called Pope Francis "disgraceful" for the Pope's critique of the proposed Wall. Just to con tinue with the Catholic vote, he managed to be the first candidate in memory to get booed at the Alfred G. Smith Memorial Foundation traditional can didate roast. ?Perhaps his basket of deplorable comments about women in general and specifically. Maybe he's caught on tape brag ging about his woman groping. Donald! Basic Groper manners - get per mission, then grope away. Calling Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe, Miss Piggy. Women are ? loving you, Donald. Referring to Carly Fiorina, he said, "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?" (OMG, Trump, look in the mirror when you say that and same thing when you call someone a "nasty woman.") ?Luckily, he is on top of the refugees-as-terror ists-in-the-US. crisis. Oh, that's right. Zero terror attacks by refugees inside the U.S. to date. Looks like they've all been vetted ade quately, so far, despite his hysteria. We could go on, but let's just leave it with a secret for The Donald: Oscar Wilde was brilliant, but your devotion to his erroneous dictum, "There is no such thing as bad publicity," is your political undoing. You have your base of basket cases and that's it. Michelle, you get four years off for great behav ior, but we want to see you run in 2020. No one could heal this nation better. Tom H. Hastings is Founding Director of Peace Voice, of the Oregon Peace Institute, http://www.peacevoice. t

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