Thursday, February 23, 2017


To Sandstone

Today, after class, I will drive north a few hours and go into the federal prison in the town of Sandstone. I've been there before, so I know the way. I will show my ID and fill out forms and show that I am bringing in only what is allowed.

I'm going to visit Robert Shipp. Twice during the Obama administration I worked with my students in preparing a clemency petition for him. Both times he was denied. Just like the people who did get clemency, I have not and will not forget him.  He has remade himself in prison, and has had a remarkable advocate in his sister Veda Ajamu. He has served over 23 years in prison for a crime he committed at age 20. It was, as with my other clients, a non-violent drug trafficking crime.

The political age we are in now is not gentle or rational. Yet there are moments of both, even in the absence of hope. I hope for that today.

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