Inauguration Bleachers

From the Archive

Daily Update – Days 2 & 3 of the Fast for Justice

The Pentagon announced today it transferred two Yemeni men — Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby – from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Ghana.
Both men had been in Guantanamo for 14 years. 

105 men remain in the prison. 

Daily Update – Days 2 & 3 of the Fast for Justice

Days 2 & 3 of our fast have now ended, and we write as we enter Day 4.

“If there is no struggle, there is no justice.  –Frederick Douglass quote in the National Portrait Gallery

Action at the National Portrait Gallery

Our second day began with reflection about the idea of home – what do each of us think of when we think of home? 

We spent some time on Day 2 at the National Portrait Gallery’s “Struggle for Justice” exhibit, which features portraits, art and quotes relating to historical activists, movements, and struggles.

Our presence in the gallery – wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods – served to augment the current exhibit of famed justice struggles with a showcase of Guantanamo prisoners.

One of the fasters, Brian Terrell, reflected: “We put the men in Guantanamo in context with the other men and women who have struggled for justice in (and sometimes against) the United States.”

Reflecting on our solemn procession back to First Trinity Church, our home for our time in DC, Chrissy Stonebraker-Martinez said this was her first time putting on the orange jumpsuit and black hood.  “As one of the ones in an orange jumpsuit, the isolation, the confusion of the black hood, and the dependency on others, was really moving today.”

The procession was interrupted at one point on the walk by a man who stopped his car to ask what this was all about.  After a brief explanation, he voiced his agreement with closing Guantanamo, and added “shut down all the prisons.”

Fort Dix Five

On the evening of Day 2, many of our community left for Camden NJ, where a court hearing in the case of the Duka Brothers was to take place. 

The Duka brothers received life sentences plus 30 years for their tenuous-at-best role in a government-manufactured “conspiracy” to attack the Fort Dix military base. At their trial in 2008, the government’s own witness (an informant paid to entrap the brothers) conceded that they had never been told about any conversation regarding Fort Dix. But under federal law, in a conspiracy case all associates are considered equally culpable, even if they do not know of the existence of a plan. The Duka brothers were convicted for a plot they literally had never heard of. They are as much victims of Islamophobia as the men in Guantanamo are.

Day 3 began with allies from No Separate Justice and others outside Federal Court in Camden, NJ.  Despite the bitter cold, our group and others stood outside the courthouse for more than 4 hours. We held banners and signs while chanting for the release of the brothers. The Duka brothers’ family showed up to the hearing in large numbers. Only 40 people were allowed to sit in the courtroom, and those seats were mostly filled by family.  

Action in DC

While half of our community was in NJ today, the other half stayed in DC where we woke up at 7am to walk around the neighborhood and tie donated scarves to the street poles.  The scarves were tagged with notes that encouraged those who need a scarf to stay warm to take one.  By 9am, all 75 donated scarves were claimed.  The rest of the day was spent meeting and building towards tomorrow (Thursday’s) action. 

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