CHUCK AFRICA’S PLEA TO THE WORLD
Richard Kanegis | 04.23.2008
Chuck Africa wrote a plea, last year, for elderly dying prisoners be allowed to die at home with their families, that may alert people to the fact that elderly prisoners are human.
In a message dated 10/8/2007 11:42:31 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,email@example.com
I write this letter to communicate a grave concern of mine and maybe yours once reading this.
A sea of apathy floods the cell blocks and corridors of Graterford State Prison as scores of elderly/terminally ill inmates are dying at a rapid and alarming pace. The mere fact of anybody dying is not remarkable by itself; but cold indifference can border on the inhumane when people capable of easing needless suffering fail to act. It is not my intent to suggest that there is a quick fix to a complex situation involving many individuals. However, I do know that there are certain men here who you have observed closely over the years that deserve to be released from this institution.
Counselors, Staffers, Administrators, Psychologists, Guards and Religious Authorities: You have all at various times interrelated with and gotten to know the character of many men here and you can make common sense evaluations and intelligent recommendations regarding this dire situation. Where there is clearly no valid reason pursuant to humanity to continue holding terminally ill men there should be alternatives. I realize that there are more priorities in the world that over shadow that of prisoners and this is not a call to lift the needs and concerns of prisoners above others; it is simply an attempt by me to shed light on a crisis here that requires special attention. Me expressing it with such urgency comes from the real fact that I watch Mr. Edward Williams (Abdullah Shah) AF-4687 wither away before me on A-Block. He is clearly ailing. And I’ve recently observed the late Jerry Mims’ last days as a walking dead man. Helpless and harmless. (1) The bulletin boards continue to announce more memorials as dead faces line the walls on an almost daily basis. Surely some of these men could’ve/can have a positive impact on the communities outside. There can never be enough wisdom out there that people can benefit from. Especially in the wake of the vicious streak of violence plaguing the inner cities.
Finally, while death is inevitable to us all, in here and out there; terminally ill men should at least get to spend their last days of breathing with family and friends. Along with this letter to prison officials I’m calling on all Ministers, Guards, Rabbis, Chaplains, Priests, and Imams to have the courage as men; the moral imperative as spiritual guides; and the willingness to adhere to your conscience as human beings and do what’s right: Put forth an intense effort to gain the release of some fathers and grandfathers who continue to languish in here unjustly (in every sense of the word) and without any more clear penological and rehabilitative purpose.
The months of April and May of this year alone have had more than twelve deaths.
Charles Sims Africa, AM-4975
(1) One of many who’ve succumbed to a terminal illness and is now deceased. And I have witnessed many other stricken men die in similar fashion between 2002-2007.
Cc: Philadelphia Tribune Newspaper;
Cc: Senator Shirley Kitchen, 1701 West Lehigh Ave., Phila, PA 19132
Richard Kanegis adds:
Prejudiced people think that Blacks or the Chinese aren't human, or less human than good While folk. A lesser noted prejudice is those who believe that prisoners are less human than good ordinary people on the right side of the law.
Chuck Africa has a parole hearing this May. The other members of the Move 9 are having parole interviews this April, including two women Janet Holloway Africa, and Debbie Sims Africa that never ever banished a gun or threatened anyone. Chuck could use letters to the parole board in his support, but I'm sure would prefer, for the time being, last minute letters of support for his friends who are currently being considered for parole.
Letters supporting parole can be sent to, Chairman Catherine C. McVey, Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, Attn: Inmate Inquiry, 1101 South Front Street, Suite 5300, Harrisburg, PA 17104