It's a gut-wrenching manifesto that Jasper sent to Gawker.Com as part of their Letters From Death Row series. I saw the letter in a story on their web site at http://gawker.com/....
I'm not given to hyperbole, but I don't think I've ever read anything that left me sadder and angrier than Jasper's letter. It's a must read for anyone concerned about race relations in America, our criminal justice system, our educational system and the role religion plays in our society.
I urge you to read this eye-opening letter, but here are some powerful excerpts:
"We look at slavery like its a thing of the past, but you can go to any penitentiary in this nation and you will see slavery."I've never been to prison, never even visited one...but it sounds like hell on earth--overloaded with young black men, created most especially to assuage the fears of the "haves" and to profit at the expense of the "have-nots" in our society.
"When I walked into prison at 19 years old, I said to myself 'Damn, I have never seen so many black dudes in my life'. I mean, it looked like I went to Africa."
"If God wanted me to die for anything, I would be dead already. I talk to God everday. He's not telling me I'm some kind of menace that He can't wait to see executed."
"As easy as it is for a preacher to stand up in the pulpit with a Bible and tell thousands of people the death penalty is right, I challenge any preacher in Texas, John Hagee or any others to come visit me and tell me that God wants me to die."
Read Ray Jasper's letter. It's long, but well worth the time.