Burning Spear News
The Whirlwind: Letter from Richard Mafundi Lake
May 10, 2013
EDITORS NOTE FROM OMOWALE KEFING:
Below is a reprint of a letter from political prisoner, Richard Mafundi Lake. Also below is a reprint of the pamphlet that "The Committee to Free Richard Mafundi Lake" has written and is distributing throughout the U.S. as part of the work to win Mafundi's release.
The release of this material here in The Burning Spear newspaper and Uhuru News is an effort by the African People's Socialist Party to join with Carol Lake, Mafundi's wife and his defense committee, to win Mafundi's release of more than 29 years of unjust incarceration.
Historically, African men or women of uncompromising principles who relentlessly fight for freedom, human dignity, social justice and racial redemption often find themselves victimized by the U.S. judicial system which is used to maintain the traditional colonial relationship that Africans have had to U.S. white power since our arrival on these shores.
But even with real or threatened imprisonment or death, there has been those of us who have stood up throughout our forced relationship with U.S. imperialist colonialism.
They have never defeated our will to resist foreign domination, oppression, and exploitation.
Mafundi is such a man that stood up.
I met Richard Mafundi Lake during the mid to latter part of the 1970's while doing work to Free Dessie Woods, an African woman in Georgia who had defended herself from a traditional white colonialist rape attack in 1975.
This was during an era where virtually every pro-independence organization in this country, for the most part, had been turned into a "free this political prisoner or that political prisoner" organization.
The U.S. government's counterintelligence program (COINTEL-PRO) had devastated the ranks of our organizations.
We were either murdered in our sleep like Fred Hampton in Chicago; framed up and put in prison like Geronimo Pratt in Los Angeles; or chased out of the country like Robert Williams in North Carolina and Pete O'neal in Kansas City.
After COINTEL-PRO and other U.S. military organizations having forcibly transferred the Black Liberation Movement from the streets to the prisons, many prisoners became conscious revolutionaries and began to organize within the prisons itself.
Mafundi, who was locked down in the Atmore-Holman Alabama prison complex, organized Inmates for Action, which became one of the foremost prison resistance organizations in the U.S.
National campaigns arose to free the Atmore-Holman Brothers, and Mafundi ended up spending 12 years in solitary confinement before being release in the latter 1970's.
In 1978 and ‘79, myself and Mafundi traveled throughout the U.S. building the African National Prison Organization and a movement against mass incarceration, and freeing political prisoners and prisoners of war.
Mafundi was also an integral part of the international movement, led by the African People's Socialist Party to free Dessie Woods.
This is the work, in addition to his history as an African revolutionary, which made Richard Mafundi Lake an enemy of the State, and landed him in prison.
The African Socialist International and the entire Uhuru Movement is in total unity with Carol Lake and the Free Mafundi Support Committee to win his freedom.
The Mafundi letter and pamphlet gives us some direction on what you can do.
Free Mafundi! Uhuru!
To: My Friends and Supporters
This is my personal thank you and appreciation expression for your years of love, loyalty and support for me during my years of incarceration.
It has been a long ride and I will be forever grateful for your continuous support throughout the years.
As I stated, it has been a long ride, it has been over 29 years of hellacious and unjust incarceration!
Some of you have been by my side from the beginning and some of you became my supporters at a later date, but I am equally grateful for each of you.
Some other people who do not know me too well expect me to be remorseful because of my conviction and incarceration. I am certainly not remorseful!
I am angry and deeply resentful of the devastation done to me and my family! I am certainly not forgiving or forgetful!
How and why should an innocent person be expected to be remorseful is beyond me.
I deem such an expectation to be insulting and insane! Only a guilty person can experience remorse for his or her crime.
I am absolutely innocent of the alleged crime of which I am convicted. I am not unique in this regard.
Look at the number of people who have been exonerated for wrongful convictions in recent years—many after serving numerous years in prison!
America has a gravely flawed judicial system, and especially in regards to Black people and other people of color.
It has been proven time and time again that the American Judicial System is inherently racist!
My case is not an aberration of justice. My case only illustrated the commonality of American injustice!
On the issue of remorsefulness:
I have a lot to be remorseful for!
I am profoundly remorseful for the fact that my baby daughter was only three months old when I was incarcerated, but during my incarceration, she has earned a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering.
I have three children who were high school students when I was incarcerated, but two of them are now retired from the U.S. Navy after serving 20 years, and the other is employed by the City of Birmingham.
I have a daughter who retired from AT&T and now has her Doctorate’s Degree.
I have a daughter who was six years old then and is now employed by UAB Hospital.
I am remorseful for all the birthdays, graduations, celebrations etc. that I’ve missed with my family during these more than 29 years of incarceration.
I am deeply remorseful for the burdens my wife took on while raising our family alone for the past 29 years!
I am remorseful for the loneliness she endured in my absence! I am remorseful for the many nights she cried for me!
My wife is a very beautiful, intelligent, proud, strong, principled, talented and college educated Black woman who would more than likely be supportive of me regardless, but she would never defend me if she thought that there was any possibility of my being guilty.
Rape is a very heinous crime and the only crime more reprehensible than rape is the false accusation of rape!
I have a very great deal to be remorseful about, but I have no remorse for my unjust and unlawful conviction—only a deep-seated bitterness for being taken from the joy of my family!
I love all of you who have stood by me through the horrific ordeal. Hopefully one day I can somehow, in someway repay you for your solidarity and loyalty.
Be assured that I will seek every opportunity to do so.
In love and gratitude,
Richard Mafundi Lake
P.S. Members of my Support Committee are available for speaking engagements and fundraising events. We welcome all opportunities to share my story or distribute materials regarding my case.
Write to Richard Mafundi Lake #079972, 100 Warrior Lane, Bessemer, AL 35023