According to a press release from Ebony, the all-Black publication will be joining Bishop T.D. Jakes and more than 20 other pastors in a press conference on Friday, July 3, to request a commutation of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s sentence and debt forgiveness for tens of thousands of African American farmers across the country.
In 2013, Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison after being convicted of 24 counts of racketeering, bribery, extortion, mail fraud and other related charges. Nevertheless, this is the longest sentence ever given to an elected official in the history of the United States. Advocates for Kilpatrick say that this clear case of excessive sentencing is symbolic of the victimization of Black men and women in America’s criminal justice system.
Kilpatrick has also been identified by prison officials as being at high risk for contracting COVID-19 and has been placed in solitary confinement.
Additionally, the Dept. of Agriculture continues to foreclose on African American farms, even though the stipulation of a federal court judgment says that their debt is forgiven. Over 7,000 farmers with an accumulative 1.5 million acres of land stand to lose their farms as these foreclosures continue.