For Immediate Release

Breaking the Silence on 21st Century Black Lynchings

A press conference to bring attention to the gruesome murders of African Americans by White Police, Security Guards and Vigilantes will be held Tuesday, April 22nd at 1:00 pm by the SpiritHouse Project and victims’ family members at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I Street SW, Washington, DC.

All around the nation, White police, vigilantes, and security guards are murdering Black people of all ages and in unprecedented numbers. Additionally, they are committing brutal acts of torture through beatings, taserings, and hangings.  All around the nation, people are silent, but SpiritHouse Project, a national nonprofit social justice organization, and victim’s families refuse to be silent.

At 9:00 am, Ruby Nell Sales, Civil Rights Veteran, and representatives of the families of slain victims Jack Lamar Roberson, Nathaniel Lee III and Keaton Otis will kick off a national campaign at the Justice Department by presenting a document to get the Attorney General to admit that these killings are wrong and that governments, beginning with the federal government, have a moral obligation to stop these kinds of killings and to help, not hinder, families of these victims to get justice for their loved ones.

Although Jack Roberson was a veteran, he did not die from bullet wounds from strangers in a foreign land. His mother had requested Medics come to save him from a reported overdose of diabetic medicine.  Instead, White police came in riot gear and shot him 9 times.  They say they shot him because he had knives in his hands and was dangerous. In pictures taken at the time there were no knives in his hands or anywhere near his body.  His sister Tracy Roberson will be present to stand up for justice in his killing.

Mrs. Cecelia Jackson and Mrs. Jeanette Thomas will tell their stories of the son and grandson, Nathaniel Lee III who was shot in the back by two convicted White felons who were never charged or tried for his murder.  Five years later his mother, Cecelia Jackson, says that she is coming to DC because she wants the world to know that her son was not irrelevant.  He mattered to people. 

Coming from Portland, Oregon will be Alyssa Bryant whose 25 year old brother Keaton Otis was allegedly shot at 32 times with 23 bullets hitting him as well as having been tasered. 

The April 22nd event inaugurates Spirithouse Project’s national initiative to break the silence on these 21st century anti-Black hate crimes and to demand accountability from the federal government as well as ordinary people of all colors in this country. “We will have press events, mass meetings and teach-ins around the nation,” Sales said. “It is our way of breaking the silence and building a movement similar to the 19th and 20th century anti-lynching movement.  It is also our way of encouraging leadership development and local participation on these issues. These murders without justice have gone on for too long and is reflected in a very troubling statistic that ‘every 28 hours a Black man, woman or child is murdered by White police, security guard or vigilantes. ‘ ”

“Since the late 19th century, going into the 20th century, police and law enforcement officers have too often been allowed to falsely arrest, shoot, and too often, kill, black people,” Sales said. “The heartache of the parents and family members of these victims is exacerbated by the fact that too few of them can get the justice systems in these states and municipalities to act on their behalf.  This is America. This is supposed to be a democracy, and in a democracy, there is supposed to be justice. In these cases, there is none.”

April 22nd – Day of SpiritHouse Project Events

9:00 am Action at Justice Department                                             

1:00-2:00 pm Press conference                                                              

2:OO pm Wilson High School Choir sings

2:30-4:30 pm Teach-In

7:00 pm Worship Service and Candlelight Vigil

With the exception of the Justice Department, all events will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I Street SW, Washington, DC.                                        

For information, please visit the SpiritHouse website, www.spirithouseproject.org, or call SpiritHouse Project, 202-431-0764.  For late breaking news go to SpiritHouse Project’s Facebook page named Breaking the Silence Against Modern Day Lynching. 

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