Generally the American system of justice is pretty much a failure, to a large degree. This case may turn out, and we feel will turn out, to be a victory for Joan Little, but even if Joan Little wins her case, that doesn’t vindicate the American system of justice. Because Joan is a poor person, she doesn’t have a lot of money, and the only way that she would have been able to win this case would be that a lot of people have donated a lot of money and a lot of time. Poor people just can’t amass a defense like this. These kinds of cases are happening across the country every day, all the time. And one case that gets in the limelight where things go right doesn’t mean that the whole system works.
By Joan Little’s Attorney Marwin Miller being interviewed in 1974. Source: The Black Power Mixtape (p.186).
They do not make the laws to protect anybody; courts are not instruments of justice; when your case gets into court it will make little difference whether you are guilty or innocent; but it’s better if you have a smart lawyer. And you cannot have a smart lawyer unless you have money. First and last it’s a question of money. Those men who own the earth make the laws to protect what they have. They fix up a sort of fence or pen around what they have, and they fix the law so the fellow on the outside cannot get in. The laws are really organized for the protection of the men who rule the world. They were never organized or enforced to do justice. We have no system for doing justice, not the slightest in the world.
By Address to the Prisoners in the Cook County Jail by Clarence Darrow (1902)
The horror that is the American prison system grew out of an eighteenth-century reform by Pennsylvania Quakers and others against the cruelty and futility of capital and corporal punishment. This two-hundred year old experiment has failed.
By The Struggle For Justice: A Report on Crime and Punishment in America (1971)
"Antonio Guzman Lopez was a 38 year old, sometimes transient, undocumented day laborer, a father of a four year old son (Josiah), and stepfather to a 10 year old daughter (Angelique) whom he had raised since the age of three. Antonio spoke extremely limited English, as such he primarily worked odd construction or landscaping jobs, where speaking didn’t matter or his Spanish sufficed. He regularly volunteered at the Antioch Baptist Church, one of the oldest black churches in the state, and THE oldest in the city and county. He also volunteered at the Veterans Shelter and provided and served food to San Jose’s homeless, at St. James Park and The Jungle, amongst other places. By all accounts even those of some SJPD officers, he was a profoundly nice, well mannered and respectful man, a loving father, brother, and friend, a caring spouse, and the joy in his sons life. This however didn’t stop him from becoming a victim of racially charged police brutality and now, murder." For more info visit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Justice-For-Josiah/1431331023779235?id=1431331023779235&sk=info #brownlivesmatter #weneedjustice
Power, properly understood, is the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political, or economic changes. In this sense power is not only desirable but necessary in order to implement the demands of love and justice. One of the greatest problems of history is that the concepts of love and power are usually contrasted as polar opposites. Love is identified with a resignation of power and power with a denial of love. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.
By Source: pp. 324-325 in The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Edited by Clayborne Carson (1998). Grand Central Publishing.