An update as of 5/31/2019, 5 p.m.
This message is from Bomani/Keith, who has learned about the fundraiser...
If you are receiving this message it means you were secretly in on the most amazing birthday gift I have ever received, and I'm writing to personally thank each and every one of you for reminding me that there's still so much goodness in this world. More than the money attached, I'm humbled by the fact that so many people were involved in making my life a little better/easier.
You know, I was nineteen years old when I first embarked on this journey, and I've seen and experienced things along the way that would shock and shatter the mind of the average individual: I'm talking about man's inhumanity to man. But that's not all I've seen. I've met and become friends with some of the most amazing people on the planet, people who have burrowed their way into the darkness of my life and have provided the light I needed to see my way through. I don't know where I would be (mentally/spiritually) if this weren't true. Somehow, when things seemed at their worst, I've always received some kind of reminder of my strength and worth, a reason to keep believing in myself; like now. :-)
Many of you I have only had minimum contact with: an exchange of letters, a question asked over the phone, a card that simply said, "hello; stay strong." I've appreciated it all, and I want it to be understood that all of it--everything!--has touched me deep inside my soul. It's the reason why I'm still standing, the reason why I'm still sane, and the fact that I'm turning fifty is testament to the fact that love sustains.
Since receiving my execution date, I've been asked over and over again, "What's next?" And I wish there was a simple answer to that question. The more I've learned about the criminal justice system in this country, the more I've come to understand that who lives and dies is basically a crap shoot, which is to say there's no real rhyme or reason why some people receive justice and some people don't. Like most everything, justice is a commodity, a thing that is either bought or sold; and if/when you have no money to pay the price, you roll the dice and hope. . .
I've been hoping (and praying, yes) for some kind of divine intervention, but l've also been trying to LIVE what remains of my life, and not always be caught up in worrying about what might happen to my body on some future date. In this way, I've been trying to address myself to what it means to be alive, to BE here on this planet, in this moment, at this time. Fifty years is a long time to be somewhere, and it seems that I should have a stronger sense of what I'm doing here. To that end, I've been reading and thinking and trying to organize my thoughts around what it means to be free--i.e., what it means to live without fear, to love without hate. As a fifty-year-old, I feel like I should be better at doing these things than I presently am. I intend to do better.
I never thought I would make it this far and still be intact, with a whole heart and mind, but here I am. Thank you all for believing in me, for supporting me, and for showing me sooooo much love. I never thought that was possible either, but here it is: proof that the best possible things are still possible. Please know that I will NEVER give up, never stop believing in tomorrow.
Your friend and brother,
"Shakur" means thankful, and I'm most definitely that! THANK YOU!! :-)
About the fundraiser:
Bomani Shakur (Keith LaMar) is turning 50 years old on May 31st! We are doing something EPIC to show him how much his community is holding him close in this moment. Participating in the world outside of prison is crucial to his quality of life and sense of independence. Funds raised will go to Bomani to purchase educational resources (books, music); to contribute to Native Sons, a not-for-profit literacy project he founded to invest in the intellectual growth of at-risk youth caught in the school-to-prison pipeline; his phone account to allow him to connect with friends, family, and students; and his commissary account to meet his basic needs. This is a way to show a little extra love and give back to our dear friend. After all, Bomani gives of his time and heart so generously to so many.
Participating in this fundraiser:
*Financial contributions: As of May 16th, we are so excited to report that we are VERY close to reaching our goal "50 contributions of $50" with a few offline donations--a symbolic amount we decided on in honor of his half-century birthday! Donations can come from an individual, a couple, or a group of people together in ANY amount, of course. Just click the Donate Now! button and make your contribution (choosing to include a tip to GoFundMe is optional, not required--you may put $0 for that if you choose). Also, if you are not able to give online, you can mail a money order or check to: Amy Gordiejew at PO Box 3656, Youngstown, OH 44513 and we will make sure it is included!
*Something EXTRA Special: We will be creating a booklet for Bomani with pictures and messages from anyone who contributes to this fundraiser who wants to send a birthday note to him. Just post a message and photo (or two) in the comment section on the donation page, or send it privately to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, May 21st. We will compile these into an awesome gift for him to remember this significant milestone!
His is a story about racialized injustice, State corruption, struggle, perseverance and truth. Bomani has spent 26 years in solitary confinement on Ohio's Death Row, awaiting execution for crimes he did not commit during the Lucasville Prison Uprising, in spite of an abundance of suppressed evidence that could help prove his innocence. Recently, the state of Ohio set his execution date for November of 2023.
For more information:
Facebook: Justice for Keith LaMar
Reading: Condemned: The Whole Story, a book Bomani wrote in 2014 for the court of public appeal
Film: Condemned, a documentary film on Bomani's case (updated Spring 2019)
***This is intended to be a SURPRISE until his birthday, so please don't mention it to Bomani***