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  • Writer's pictureNajah Amatullah

Justice for Julius

Believe it or not, I don’t post if I don’t have anything to say (speaking of social media, not this blog that I have been neglecting). Beyond that, I try to only say something when I have a “good” addition to the conversation. I am sorry if any of my followers view my silence (on this topic) as violence.

Julius Jones does not deserve to be executed. There is not enough evidence against him. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board knows this and that’s why they have recommended a commuted sentence TWICE. The first was denied. Governor Stitt has to decide to approve or deny the second one. If he denies, after he has already refused to speak to the Jones family, Julius will be executed on Thursday November 18.

The state should not have the authority to execute anyone. We stopped operating on “an eye for an eye” a long

time ago. But the very complicated, nuanced, and fear-inducing #DefundthePolice and #AbolishPrisons conversation is for another day. Please keep reading.

I am only able to find something to say to anyone who wanted to hear my voice on this matter because of the unwavering leadership of Leah, Lauren, and Callie Palmer. Their grace. Their ever-molding faith. Their steadfastness.

All words that I haven’t had need for since leaving Christianity.

If you’re like me, in regards to the Julius Jones case, you’ve known about it for months. Big ups to the work of my brother, Jabee (and Jess Eddy and Francie and team and so many thanks to Nymasis and our Indigenous siblings for having feet on the ground as well). But it felt like a lost battle before it began. The video footage of Stitt’s assistant dismissing the family made you think “my voice won’t help.”

Maybe you, like I, have watched Oklahoma politics long enough to know that it might not help.

But the posts of Leah and Lauren Palmer (footage primarily by Callie) has helped me see why I have to raise my voice anyway.

My heart was pricked specifically by Leah's post on Tuesday: “There are prophecies and prayers floating in today’s air as we await word...There is a miracle at midnight & God’s purposes cannot be thwarted. May you be full of belief and hope on behalf of #JuliusJones today.”

If you’re anything like me, “exvangelical,” “pagan,” “universalist,” whenever you hear people pray for justice, you’re always wondering “which God?”

If you’ve been following me for a while you may have seen me say: all of them.

I rewrote myself some faith statements a year ago to reflect the change in my beliefs. Yesterday, after reading Leah’s unwavering faith, I added this one: “I am connecting to community that will dismantle what oppresses and rebuild what sustains. I have generational backing and Divine blessing to shield me from that which oppresses. I am fuel for those who are in the midst of their fight against oppression. I am clarity and insight for those who need the next push.”

This post is for those of you who aren’t sure you believe in the same God as those who still believe in the death penalty. It’s for those of you who are confused about how church leaders can support the things that harm who is closest to your heart.

My ancestral line is full of faith. It’s full of pastors. It’s full of teachers. I converse with them regularly and they help guide me in these new paths. There’s more to see from the ancestral plane (“Heaven”). If Black people go back far enough in our lines, our ancestors communed with, sacrificed to, petitioned more than one god. So today, I appeal to whichever gods protect the Jones family line. In this moment, the only thing that matters is that whoever can moves on his behalf. Whether for Julius or against the spirit of oppression, whether for the Jones line or against the abuse of power in our state, whether for Black people or against the new slave system of prisons, whether for Indigenous people or against the spirits of the colonizers.

I petition

I call

I light a candle

I present an offering to whatever gods might move.

And I ask you to ignite whatever benevolent energies you can as well.

Dismantling the system happens one person at a time.

Whatever god can hear us, we couldn’t save the others. Please move on Julius’s behalf. Let his hashtag end here.

(click for full post)

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