Stop Them Killing a Hero

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Stanley Tookie Williams, California's best known death row inmate, is due to be executed on 13 December.

Stan, who is African-American, grew up as a victim of racism and poverty in Los Angeles. In 1971, at the age of 17, he co-founded the Crips, which soon became the city's most notorious street gang. Eight years later, eager to get him off the streets, the LAPD framed Stan for four murders. Even though there was no physical evidence, he was convicted by an all-white jury and a notoriously racist district attorney.

Since 1981 Stan has been in San Quentin prison. He spent years in solitary confinement, and with no help from the authorities began to rehabilitate himself. He renounced his gang past and over the past decade has published nine award-winning books for children, warning them away from gangs and prison. Stan's books have been used in schools around the US and the world. The peace protocol on his website (tookie.com) has been used to end gang warfare in cities like Newark, New Jersey. This amazing work has resulted in multiple nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Now, however, Stan's appeals have run out, and the only thing that can save him is a massive campaign demanding clemency from governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. For more information about how to help, visit www.savetookie.org.

Phil Gasper
California