The EBONY Foundation has partnered with numerous notable African- American pastors and other community leaders around the country to call on President Trump to grant clemency to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick who is currently serving a 28-year sentence.
The coalition of notable Pastors, business and religious leaders co-authored a letter to President Trump asking for him to grant clemency to the former Mayor and referenced the President’s most recent pardons and commutations and the extremity of Kilpatrick’s sentence.
“Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison for his crimes. And while there has been a lot of debate about his guilt or innocence, we are arguing neither, rather, we are opposing the excessive nature and length of his sentence. Kwame Kilpatrick’s punishment of a 28-year sentence does not fit the crime. While, Mr. Kilpatrick made grave errors in judgment as Mayor, looking at his sentence in comparison to other public officials in public corruption cases who were convicted and sentenced around the same time, you see the unfairness of Mr. Kilpatrick’s sentence: former Governor Blagojevich – sentenced to14 years, former Governor Bob McDonnell – sentenced to 2 years, former Congressman William Jefferson – sentenced to 13 years. All of these men are currently home either via the appeals process or because of commutation. Hence, we are seeking similar consideration and leniency in commuting the excessive sentencing of Mr. Kilpatrick’s 28-year sentence for these non-violent, public corruption crimes,” says Rev. Samuel Tolbert – President, National Baptist Convention of America.
EBONY Foundation’s National Director of Community Outreach and Engagement, Pastor Keyon Payton said, “For 75 years EBONY and Jet magazines have been a trusted brand in the African American community. Our vision has been to highlight the great accomplishments of African Americans who have helped to shape the moral and cultural ethos of our great Nation and to inspire hope amid the African American struggle for racial and social justice in the Land that we also call “home”. EBONY and Jet has highlighted many of these injustices throughout the years whether it was the publication of 14-year old Emmett Till, whose open casket was published in 1955; the footage in EBONY and Jet publications of police brutality perpetrated against nonviolent protesters during the Civil Rights Movement; or our publication that highlighted the need for bail and prison reform in 1971. Today the reality of mass incarceration and its adverse effects on African Americans and our families has grown exponentially worse as there are more African American men, in particular, who are incarcerated in our Nation’s jails than were slaves in the 1800’s.”
The EBONY Foundation has partnered with The Bail Project to launch HOME BY THE HOLIDAY, an initiative designed to combat mass incarceration and reunite families. Through this campaign, forces will be joined to raise funds for bailouts and to drive awareness about the urgent need for bail reform and the human impact of the cash bail system on communities of color.
Pastor Jamal Bryant had this to say to regarding Kilpatrick: “My faith teaches us that all have fallen short at some point in our lives and we all are the beneficiary of God’s grace and mercy. I implore you to consider the totality of Kwame’s contributions to his community and the potential for him to do good work on behalf of others who desperately need help. I believe that Kwame can still author another great chapter of his life and he has my full support as he moves forward with his life”.
Others have lent their voice in support of Kilpatrick’s request for clemency including Angela Stanton, founder of The American King Foundation, who was recently granted a pardon from President Trump. “My prayers are with Kwame. Everyone deserves mercy. Kwame is also deserving of a second chance.”
The coalition is hopeful that President Trump will consider Kilpatrick’s clemency application and commute Kilpatrick’s 28 years sentence. Kilpatrick have served seven years of his federal sentence.
The complete list of pastors that have signed on to the letter are as follows:
- Rev. Keyon S. Payton, National Director, Community Outreach and Engagement, The EBONY Foundation
- Rev. Dr. Steve Bland, Jr., President Detroit Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity
- Detroit, MI
- Rev. K. C. Pierce II, Chairman, Religious Affairs, NAACP, Detroit Chapter
- Rev. Kenneth J. Flowers, Senior Pastor, Greater New Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, Detroit, MI
- Rev. Dr. M. Andrew Davis, Senior Pastor, Zion Baptist Church, Columbia, SC
- Rev. Dr. John D. Duckworth, Sr., Senior Pastor, Gethsemane Baptist Church, Westland, MI
- Rev. Victor D. Tate, Senior Pastor, First Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA
- Rev. Dr. Fredrick D. Haynes III, Senior Pastor, Friendship West Missionary Baptist Church, Dallas, TX
- Rev. Dr. Terrance Garrett, Moderator, Crystal Lake Baptist District Association, Pontiac, MI
- Rev. Quantez Presley, Senior Pastor, Third New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, Detroit, MI
- Rev. Dr. James C. Perkins, Immediate Past President, Progressive National Baptist Convention
- Rev. Dr. Samuel D. Tolbert, Jr., President, National Baptist Convention of America
- Rev. Kip Banks, Sr., Senior Pastor, East Washington Heights Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.
- Rev. Brian K. Brown, Moderator, South Florida Progressive Baptist Convention, Tampa, FL
- Rev. Dr. Delman L. Coates, Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, Clinton, MD
- Rev. Dr. Larry Smith, Senior Pastor, New St. Mark Baptist Church, Detroit, MI
- Rev. Linda Smith, Co-Pastor, New St. Mark Baptist Church, Detroit, MI
- Rev. Horace Sheffied, III, Senior Pastor, New Destiny Baptist Church, Detroit, MI
- Rev. Dr. Madeline McClenney, President/CEO, The Exodus Foundation, Charlotte, NC
- Rev. Dr. Terrance Grant-Malone, Moderator, Fellowship United District, Houston, TX
- Rev. Lamont Anthony Wells, National President, African Descent Lutheran Association (ELCA)
- Rev. Dr. John D. Tolbert, Senior Pastor, Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, Pontiac, MI
- Bishop James Dixon II, Senior Pastor, Community of Faith Church, Houston, TX
- Rev. Dr. Jamal H. Bryant, Senior Pastor, New Birth Church, Atlanta, GA
- Rev. Dr. William E. Flippin, Sr., Senior Pastor, Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church, Decatur, GA
- Bishop Donte’ L. Hickman, Sr., Senior Pastor, Southern Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD
- Rev. Dr. Kevin R. Johnson, Lead Pastor, Dare to Imagine Church, Philadelphia, PA
- Rev. Dr. Mitchell J. Stevens, Sr., Senior Pastor, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Kenner, LA
- Rev. Dr. Lawrence C. Glass, Jr., Senior Pastor, El Bethel Baptist Church, Redford, MI
- Rev. Dr. Kenneth D. Cooper, Senior Pastor, Spring Creek Baptist Church, Moseley, VA
- Rev. Dr. Emory Berry, Jr., Senior Pastor, Greenforest Community Baptist Church, Decatur, GA
- Rev. Ezra Tillman, Jr., Senior Pastor, First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, Flint, MI
- Bishop William H. Murphy III, Lead Pastor, Dream Center Church, Atlanta, GA
- Dr. Kenneth Harris, President/CEO, National Business League