Former South African President, Nelson Mandela once said, “Forgiveness liberates the soul.” Allow me to display the power within these immortal words:
William Little was the product of the 80’s crack era. Gold chains, fly kicks, and the tightest whips were the goals of a young hustler seeking the street acclaim of his or her peers.
“No one expected to live long. Everyone expected to dress well.” Back then; a hustler lived for the day. Tomorrow would work itself out. Feel me?
William Little served 10 years in prison for the murder of Lamont Hatton’s younger brother. Lamont Hatton was intent on avenging his brother’s murder. For more than a decade, he watched his brother’s killer walking around their South Philly neighborhood as a community hero, speaking out against gun violence. “My mentality at the time was either kill me, or I’ll kill you – I don’t care,” Little said.
Lamont Hatton spent many days in the barbershop where Little was employed. Without Little knowing who Lamont was, the brother of his victim was able to covertly stalk him.
Eventually, Lamont realized he would be doing his community’s youth a disservice by servicing his own selfish needs for vengeance. “I remember thinking, I’m no angel. People forgave me. Why can’t I forgive Will? I can be around this brother now. I don’t have no hatred.”
Lamont watched Will run after school mentoring sessions throughout the city. He watched Little lead hardcore poetry slams that dramatized life-changing choices with the realness of a man finding new life.
As I write this, I can’t help but think of the grave lengths the state of North Carolina is going through to cause and witness my death. My covert stalkers are willing to spend millions of dollars for my state sanctioned execution.
The combination of meals, appeals, medical expenses and housing makes the common taxpayer a prisoner as well. The practice of capital punishment covertly stalks the prisoner within the walls, and the prisoner living outside the parameters of the concrete box.
Human beings are designed to forgive. It’s what we do. The story of William Little is proof that even killing can be forgiven. False accusations can be forgiven as well – even if the false accusation leads to the wrongful conviction and state sanctioned murder of a Mann striving for blind justice.
There’s no way I can say this enough: I DON’T WANT TO DIE. However, spending the rest of my life in prison, for a murder I didn’t commit, is not a relief from my present circumstance. I refuse to be content with not being executed. I’ll simple keep doing what I do until my day do freedom arrives. Writing and forgiving.
“I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul, by making me hate him.”
Booker T. Washington
Former Presidential Advisor, Abolitionist and Author
Copyright © 2014 by Leroy Elwood Mann