President Trump granted Alice Marie Johnson clemency on Wednesday ending a decades long battle to freedom after she was convicted of a first time, non-violent drug offense in 1996.
The 63-year-old grandmother will shortly be released from the Aliceville Correctional Facility in Alabama where she plans to reunite with her family.
But much to do was made after Kim Kardashian, one of Johnson’s most public champions, paid a visit to Trump’s house last week, to advocate on Johnson’s behalf.
While it was clear that Trump is more willing to lend a listening ear to those with money–specifically those who have astronomical influence and power, critics and supporters were split on the following argument: damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Well Kim, since Trump clearly gives you the floor, I’m wondering if you’d be willing to talk to him about a few things.
(DISCLAIMER: Before you get aggy in the comments, I realize there are century-old layers of systematic oppression that have to be acknowledged, unpacked, undone AND rectified before we inch even a centimeter close to having the below items come to fruition. This is CLEARLY tongue-in-cheek wishful thinking and does not rely solely on Kim’s shoulders.)
1. How many more deaths and beatings at the hands of police have to be exposed before the White House and the Trump administration, unequivocally denounce police brutality? Kim, do you think there’s any way you could gather Trump and FBI Director Jeff Sessions in a room so that they can work together with congress and local governments in striking down legislation that allows for frequent acquittals when it comes to these particular cases?
2. Kim, while you’re there, please try one more time, to explain to Trump that the National Anthem protests are about calling out oppression against communities of color. Pressure him to do more work to look at the framework of nationalism and how it compounds with the nation’s leniency towards excusing racism–which in turn uses the American flag as the framework to look the other way.
3. It’s been over 240 days since the people of Puerto Rico were affected by Hurricane Maria, a national disaster which left the country flooded and without power. Since October, Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, the mayor of San Juan, has appeared on every national news outlet to make the case known: the people of Puerto Rico need the American government to step up. Multiple celebrities offered assistance, but the incessant news cycle has struggled to keep the conversation centered around the country’s needs. A recent study conducted by Harvard researchers discovered that the storm may have been responsible for over 4,600 deaths. The people of Puerto Rico need aid, and as a territory of the United States since 1898–America has a fundamental human right to do so.
4. Kim, we know you don’t see color, but here’s the thing–intimate partner violence against Black women needs immediate national attention. While there’s a large historical context which originates back to the American Slave Trade, coupled with the fear of reporting partners to the police (see first item above), financial security, isolation from their communities, religious convictions, and the positioning that Black women are less valuable and often criminalized– violence against women of color is not uniquely American, it’s a global issue. Black women experience intimate partner and domestic violence at rate of 35% higher than that of white women and 2.5 times the rate of other races. Black women are also killed at a rate of 4.4 per 100,000 people, accounting for a significantly higher rate than women of other races.
5. Since you were able to help Alice Johnson, there’s a growing list of commutations and those who are in need of clemency due to extenuating circumstances. There are also major cases Cyntoia Brown, a victim of child-sex trafficking, who could use a little help from the president if the governor of Tennessee, Brown’s home state, decides against offering clemency. We know you’ve also eyed her case, would you be willing be willing to persuade Trump to come to the same conclusion?
Kim, let us know if you can help. We’d greatly appreciate it.