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San José, CA: Free Leonard Peltier!

By staff

Protest demands freedom for Leonard Peltier.

San José, CA – On June 26, supporters of American Indian Movement (AIM) leader Leonard Peltier gathered in a park to commemorate the 43rd anniversary of the shoot-out that led to his incarceration of more than 40 years, making him one of the longest-held political prisoners in the U.S.

The event was organized by the Silicon Valley Leonard Peltier Support Group. Emcee Donna Wallach of the SVLPSG chaired the program. Participants in the 500 Mile American Indian Spiritual Marathon, which just completed its 40th annual run, began the program, speaking about how Leonard Peltier had inspired them. Masao Suzuki of the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee (NOC), told of the Japanese American community’s fight for redress and reparations for the World War II concentration camps. He then recited the history of the struggle at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota in the 1970s, and how Leonard Peltier was railroaded to a life sentence in prison.

Poet Leticia Garcia Bradford read her poem on the struggle at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as one of Leonard Peltier’s poems. Laurie Valdez of the community group Justice for Josiah spoke of the continuing struggle to seek justice for the killing of Antonio Guzman Lopez by the San Jose State University police. Latu Tapaatoutai of the International Migrants Alliance read their statement condemning the Trump administration’s policy of child detention.

The program ended with a picnic and a call to continue to organize to free Leonard Peltier, who is incarcerated in federal prison in Coleman, Florida.

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