What November Coalition Means To Me

By Khalid Muhammad, Prisoner of the Drug War

(Editor's note: This letter is a response to Chris Lotze' story entitled 'What this bracelet means to me', Razor Wire, May/June 2000. Chris is TNC graphic designer/archivist.)

Chris, you told your story and those who were listening felt you; you expressed what your bracelet meant to you. I was listening! I heard you. Well, my story is similar except mine is titled "What the November Coalition means to me."

I met a man while in prison; his name is John Torre. John and I became good friends, even though we were from two totally different backgrounds - Torre being a white guy from Kansas, and me being a black man out of South Central Los Angeles. Yet John and I shared a lot of the same interests; we also shared the same common enemy, "injustice". We were both "prisoners of the drug war"; so we realized that injustice was not prejudice. John and I 'clicked' immediately. He told me about his friend on the streets, a friend that wanted to help people fight injustice and create awareness on the streets about our condition. His friend was flat out telling society that injustice does exist right here in America.

This friend of his even traveled to other states spreading the news to people about the injustice in the prison system. John had my attention.

I told him to introduce me to his friend, and he did! This friend was "The November Coalition." What a dedicated group of individuals. My admiration grew for them daily as I got to know them. They were working for a 'cause', against a common enemy. This love I had for my new friend could not be compared to an earthly love; it was a love of appreciation, a love that was spiritual, and any love on that level has to be just. They cared about me and millions of other human beings. They cared about my two sons Brandon and Jihaad. Unlike most of the so-called friends I knew in the past, the November Coalition was 'keeping it real'!

I hear people in here every day talking about 'keeping it real'. Well, keeping it real is speaking out, fighting or even giving your life for the establishment of equity. Oppression is worse than slaughter. Remember that! And that is exactly what the drug war is, oppression, keeping it down, not real.

So, to all my family in the struggle, let's not be like that stalled car on the shoulder of the road. Some of us under the hood of the car trying to fix it, while some are in the back seat asleep; some are in the back pushing the car while the first group are still under the hood attempting to fix it. And then we have those who are on the curb sitting, waiting for the tow truck, and doing nothing more. They're waiting on someone else to fix their problem.

Here's something I feel we all can relate to. Remember when you were little and your brother or your sister got into a fight with the kid down the street? What did your mother used to tell you? "You bet not come home unless you were also in that fight." Am I right?

Well, the November Coalition is like that family member; they are in a fight, and it becomes incumbent upon us as 'family' to jump in and help fight along side them.

If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. Prisoners of the drug war! Introduce your family to your friends, your true friends! And, God willing, they will win this fight with our help.

To Chris, and all my friends at the November Coalition, thank you so much for all that you do. To all the people who give their time, and are connected with the November Coalition in some shape, form or fashion. May your and our efforts someday be rewarded.

To the families of the prisoners of war; keep the faith, justice will prevail! To all of the men and women incarcerated; stay strong within yourself, and don't break weak. Our day is near; so "keep ya' head up."

Peace, Khalid

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