Kim Wilson interviews formerly incarcerated activist Kempis “Ghani” Songster in part one of Beyond Prisons episode 29.
In 1987, at the age of 15, Ghani was imprisoned for homicide. Despite his age, he was certified as an adult, convicted of first degree murder, and given a mandatory life sentence without parole, or what is increasingly known today as death by incarceration. Thus, he became one of America’s many juvenile lifers/condemned children.
While in prison, he developed and facilitated programs to help people behind the walls with him, as well as programs to help people on the outside. He also co-founded outside organizations such as The Redemption Project and Ubuntu Philadelphia, and is a founding member of Right To Redemption, which helped launch Philadelphia’s Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (CADBI).
After 30 years of incarceration, Ghani was released from prison at the age of 45. Since his release, he has joined the staff at the Amistad Law Project, a grassroots abolitionist law collective working for the release of others, as they fight to end the sentencing of human beings to life without parole/death by incarceration and to abolish prison industrial complex. He has also joined the membership of Ecosocialist Horizons. Ghani continues to organize actively for healing justice and a more livable planet.
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