Civil Rights Group to March in Raleigh
Posted April 1, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
CHAPEL HILL — The April Fourth Survival Coalition, who get their name from the day of Dr. Martin Luther King's death, held a rally in Chapel Hill to gain support for a Saturday march in Raleigh.
The group plans to fight for the release of a young African-American man from prison, who they claim is serving an unjust sentence that does not fit the crime.
The coalition is composed of clergy, students and activist who want better wages, education, health care and job opportunities for minorities.
Coalition member Rev. Mazie Ferguson said, "We want those who can do something about it to hear. We want the people of God, the churches and those who are involved there to help. There is a great movement toward a jubilee, a world and a system where people are treated fairly."
Dr. King's legacy is the group's driving force, and Kwame Cannon is their living inspiration.
Cannon received two live sentences for a series of burglaries. His mother said that the punishment shows a justice system that is unjust to African-Americans.
"There are other people like him that are in prison, that is close to me to. That's our generation, that's our future. So even when Kwame comes out of there, my future is still in prison that I have to work to release," Willenna Cannon said.
Rev. Nelson Johnson, another coalition member, said, "A stream by itself has to find its way around trees and around rocks, the river pushed the tree out of the way, it makes a new path. We need to make straight the way, a new path, and it takes the people coming together to do that."
Another rally is planned for Friday in Durham, and the group will visit the Governor's mansion this weekend.
The coalition wants the Governor to commute Kwame Cannon's sentence. The Governor said that he has reviewed the case; however, he has not made a decision on the sentence.