Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., the president and the CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the organization co-founded and first led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said today that the legendary civil rights organization will launch a global movement for the freedom of Pervis Payne, a Tennessee man with intellectual disabilities who was sentenced to the death penalty for the 1987 murders of a 28-year-old Tennessee mother and her two-year-old daughter. With the announcement, the SCLC joins a growing number of organizations seeking Payne’s freedom. The campaign has led to a massive movement with nearly one million people signing a petition for Payne’s release.
“We feel that Mr. Pervis Payne has been caught in a system where a miscarriage of justice is taking place in terms of him being sentenced for over 33 years and all of that time, he has been on death row,” Dr. Steele said. “It is a miscarriage of justice in terms of his situation. We have researched it. We have talked to the experts. We have talked to the people involved who have worked with this case for many years. We know beyond a reasonable doubt, Mr. Payne is innocent and should be exonerated.”
For the first time in about a decade, Mr. Payne appeared on Friday in a Memphis court for a hearing on his case that could be decided in December. Dr. Steele was in Memphis on Thursday and Friday to support Mr. Payne. The focus of the SCLC’s effort, he said, is to raise global awareness and drive public pressure to free Payne, other innocent death row inmates and to force the U.S. to end the practice of the death penalty.
According to a 2020 report by the Death Penalty Information Center, there are 2,553 people on death row in the U.S, and, of that number, 1,076 (42.15 percent) are White, and 1,062 or 41.60 percent are black when Black people make up less than 14 percent of the U.S. population. Texas leads the nation with 572 inmates on death row. There are 13 in Tennessee. Zane Floyd of Nevada is due to be executed on July 26th.
“First of all, I do not believe in the death penalty,” Dr. Steele said. “Who are we as human beings to take a life when God gave a life? I believe people who have been involved in crimes and those who perpetually commit crimes, should be punished, but not at the hand of the death penalty. Give them life without parole. This gives an opportunity for those who really know the facts and have researched the facts to bring about the exoneration of people, preventing them from being executed. What if Mr. Payne had been executed prior to his 33 years on death row, then that would have been an innocent man killed just because of the discrimination from people who said he wanted to have a sexual encounter with a white woman after he looked at an issue of Playboy Magazine. Many people of color have been lynched because of the stigma surrounding… white woman.”
Dr. Steele said Americans and those of influence internationally cannot sit idly by and allow this miscarriage of justice to continue. Of the people on death row, five percent are innocent, and no innocent person should be executed.
“We have a right to protect and a right to educate in the court of public opinion that what took place over 200 years ago as far as lynching and unjustifiable executions of people of color is still happening today,” Dr. Steele said. “It is just another form of slavery and modern-day lynching. Memphis, the state of Tennessee and human beings around the world must be accountable. The Jim Crow mentality is why Mr. Pervis Payne is up for execution.”
Dr. Steele added, “If you believe in fairness, you need to get behind this movement on Pervis Payne. You need to march right now. You need to understand what Dr. King said when he said, ‘Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.’ You are just as bad as the prosecutor and people who want to execute him if you do not open your mouth and support this movement. Free Pervis Payne.”
About The SCLC
Established in 1957, the SCLC, whose first president was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is an international organization made up of chapters and affiliates with programs that affect the lives of all Americans: North, South, East, and West. Its sphere of influence and interests have become international in scope because the human rights movement transcends national boundaries.
Vaughn Lowery, founder and publisher of 360 MAGAZINE, is set to release his first book this month. Move Like Water × Be Fluid is a stunning memoir documenting the author’s journey from a childhood in the Detroit’s subsidized, section 8 housing to a successful career in fashion and media. The arc of this remarkable passage twists and turns in surprising ways, ensuring readers will believe in the concept that this life truly is what you make it. The text will debut as an exclusive multi-volume installation within 360 MAGAZINE and marks the inception of the brand’s foray into publishing.
This provocative coming-of-age story explores the power of branding strategy, a technique the writer developed at an early age and carried with him throughout his lifetime. Lowery, from the time he was a young child, is able to comprehend that one’s innate, individual self is their greatest commodity in life. Through the highs and lows that inform his experience, he stays true to that ideal. Lowery puts forward a raw and compelling narrative of a child, and later a man, who repeatedly picks himself up, reimagines his life, and finds innovative ways to move forward. The self-empowerment so emblematic in Lowery’s character and story promotes readers to adopt the author’s tactics in their own lives.
The influence of prominent civil rights leader Joseph Lowery, the writer’s grandfather, is prevalent in this work. A beacon for both hope and progress during the Civil Rights Movement, the legacy of Joseph Lowery weighs heavily on the narrator. This, along with his upbringing and existence as a black man in America, make Lowery both introspective and contextually aware when it comes to race. Moreover, draws parallels between the movement his grandfather championed and led, and the Black Lives Matter movement of today, exposing the failures of our system and calling for meaningful, systemic change. Both Joseph and Vaughn Lowery are members of the first intercollegiate historically African American organization Alpha Phi Alpha. Lowery simultaneously considers the work he can do, as a singular human being, to forward social justice causes in his day-to-day life and interactions with others.
In 1920, his grandmother, Agnes Christine Moore Lowery (the little girl in the blue dress, also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha), came with her grandmother to become the first black to vote in Tennessee. The kids’ book, The Big Day, depicts their journey the day she voted, now available on Amazon here.
360 Magazine is also now selling one of a kind home goods via Chairish, a curated marketplace for the best in vintage and contemporary furniture, decor and art. Check out this piece designed by 360’s founder Vaughn Lowery.
In the year 2020, which has been afflicted with an overwhelming amount of change, there has never been a timelier moment for insight from a man like Lowery. As mentioned, Lowery’s deep ties and connections to racial justice in America feels incredibly relevant, as do his thoughts on digital media, something Lowery pioneered years before COVID-19 forced the world hurriedly online. Constantly at the forefront of social change, Move Like Water × Be Fluid offers an understanding of the current moment, yet looks forward to the possibility of an evolved, cosmopolitan world. One that Lowery aspires to through all his works, including this installation and 360 MAGAZINE.
As we follow the author through grade school, high school and on through Cornell University, we collect advice from a myriad of powerful secondary characters. From all walks of life, these secondary support systems offer Lowery the push he needs to continue on striving towards something better. We watch Lowery model the work ethic of his admired older sister, gain confidence from an encouraging teacher, change the trajectory of his life due to a neighborhood mentor, and learn from the critique of a Residential Advisor. This self-help-book stands apart for never failing to appreciate the importance of an individual’s support system. Fittingly, while the book catalogues Lowery’s journey to success, it inspires and encourages readers in the same way Lowery’s community uplifted him – to take action towards a meaningful life.
Comparable titles to Move Like Water × Be Fluid include other stories of individuals who later turned to publishing their experiences in self-help books. Numerous celebrity examples include Becoming by Michelle Obama, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, or The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey. These titles, as well as Lowery’s first book, all feature introspection and explanations regarding the course of the authors’ lives.
The following descriptions outlines the chapter-by-chapter journey within Move Like Water × Be Fluid.
Chapter 1: The beginning of Lowery’s journey is marked by his complicated childhood in Detroit, distinctly connected to his sense of place and community. Financial struggles and surroundings reminiscent of the song “Gangsta’s Paradise,” as well as the author’s early experience with assault contextualize the course of Lowery’s life.
Chapter 2: A childhood mood, coupled with the realization of his intelligence, swiftly changed the direction of Lowery’s life. Following a move to New Jersey to live with his older sister, Lowery’s early experiences of racism shine a light on his passion for racial justice today. The opportunity to participate in an honored education program again changes the trajectory Lowery follows.
Chapter 3: This chapter offers insight into the ups and downs of high school, a narrative many are familiar with. Yet, Lowery’s poised observations throughout the chapter reflect his early understanding of the world.
Chapter 4: After a remarkable yet complex journey through high school, Lowery achieves the first of many dreams by gaining the chance to attend Cornell University in New York. At Cornell, he is able to expand his understanding of self and what he hopes to accomplish.
Chapter 5:Saks Fifth Avenue recruits Lowery to work in their corporate office, marking Lowery’s first foray into the world of economics and fashion. The advice he gains from mentors in the field prompts him to shift towards a career in acting and modeling, supplemented by working in the Medicare Department of U.S. Healthcare.
Chapter 6: New York, in all its hectic nature, pointed Lowery west towards California where he could further capitalize on his talents in the entertainment industry.
Chapter 7: This chapter details one of the events in Lowery’s life for which he is best known: his commercials as “Joe Boxer Guy” that overwhelmed the nation. Following ups and downs in Los Angeles, this success cemented Lowery’s understanding of his own talents as well as his ties to L.A.
Chapter 8: Following an offensive home invasion, Lowery pivots to continue embracing what life throws at him with appearances on NBC’s “Scrubs” and “America’s Next Top Model.”
Chapter 9: With plenty of capital and the space to complement his next steps, Lowery founded 360 MAGAZINE in 2008, powering through the tidal wave that was the recession all due to his own brains and the belief in his product and brand.
Chapter 10: After another painful reminder of the inadequacies of the justice system in America due to an unjust prison stay, Lowery’s comprehension of what is truly important is once again realigned. Despite his negative experiences, his magazine is able to be on the cutting edge of the Los Angeles scene.
Chapter 11: The number 360 is ubiquitous to Lowery – one embodies the other. His appreciation for both his own capabilities and expertise, as well as the ones of others, assures his magazine and brand are constantly evolving.
Chapter 12: Thinking on the future following the tragic death of a friend, Lowery is nowhere near finished and is more than ready to continue is many metamorphoses. He now exists in a space where he strives to empower others, all around the world. 360.
Additionally Vaughn has an audio book titled, “Say Uncle: The Story of Vaughn Lowery” which loosely based on his childhood. It is available for here on Amazon Music. For additional info on Vaughn Lowery visit Wikipedia and IMDb.
Move Like Water x Be Fluid is available in PDF format on Blurb.
If you have cable or satellite TV, try this. Turn it on and start flipping through the channels. Chances are it won’t be long before you land on a program that deals with crime and/or the justice system. From dramedies like Boston Legal and Ally McBeal to riveting true-crime documentaries such as The Staircase and Making a Murderer, to old standbys like Dateline, 48 Hours Mystery, and the many incarnations of Law & Order, it’s plain to see that we love watching shows that explore the law.
An entire generation of Americans can recite the Miranda warning word-for-word from memory. We all know that detectives will set their sights on a murder victim’s spouse as the most likely suspect. And once-obscure terms and concepts, like a Brady violation or an Alford plea, are now household phrases. Criminal law is chock-full of interesting stories and compelling drama, but what about civil law? Have you ever wondered about how personal injury law plays out in a boardroom or courtroom? If so, read on for a quick primer on all things personal injury related.
What’s the Difference Between Personal Injury Law and Criminal Law?
Also known as tort law, personal injury law concerns itself with civil, rather than criminal, violations. In criminal cases, the plaintiff is always “the state” — in other words, the governmental entity whose laws have been broken. In civil cases, one party — an individual or group of people — brings a lawsuit against another party — an individual, a group, a company, or a government agency.
Another of the major distinctions between civil and criminal law is that the purpose of a criminal charge is to punish the wrongdoer. In civil cases, the plaintiff is seeking damages, or compensation. It is entirely possible for someone who has been accused of a crime by the state to also face a civil suit brought by a victim or victim’s family.
The Different Types of Personal Injury Law
Many of the most common types of personal injury have to do with accidents. There are others, as well. The following are some of the most common branches of personal injury law:
Car, truck, or motorcycle accidents
Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
Slip, trip, and fall accidents
Each of these has its own legal precedents, and most personal injury lawyers will specialize in one of them. As you can imagine, motorcycle accidents are very different from medical malpractice or dog bites and must be handled differently.
Even within one of these areas, case law can vary widely. The Barnes Firm, for example, has dedicated Oakland car accident lawyers, motorcycle accident lawyers, and tractor-trailer accident lawyers, in addition to others, on staff. This is true of all major personal injury law firms.
Where Does Negligence Come In?
With the exception of intentional torts, such as slander, fraud, assault, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, all types of personal injury law have one factor in common: they stem from negligence. In legal terms, negligence occurs when one party has a duty of care but fails to observe or perform that duty. The law stipulates that all people (and other entities, such as companies, institutions, and governments) have a legal obligation to act with a reasonable amount of care and prudence in the course of committing actions that may be harmful to others.
For example, a surgeon has a legal duty to not kill the person on her operating table. A dog owner has the obligation to prevent the dog from attacking and biting passersby. A retail store is obliged to keep its floors clean so that no one slips on a wet surface, falls, and injures themselves.
There are four elements that must be proven in order to establish negligence:
Duty. The defendant owed a legal duty under the circumstances to the plaintiff;
Breach of Duty. The defendant acted (or failed to act) in a way that breached his or her duty;
Causation. This action or inaction caused the injury in question;
Damages. Finally, the plaintiff has to have suffered harm or injury as a result of the first three elements.
If one or more of these elements cannot be proven, there is no legal negligence at play.
The Odds of a Tort Case Going to Trial
The vast majority of tort actions will never see the inside of a courtroom. It is almost always easier, faster, and less expensive for all parties to settle out of court — although that’s not to say that negotiating such a settlement is a quick or painless process. In fact, torts can stretch on for years.
If, after extensive negotiation on both sides of the dilemma, the parties are unable or unwilling to agree on the terms of a settlement, then the case will go to a court of law. This happens in less than 5% of instances, however.
Tort law is an incredibly complex aspect of the judicial system. If an individual feels that he or she is entitled to receive damages, it’s in his or her best interest to hire the most experienced attorney available, as well as one who specializes in the particular type of personal injury in question.
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