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Real Systemic Change Must go Beyond Symbolic Redemption by Queen Zakia Shabazz

The posthumous pardoning of the so-called Martinsville Seven is 70 years and a day late. The following statement by the Virginia Governor appeared in speaks to the point I raise by this appeal. "We all deserve a criminal justice system that is fair, equal, and gets it right -- no matter who you are or what you look like. I'm grateful to the advocates and families of the Martinsville Seven for their dedication and perseverance," Northam added, later saying, "While we can't change the past, I hope today's action brings them some small measure of peace." Many in the African American community say and even sing “Give me my Flowers While I’m Living”. In the same vein we ask Governor Northam to pardon Sergio Gray while he is alive. It is time to stop the symbolic redemption which really is an empty gesture and, in my opinion, is highly insulting. I, along with many others, would much rather see present day effort by the Northam administration that will exemplify real sincerity and action behind the words “we deserve a criminal justice system that is far, equal and gets it right -- no matter who you are or what you look like.” We, United Parents Against Lead and Other Environmental Hazards (UPAL), appeal to you on behalf of Sergio Gray. Sergio Preston Gray was poisoned by lead when he was a young child. He was poisoned in Norfolk, Virginia in 1991. After many years of minimal treatment, he was, at the tender age of 18, sentenced to 40 years in prison. Lead poisoning has always been linked to juvenile delinquency, criminal delinquency, violent crimes, and impulsive behavior. Lead’s grip on Sergio is no different. The year Sergio was poisoned, there were several other babies in the same apartment building that were also severely poisoned, one to the point of death. UPAL is actively working with Sergio’s mother, Mrs. Roycinda Alexander, to secure his release. On Sergio's behalf, the National Clemency Project, Inc., has filed a petition with the Virginia Pardon's Office. The Pardon's application number is P515668 and is currently in the "awaiting review" status. You may remember the case of Freddie Gray - a young Black man in Baltimore, MD who was, like Sergio, poisoned by lead while a young child. Freddie was subsequently killed while in the custody of Baltimore police. Sergio is presently incarcerated at Keen Mountain Correctional facility in Virginia. We do not want Sergio to suffer the same fate as Freddie. Tell Governor Northam to PARDON SERGIO GRAY WHILE HE IS ALIVE!

Please sign this petition and forward to Governor Northam at

Office of the Governor. P.O. Box 1475. Richmond, VA 23218.

Email the Pardon’s Office at

You can also call in your support of Sergio’s Pardon at (804) 786-2211

Voice your support In time for International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week October 24 - 30, 2021. The aim of International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is to draw attention to the health impacts of lead exposure, highlight efforts by countries and partners to prevent childhood lead exposure, and accelerate efforts to phase out the use of lead in paint.

ARM in ARM - It’s going to take 3.5% of the U.S. Population to end the climate crisis centering racial and economic justice. REPARATIONS NOW! Queen Zakia Shabazz, (Pronouns Me,We,Us) Founder, United Parents Against Lead A CHILD IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE! Coordinator, Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative 804.370.1143

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