‘Together We Are’ was a vibrant night of live music, arts and poetry commemorating the death of Mikey Powell, who died in police custody in September 2003, and in support of Tony Egbuna Ford, an innocent black man awaiting a death sentence in Texas, USA.
There were blazing live performances by Capital X, The Welfare Poets, Princess Emmanuelle & Friends, Yaz Alexander and The Tribunes. A number of the artistes travelled from the United States and London to take part in this annual event, and the campaign was also supported by The Rainbow manager/owner, Kent, who gave the venue free of charge and provided refreshments to the performers throughout the night.
Thanks also go out to Sam, Alex and others at IndyMedia Birmingham who assisted with securing the venue, publicity, press and radio interviews. Friends and family members also helped on the night and provided support and advice in the planning of the event.
This was a special night enjoyed by all present. We cannot thank enough those artistes that have supported this event every year since Mikey’s death (Yaz Alexander, Princess Emmanuelle), regular contributors since 2006 (The Tribunes); and this years selfless contributions from Capital X and the Welfare Poets.
Special thanks to Tippa Naphtali who made it all happen!
From Texas death row Tony Egbuna Ford sent us this powerful message:
“The death of Mikey Powell is something that should resonate with everyone in the UK and abroad, regardless of race, class or background. Here was a brother who was taken into police custody, and given an impromptu death sentence.
“For me personally, this resonates with me, in that I was taken into police custody, and charged with a capital offence which resulted in my being sentenced to death. Now, while my experience and Mikey Powell’s may not be ‘exactly’ the same, we have both been sentenced to death. But, I am still able to fight to save my life. Sadly, brother Mikey Powell is not here to do the same. Brother Mikey should not be dead.”
Tony Egbuna Ford was the driver for two brothers who went to a house in El-Paso to collect a drug debt in 1991. The brothers forced their way in but didn’t find the man they were looking for.
They demanded money from a woman at the address then shot each of the four family members, killing the son, seriously injuring the mother and wounding two young women. There was no evidence to place Tony in the house that night. He was convicted and sentenced to death despite his testimony that he was not involved in the break-in or shooting. Visit Facebook page >
Michael Lloyd Powell, known as Mikey, (a cousin of renowned poet and writer Benjamin Zephaniah) died on 7th September 2003, aged 38, whilst in police custody in Handsworth, Birmingham.
Here’s what happened: Officers drove a police car at Mikey, hitting him, beat him with batons, CS gassed him, restrained him and, knowing he was injured, drove him to a police station not a hospital. At the police station the officers simply did not call for an ambulance for over 4 minutes. Mikey was dead by the time it arrived. Visit website >
The tragic death of Aiyana Jones, a 7-year-old African-American fatally shot by a Detroit police officer, Joseph Weekley, in 2010, drew media attention to police brutality especially in black neighborhoods. Read more
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