The death penalty needs to be abolished

Nathaniel Woods was executed by the state of Alabama via lethal injection. Photo courtesy

In the United States of America, fads and trends come and go. However, one trend that has never gone out of style is the death of innocent Black bodies at the hands of the government.

Nathaniel Woods is yet another example of this horrid truth.

Woods was convicted in 2005 for allegedly killing three Birmingham, Ala. policemen in 2004 even after there was no evidence tying him to the murders, and also after his co-defendant said that he was innocent of all killings.

Sadly, Woods would never get to see justice, as he was executed on Thursday, after the US Supreme Court denied the stay.

Alabama governor, Kay Ivey, gave a statement following the execution, implying that Woods’ execution was justified because he was a key conspirator in the death of the officers. She also gave her condolences to the officers’ families and not Woods’ family.

Being an Alabama native, I am very familiar with blatant racism. From getting called the N-word to being the only one who got in trouble after I swung on a guy for calling me a slave. I am not shocked this happened in my home state. However, I am disappointed. To add insult to injury, the following day it was announced that Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr., Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church bomber, will be up for parole in the next year.

These sequence of events clearly reveal a racial bias that cripples the integrity and morality of an entire country.

From slavery to the civil rights movement, to modern-day police brutality and wrongful convictions and executions, this country has instituted the lawful abuse of Black bodies for centuries. For many decades, lynching has been the name given for these heinous acts.

After 120 years of failure, Congress has made lynching a federal hate crime punishable up to life in prison. But that’s not enough when considering the lives that were, and continue to be taken away at the hands of white supremacy. That includes the unjust solution of the death penalty.

Furthermore, America must confront its long-standing contradictory stance of being pro-life and devoutly Christian while instituting and supporting many laws that are antithetical to the aforementioned descriptors especially when it comes to Black people. However, delimiting race, how can the two truly exist?

As a Black man living in America, as well as, a Black man who hopes to raise Black men in the future, suppressing all laws built to oppress Black people is important to me. This includes the death penalty. There must be an end to laws that give the government the legal right to kill. Historically, those rights are often weaponized against Black and brown folks.

Hopefully, Woods’ execution sheds light on the crooked laws of Alabama, the South and the country at large.

Before absolution must come accountability. America must be held accountable for letting these heinous acts continue to be a part of its history and hopefully, turn from its wicked ways.