In this May 25, 2010, file photo, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick sits at his sentencing in Wayne County Circuit Court on an obstruction-of-justice conviction. Kilpatrick has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for corruption that turned city hall into a pay-to-play parlor. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

In light of a long list of Donald Trump cronies who were recently granted pardons by the president, a coalition of notable pastors, business and more than 30 religious leaders have joined forces with the Ebony Foundation having co-authored a letter to him asking clemency for former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, currently serving 28 years in federal custody for racketeering, mail fraud, and wire fraud, among other charges.

Kilpatrick, who was sentenced in 2013, was mayor of Detroit from 2002 to 2008. The coalition is hopeful Trump will consider Kilpatrick’s clemency application and commute his sentence. Kilpatrick has already served seven years.

“Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison for his crimes. And while there has been a lot of debate about his guilt or innocence, we are arguing neither, rather, we are opposing the excessive nature and length of his sentence. Kwame Kilpatrick’s punishment of a 28-year sentence does not fit the crime. While, Mr. Kilpatrick made grave errors in judgment as Mayor, looking at his sentence in comparison to other public officials in public corruption cases who were convicted and sentenced around the same time, you see the unfairness of Mr. Kilpatrick’s sentence: former Governor Blagojevich – sentenced to14 years, former Governor Bob McDonnell – sentenced to 2 years, former Congressman William Jefferson – sentenced to 13 years. All of these men are currently home either via the appeals process or because of commutation. Hence, we are seeking similar consideration and leniency in commuting the excessive sentencing of Mr. Kilpatrick’s 28-year sentence for these non-violent, public corruption crimes,” Rev. Samuel Tolbert, president, National Baptist Convention of America, said in a statement.

Ebony Foundation’s National Director of Community Outreach and Engagement, Pastor Keyon Payton added that, “for 75 years Ebony and Jet magazines have been a trusted brand in the African American community. Our vision has been to highlight the great accomplishments of African Americans who have helped to shape the moral and cultural ethos of our great Nation and to inspire hope amid the African American struggle for racial and social justice in the Land that we also call “home”. Ebony and Jet has highlighted many of these injustices throughout the years whether it was the publication of 14-year old Emmett Till, whose open casket was published in 1955; the footage in Ebony and Jet publications of police brutality perpetuated against nonviolent protesters during the Civil Rights Movement; or our publication that highlighted the need for bail and prison reform in 1971. Today the reality of mass incarceration and its adverse effects on African Americans and our families has grown exponentially worse as there are more African American men, in particular, who are incarcerated in our nation’s jails than were slaves in the 1800s.”

The Ebony Foundation, the national nonprofit arm of Ebony Capital Partners, LLC, has partnered with The Bail Project to launch Home by the Holiday, an initiative designed to combat mass incarceration and reunite families. Through this campaign, forces will be joined to raise funds for bailouts and to drive awareness about the urgent need for bail reform and the human impact of the cash bail system on communities of color.

“My faith teaches us that all have fallen short at some point in our lives and we all are the beneficiary of God’s grace and mercy. I implore you to consider the totality of Kwame’s contributions to his community and the potential for him to do good work on behalf of others who desperately need help,” said Rev. Jamal Bryant, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta. “I believe that Kwame can still author another great chapter of his life and he has my full support as he moves forward with his life.”

Others have lent their voice in support of Kilpatrick’s request for clemency including Angela Stanton, founder of The American King Foundation, who was recently granted a pardon from President Trump. “My prayers are with Kwame. Everyone deserves mercy. Kwame is also deserving of a second chance.”

The complete list of pastors that have signed the letter:

• Rev. Keyon S. Payton, National Director, Community Outreach and Engagement, The Ebony Foundation
• Rev. Dr. Steve Bland, Jr., President Detroit Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity
• Detroit, MI
• Rev. K. C. Pierce II, Chairman, Religious Affairs, NAACP, Detroit Chapter
• Rev. Kenneth J. Flowers, Senior Pastor, Greater New Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, Detroit, MI
• Rev. Dr. M. Andrew Davis, Senior Pastor, Zion Baptist Church, Columbia, SC
• Rev. Dr. John D. Duckworth, Sr., Senior Pastor, Gethsemane Baptist Church, Westland, MI
• Rev. Victor D. Tate, Senior Pastor, First Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA
• Rev. Dr. Fredrick D. Haynes III, Senior Pastor, Friendship West Missionary Baptist Church,
• Dallas, TX
• Rev. Dr. Terrance Garrett, Moderator, Crystal Lake Baptist District Association, Pontiac, MI
• Rev. Quantez Presley, Senior Pastor, Third New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, Detroit, MI
• Rev. Dr. James C. Perkins, Immediate Past President, Progressive National Baptist Convention
• Rev. Dr. Samuel D. Tolbert, Jr., President, National Baptist Convention of America
• Rev. Kip Banks, Sr., Senior Pastor, East Washington Heights Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.
• Rev. Brian K. Brown, Moderator, South Florida Progressive Baptist Convention, Tampa, FL
• Rev. Dr. Delman L. Coates, Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, Clinton, MD
• Rev. Dr. Larry Smith, Senior Pastor, New St. Mark Baptist Church, Detroit, MI
• Rev. Linda Smith, Co-Pastor, New St. Mark Baptist Church, Detroit, MI
• Rev. Horace Sheffied, III, Senior Pastor, New Destiny Baptist Church, Detroit, MI
• Rev. Dr. Madeline McClenney, President/CEO, The Exodus Foundation, Charlotte, NC
• Rev. Dr. Terrance Grant-Malone, Moderator, Fellowship United District, Houston, TX
• Rev. Lamont Anthony Wells, National President, African Descent Lutheran Association (ELCA)
• Rev. Dr. John D. Tolbert, Senior Pastor, Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, Pontiac, MI
• Bishop James Dixon II, Senior Pastor, Community of Faith Church, Houston, TX
• Rev. Dr. Jamal H. Bryant, Senior Pastor, New Birth Church, Atlanta, GA
• Rev. Dr. William E. Flippin, Sr., Senior Pastor, Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church, Decatur, GA
• Bishop Donte’ L. Hickman, Sr., Senior Pastor, Southern Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD
• Rev. Dr. Kevin R. Johnson, Lead Pastor, Dare to Imagine Church, Philadelphia, PA
• Rev. Dr. Mitchell J. Stevens, Sr., Senior Pastor, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Kenner, LA
• Rev. Dr. Lawrence C. Glass, Jr., Senior Pastor, El Bethel Baptist Church, Redford, MI
• Rev. Dr. Kenneth D. Cooper, Senior Pastor, Spring Creek Baptist Church, Moseley, VA
• Rev. Dr. Emory Berry, Jr., Senior Pastor, Greenforest Community Baptist Church, Decatur, GA
• Rev. Ezra Tillman, Jr., Senior Pastor, First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, Flint, MI
• Bishop William H. Murphy III, Lead Pastor, Dream Center Church, Atlanta, GA
• Dr. Kenneth Harris, President/CEO, National Business League

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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  1. I a black man can’t believe the amount of energy these people are wasting begging trump to release this thug. He was the most corrupt mayor detroit ever had. He was bold and very much a criminal, his actions were not mistakes or bad judgements in error. He is exactly where he should be, in prison. We still haven’t solved the murder of a young lady who was a strip dancer at his house party, oh believe hr had a lot of people he had powers over help cover up that murder. I hope trump don’t grant nothing for kilpatrick.

  2. I personally think President Trump should give him a couple more years. He’s a disgrace to the Black community and I’m Black.

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