Earlier this summer I was invited by community activist and friend Cat Perkins to a tasty fish fry in Compton, California.
Members of various organizations including AORP Affiliates and Offenders Recovery Program, CSSJ, LaNaisha Edward’s United Communities for Peace, Cease Fire, and GOGI came together along with members of the Pickens family, along with Jermaine’s incredibly supportive wife Evelyn, to share their stories about wrongful arrests and living behind bars for crimes they were falsely accused of. All proceeds from the fundraiser went to help raise money for an innocent man who has spent over two decades of his life in prison for a crime he did not commit. The man’s name is Jermaine Pickens, he is the son of Maggie Pickens who hosted the fundraiser, one of many she has held to help raise funds for her son’s legal defense team…
Richard Richard and Coach James share their stories
One of the speakers introduced was Richard Richard, a man who served 43 years behind the wall. “I went in when I was 18 (1974) and was released at the age of 62,” he shared, and Coach James who works as a voice and a figment of light for those that he can help bring home. “I don’t want to tell any big prison stories or glorify none of that, he begins, ” I’m sorry to hear what’s going on with Jermaine. I’m going to pray for him, nobody needs to be in there especially with everything that’s going on with the Covid-19. They’ve got the brothers passing away in there, we don’t need any of that, we need our brothers out of there so they can be with their families. I did 20 years time over time and asked God for a chance to show people that I can do something with my life. I dedicate everything that I have inside of me to become a voice to speak to other people and for other people who can’t speak for themselves.”
Jermaine’s sister Valdalisa speaks about her brother
One of the family members I spoke with was Valdalisa, the oldest sister of Jermaine. “When my mother had Jermaine, he was like a son to me because I had a son 3 years later who is his nephew and they were both like my babies. I am very supportive of my brother, l go visit him, and though my wife and I are on a fixed income we send him as much as we can. My mother has fought so hard for her son to come home. She’s gone way beyond her means to try to get him some proper legal representation, and each and every time they take her for whatever it is she’s giving them and they don’t do anything to help my brother’s case. Now that she can no longer take loans on her home or anything like that we have tried to do fundraisers, like selling t-shirts and selling dinners, anything we can come up with, asking for donations, and we haven’t had a lot of support. We’re hoping that this will help generate some support and so we can get some representation with all the new laws and truths coming out about the dirty cops, cause he was unjustly arrested and didn’t have what it took to get proper representation. It’s time that my brother comes home, Jermaine deserves to come home. He’s 44 now and has served over 25 years.”
Jermaine’s niece Kandis recalls a memory of her Uncle
Jermaine’s niece Kandis recalled many memories of playing with her big Uncle. “Let’s see where do I start,” she begins. “I was very close to him before he went in. We played around a lot. I remember this story when I first started walking, and he told me that he was the first person that I ran to. He’s a very kind-hearted person who loves his family. It’s just a really bad situation, especially hard for a male, and a black male, you can’t do anything. I really miss him, it’s been really hard for my grandmother.
Jermaine’s wife Evelyn
Having moved from Oregon, Evelyn is doing whatever it takes to bring home her husband. She spends a lot of creative energy on ideas to raise money including t-shirts, and she’s looking into getting a catering business started to generate money for Jermaine’s legal defense team.
To learn more and contribute towards Jermaine Pickens’s legal defense team, please call 619. 396. 4797
On behalf of Jermaine, The entire family appreciates your support!