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The campaign for Justice for Jason has up until now been primarily a local struggle. We had confidently hoped and expected that the fundamental decency and sense of fairness and justice of our liberal Northampton/Amherst community would prevail so that Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel would come to her senses and drop the charges. However, this has not happened. It has been over 16 months, and Jason’s legal battle is still in its pre-trial phases. It is clear that now is the time to build sustainable relationships throughout all of our communities and across all of our struggles, to ensure Justice for Jason Vassell.
As you may already know, Jason’s lawyers recently filed a Motion to Dismiss on the grounds that Jason was "selectively prosecuted" due to his race. The lawyers’ indictment of the District Attorney’s office immensely increases the pressure on District Attorney Scheibel to drop the charges. While this is certainly an exciting development, it in no way means that our work is over. The legal campaign and the grassroots campaign are mutually reinforcing. The strength of the legal campaign relies heavily on the continuing mobilization at the grassroots level. In order to continue to increase the pressure on the District Attorney’s office, we need to expand our organizing efforts both locally and nationally.