The following are Statements by supporting organizations in support of Jason Vassell. If your organization would like to add an endorsement statement, JOIN THE COALITION NOW! and send your statement to: firstname.lastname@example.org
AFSC supports the dropping of all charges against Jason Vassell. After reviewing all the information available and listening to students and faculty supporting Jason, an African American student at the time of the attack, it appears that Jason was attacked by two white men and he defended himself with a pocket knife. There are witnesses to the racial epithets yelled at Jason, to the breaking of his window and to the attack on him in the entryway of his dorm. Why only one of the two white men is charged, and then only with misdemeanors, while Jason’s charges are much more serious leads to the supposition that Jason’s race must have something to do with the nature of the charges. We are disturbed that the administration of UMass has been so unsupportive of Jason and that his life has been so disrupted. We are pleased to join with other community groups to raise our voices in protest at the injustice meted out to Jason. We will be present at the press conference on the 17th and at the rally and march on the 19th of November. We join with others in asking D.A. Scheibel to drop the charges, and we will continue tosupport Jason in the coming months leading up to and through his trial. It is not surprising, but it is ironic that we can elect an African American to be the President of the U.S. of A. and also see racism raise its ugly head in our justice system. Obviously we must remain vigilant and speak up when we see injustice in the making.
We are writing to you as members of the Coalition for Justice for Jason. We thank you for the excellent work you have done in reducing violence against women in our community but are asking that you align more closely with the will of your constituents in relation to the following issue. We are writing with the hope that you will reconsider the charges against Jason Vassell, a University of Massachusetts pre-med biology major senior who was attacked by 2 drunk young men, strangers to Jason, after they smashed his dorm window and then trespassed into his dorm threatening him. Eyewitness evidence indicates that the first punch was thrown by one of the invaders, breaking Jason’s nose. Our understanding is that Jason then was forced to defend himself with a penknife inflicting no life threatening injuries. We know that you do not want to ruin the life of this young man. Jason has never been in trouble and has been a model student. He has already suffered greatly, both financially and emotionally, as has his family. We believe is Jason had been a white student attacked by 2 black intruders into his dorm, he would not be facing the charges now placed on him. We are asking that the current charges be dropped against Jason Vassell. Thank you very much for your serious consideration of our request.
SAGE, whose name stands for the collective wisdom of the people, is a local grassroots peace and justice organization in Amherst. We take a stand against racism and are in solidarity with Jason. We believe this is yet another instance when an African-American man has been arrested and charged because of his race. The facts indicate his actions were self-defense and we call for the office of the District Attorney to drop the charges against Jason Vassell.
Women in Black is an international network of women who dress in black, symbolizing mourning, and stand at busy street intersections or in village squares to bring attention to the ongoing violence toward women, the wars without end that are fomented by the patriarchy, and justice for all, including economic justice. It is in this context that we demand that justice be carried out for Jason Vassell by District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel’s dropping all charges against him.
For the record, The Northampton Committee to Stop the War on Iraq supports Justice for Jason. We join the Committee for Justice for Jason to urge our District Attorney, Elizabeth Scheibel to drop all charges against Jason Vassell, with appropriate apologies and compensation made for the ordeal he has suffered. Justice for Jason has been too long delayed. On Sunday, February 3, 2008 Jason Vassell was the victim of a racist attack carried out by two men. It was an explicit abuse of power. The further injustice against Jason carried out by the DAs Office in not meting out justice to Jason’s assailants makes it complicit in the abuse of power. It further lends systemic support for the racist behavior. The District Attorney’s office has not sufficiently charged the perpetrators’ racism in the initial attack nor has it challenged the system of white privilege that allowed this case to be brought forth as it has. To rectify this breach of justice, we request the District Attorney to reconsider the charges that have been made against Jason’s assailants. Justice would include charging the attacker who has yet to have his role in the racially charged violence acknowledged in the court of law. The District Attorney and the State Attorney General have before them the opportunity to do justice: to drop the charges against the obvious victim, and to hold accountable the perpetrators of the criminal behavior. To make explicit the law of the land and to move "the arc of humanity… toward justice," the highest law officers of the County and of the Commonwealth have the opportunity to appropriately charge the perpetrators of violence based on the evidence of their actions. As important, these Attorneys have the opportunity to address and to challenge the context, white privilege. We, therefore, request Martha Coakley, the Massachusetts Attorney General, to review this case, to be transparent, and to move expeditiously to bring about justice for Jason!
We are a group of youth activists who come together to spread awareness about racism and discrimination, and work to eliminate different forms of oppression. YAC believes that the charges against Jason are biased and unjust, and that everyone has the right to personal safety. We ask the Office of the District Attorney to review all charges in this case in a fair and unbiased manner.
We, Students for Justice in Palestine, stand behind and support the work done by the Committee for Justice for Jason in creating a support base condemning the racist prosecution of Jason Vassell. As a student group who calls for justice in Palestine, our commitment for justice doesn’t limit our work to the Palestinian cause. We see the connections between the racism embedded in American society and the Israeli occupation as self-evident. Now more than ever, we feel the need to support movements for justice in our own community and we condemn the institutional racism so evident in the charges against Jason. It is very obvious that this is an issue of racial discrimination in both the conduct of the police and in Jason’s prosecution. Jason was acting fully in self-defense in inflicting any harm on his racist assailants; the harm of which amounted to minor injuries, incomparable to the injuries that Jason endured. In any other situation, self-defense would be protected under the law and yet the police arrested Jason solely on the color of his skin. In order for the courts to make any reparations for the damage that has already been done, SJP feels that the charges against Jason must be dropped immediately.