Open Letter; Joanie’s “Bucket List” (including FREE Leonard Peltier)

One of Joanie’s long-standing Facebook & Twitter profile photos.

Update 2/18/16: February 22nd, 2016 marks the 1st anniversary of my Beloved Friend/Sister’s passing. It saddens me that none of the items on her “Bucket List” can be crossed off. I wonder when the InJustices will be rectified; Leonard Peltier has now been wrong-fully imprisoned for 40 years. 

March 15, 2015…until no longer necessary
Dear President Obama (and Others who may be concerned),
This letter pertains to a beloved friend of mine who recently died; it deals with items on her “Bucket List”. It has been 3 weeks since Joanie moved on to Spirit World. Thankfully she died peacefully in her sleep and that is a Blessing, but family and friends were not ready for her to leave. Joanie had done so much for this world; those who knew her will always remember her with endless Love. Her “Bucket List” contains a number of very tangible things that You, Your Administration, Congress, and other Politicos can do singularly or jointly now…. or begin to seriously work on for Positive Change that will affect the People in a good way. Some items are already being addressed; however the notion that they are being addressed with “the best interest” of the People is questionable. I have not listed all “Bucket List” items, but these here were the ones that had genuine significance for my dear friend and her Social Activism echoed her commitment to what I have listed. It has taken me days to write this with serious contemplation and I believe that Joanie would want this letter written for her in the hope that it will move America ahead in working for true Justice, Freedom and Peace with Equality for All! I Thank her with my for giving me the honor of writing this letter to You (and others). I know the length of this letter is a bit long, please bear with me as these words needed to be said.
Grant Executive Clemency to Native American Federal Political Prisoner/Prisoner of War Leonard Peltier (#89637-132) > Joanie had been advocating for Leonard’s clemency for the past 13 years or so after she had to retire from her job due to illness and disability. She worked almost exclusively on Social Networks particularly My Space, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ (and others). Twitter was her favorite Social Network platform and she was considered influential by at least one analytical data tool. At the time of her death Joanie had sent out 112,000 tweets and quite a number of those tweets were sent to you specifically (@WhiteHouse @BarackObama) regarding Leonard Peltier. She also called the White House comment line daily asking that you grant his release and sent e-mails and letters when she could. Joanie spent at least 10 hours a day working on various Social Advocacy issues and Freedom for Leonard Peltier was one of her priorities. She most definitely “Walked her Talk” and encouraged others to do likewise. Joanie was well versed on the facts of Leonard’s case and knew full well of the many constitutional/legal, civil, human and treaty rights violations that have been put upon him during these past 39 years of wrongful incarceration. Joanie also was well aware of the fraud and malfeasance which occurred within the Federal Justice Department at the moment the FBI, other Federal Agencies and Legal entities decided to use Leonard as a Scapegoat and frame him for the murder of 2 FBI agents who lost their lives on June 26, 1975 during a botched land-grab over uranium by the FBI and Others at the Pine Ridge Reservation in Oglala, South Dakota. Joanie and I would often discuss how we were amazed by a “Justice System” that would keep a man incarcerated without any tangible proof of guilt, but then we would sadly laugh because we knew this is how “Justice” in America works for Native Americans (and other racial/ethnic minorities). Joanie considered Leonard Peltier to be a “Prisoner of War” due to his inclusion as a Political Prisoner and also because in one way or another the United States has warred against Native Americans since the founding of our Country. I have personally lost other dear ones through the years who also had “Freedom for Leonard Peltier” on their “Bucket List” and I have written to you about them; my dear Joanie worked the hardest for Leonard. PLEASE President Obama, I can’t bear to write to you again on behalf of a deceased Loved one who has spent countless hours and years working for Justice and Freedom for this Innocent Man. How can there be no redress when true innocence is ignored and false guilt continues on within the halls of “Justice”? Once again I implore You on behalf of Joanie and my other dear ones who have moved on….PLEASE grant Executive Clemency to Leonard Peltier before he too moves on!
Grant Executive Clemency to ALL Federal Political Prisoners and push for Governors to do the same for those who are Political Prisoners within State Prisons. > Specifically Joanie was interested in those wrongfully imprisoned during the FBI’s COINTELPRO (which still exists today, although some refuse to recognize). She really wanted to see Mumia Abu-Jamal freed and felt that if You set the precedence for releasing Federal Prisoners then State Governors would follow your lead. Joanie knew all too well that the United States refuses to acknowledge the existence of Political Prisoners in this country and was sincerely dismayed that our government calls out “foul play” for Human Rights Violations abroad but turns a blind eye to those happening within our own borders. To assist you this is one current list of Political Prisoners in America >
Prison & Immigration Reform > Obviously since Joanie advocated for Clemencies and Pardons (where appropriate) for Prisoners she also believed in prison reform. She was very troubled by the enormity of our Mass Incarceration numbers and the rise of Private Prisons. The Private Prisons that house Immigrant Detainees from Mexico, especially the young ones were of her deepest concerns. Joanie felt that Immigration Reform and Prison Reform should go hand-in-hand. She could not grasp why Brown-skinned people were targeted while America has ‘illegals” from all over the world within our borders. Joanie did not play the “racism card”….I on the other hand have no problem calling it what it is! Of course Joanie was well-versed in the discussion of Prison Reform and basically thought a lot of it was totally off the mark. How can there be a reform movement when new prisons are continually being built; maximum security, detainment centers, half-way houses and more…once an inmate is released there is very little being done to help him or her re-integrate into society and there is hope within the “InJustice System” that they will fail and return to the fold of their prison cells. It is public knowledge that Private Prisons contract with Government to keep their beds full and yet somehow are exempt from certain laws and taxes. Both Joanie and I jokingly (but with seriousness) discussed that Prisons were becoming the new “Nursing Homes” as there is a drastic increase in elders in Prison due to exaggerated sentencing practices and the use of Prisons as dumping grounds for those with mental illnesses/disabilities and those who are homeless and/or poverty stricken. It remains that prison reform is all about the money with little care for those who are imprisoned regardless of their innocence or guilt. It is well-known that Prisons operate Slave Labor Camps, a boon supposedly to the economy; this is truly a perversion!
Stop the Keystone Pipeline and other similar pipelines. > President Obama, this may sound a bit crazy, but I’m fairly certain that You got a Heavenly nudge from Joanie when You signed the Veto for the KXL Pipeline. Thank You. However You MUST reject the permit as well. Fracking, Tarsands, Unsafe Pipelines, Dirty Fuels, Unsafe Mines, all of these poison land, water, and air. Peoples’ lives are more important than corporate greed! Not surprisingly a good number of these projects go right through Indian Country. This is what I call “Slow Genocide” and I have written to you previously about this. Joanie thought my term “Slow Genocide” was a fitting description of the horrors that have been placed upon Native Americans and other Racial/Ethnic minorities in America. Much of what I’ve written to you in the past few years Joanie and I were in sync with so I’d run some of my letters by her first and she’d tell me not to forget this or that or tell me I was 100% on target, or off by a bit. I valued both her criticisms and her praises. Joanie was very passionate about the various life forms that live upon our home, Mother{Earth} and was hopeful that You would make Positive headways in weaning this country away from Fossil Fuels. We both were/are aware that without Mother{Earth} none of us will survive….including all those with Big money who refuse to recognize and care nothing for our future generations and Mother{Earth} Herself!
Wars, Weapons of War, Militarization of Police > STOP IT! When the recent infamous “Iran letter” dated March 9th, 2015 penned by Tom Cotton and signed by him and 46 Congressional Republicans was made public, the pain of Joanie’s loss hit me hard once again. If she were alive, we would have laughed uproariously together about the inane stupidity and arrogance of that letter. We would have let out some perfectly awesome swear words regarding the workings of Congress and the politics of self-serving greed and racism. Joanie was adamantly pro-Palestine and last year when Gaza was almost totally destroyed by Israel, we both made our voices heard quite loudly against the genocide the world was made privy to. When I received a message in a dream from a departed Loved One asking that I make my voice heard about the unholy killing of Children in Gaza and elsewhere due to American weapons of war, you know I called Joanie. I wrote the message of the dream in a blog entry and Joanie naturally sent it out to every politician on her list (not just the ones included within the blog entry)…it was a long list. Not too many friends would or could understand this urgency as she did. Here is my blog entry as I’ve sent it to you on Twitter numerous times > @WhiteHouse @BarackObama Because I promised > To the USA > SHOUT OUT from the Heavens; STOP Killing Children!! Drones, Various Guns & Missiles, or Militarized Police Departments (doesn’t matter where the violence is). The United States is not a champion of Democracy and Peace in the World; we are a Bully Nation; pure and simple. We attack our own and others with impunity if they do not meet the status quo of certain individuals or groups with perceived power and wealth who care more about their personal economic gain and biased ideologies; they prefer a War Economy or violence as a way of life; it fattens their wallets and keeps their prejudices intact and this sadly gets passed on from generation to generation.
President Obama, You have heard from me innumerable times since the start of Your Presidency regarding Leonard Peltier and other issues of concern; you know you will continue to hear from me. With this particular letter I feel as though I am saying some last words for Joanie that she would have liked to say one more time. If the tables were turned I know she would have done the same for me. I did not expect to meet a new best friend and sister in the autumn of my years who I felt I’ve known forever. None of us know how long we are destined to walk upon Mother{Earth}. It is for each of us to live our lives individually and collectively in a good way to the best of our abilities. It is a true Blessing that when we falter on our path we have those in our lives who will stand with us unconditionally with Love and Respect (and sometimes a Loving admonishment saying “Snap out of it”!)….these special individuals come to us when we are open to receive them. Leonard Peltier did not know Joanie although her steadfast Positive Activism for him enlightened others to follow her lead. You did not know Joanie, but both her praise and criticism of your policies and agendas during your tenure as President thus far has been totally spot on. Although she did not consider herself a Democrat she helped to push the vote for you in both 2008 and 2012 which no doubt helped your election and re-election. I grieve for the loss we share that both You and Leonard were unaware of.
In closing I ask you a question which continues to echo through the years by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (R.I. P.). I am certain as You stood in the prison cell of the honorable Nelson Mandela (R.I. P.) at Robben’s Island in South Africa in June, 2013 and again as You marched at the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma Alabama on March 7th, 2015, that You heard this question on the echo of the winds…..“HOW LONG”? I know full well You understand the context of the question and will undoubtedly hear it again before your tenure as President comes to an end. I await Your answer in Your actions.
Respectfully I Thank You for Your time and consideration. In Peace.
In and with the Spirit of Crazy Horse Bonnie F. Walker, RN, BS, LNC

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