Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Free Kelley Williams-Bolar Now!

Thanks Facebook friends for sharing this story.  The Grio reports that:

"Few things in life are as simple as black and white. And it doesn't take a lawyer to understand the theory of mitigating circumstances, which can diminish the severity of a sentence handed down to a defendant. Kelley Williams-Bolar, a black mother living in the projects of Akron, Ohio, and her father Edward L. Williams were convicted last week of felony. She was convicted of fraud, for a very common practice often utilized in many lower income communities: she simply used a relative's address to send her children to a better (read: white) school district. Williams-Bolar was sentenced to ten days in jail, and quickly taken into custody. After her release, she will serve two years probation, and is required to serve eighty hours of community service. The judge's apparent rationale; you break the law, you suffer the consequences, end of discussion."

Due to structural inequality, many African Americans are economic hostages. Since they cannot afford to escape to affluent neighborhoods, they are forced by residency requirements to send their children to inferior, segregated, failing schools in poor inner city communities.  No one should be compelled to send their children to violent, drug infested schools. 

Consequently, the cycle of poverty is perpetuated.  As Malcolm X said, "When you live in a poor neighborhood, you are living in an area where you have to have poor schools. When you have poor schools, you have poor teachers. When you have poor teachers, you get a poor education. When you get a poor education, you are destined to be a poor man and a poor woman the rest of your life."

Quality education should be a civil and human right for all citizens.  The quality of one's education should not be determined by race, income or zip code.  Unjust laws that promote the cycle of poverty must challenged, opposed and abolished.

In some respects, Ms. Williams-Bolar is a modern day Rosa Parks. Like the legendary Rosa Parks, Ms. Williams essentially engaged in an act of civil disobedience to challenge an unjust law.  As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in the Letter from the Birmingham Jail

"How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all." 

I encourage all people of goodwill to join the effort to free Kelley Williams-Bolar.  She should be immediately pardoned and released.  Also, her criminal record should be expunged.  Click this link for more information about how you can help.


  1. Update: Kelley Williams-Bolar was released yesterday, one day early. She plans to appeal her conviction.

  2. I want to say thank you so much for talking about my (case) situation.I began blogging because it is therapeutic and I started noticing many blogs about my case. I am filled with over whelming gratitude and I give thanks to everyone that signed my petition and spoke on my behalf. I went into a great depression. Many people do know know that my father as well went to jail and he died in prison all for the education of my two daughter's I will have a autobiography coming soon. Hopefully before the new year. I wish every one well Thank you so much. We are all a family in some form or fashion. Feel free to highlight and stay up to date with my blogs. God bless