USO AND CLEMENT BROWN KELEMEKE (MEKE) (8/21/06)
San Quentin holds some of the most hardened prisoners or so they tell you. Behind the wall those incarcerated get the worse treatment. Watch dogs and human rights groups have pointed this out again and again. In reality the ones that have no idea about true justice and favor incarceration that is a trillion dollar business and growing could not care less what is going on behind the wall.
However there are many that care and San Franciscans have gone to the Gate at San Quentin and voiced their Sacred Opinion time and time again. Change does not come easy but as history has shown us - those that endure hardship, make sacrifices, and suffer pain in the name of genuine love and consideration will succeed and be victorious.
Our Nation should be ashamed of itself when over 1% of its population is behind bars and some think by building more prisons the issues that face us will go away. As a Nation we have failed Society by not addressing Health and Safety issues in a Holistic manner.
Among those incarcerated is one Samoan Warrior, his name is Clement Brown. He is a brother to all and a special brother to me. His name bestowed by Samoan Tradition is Kelemeke and so he is called with respect as MEKE. Utter that name Meke at San Quentin and add Uso and you have silence and a reverence well earned among those that once could not care less to respect and give a heck but now stand still and listen in attention at San Quentin within the Yard and beyond where any inmate is free to wander and greet a fellow inmate.
I have asked myself often when discussing about fairness, justice, incarceration, conditions in the jails, penalties, adjudication what does justice mean? Even in the year 2006 there is no justice and the Whites that manipulate the system could care less if millions of people of color die a slow death by being thrown into a system that embraces death and not life and progress. Well, most agree or disagree about how to define Justice some define it as what is due to you when you do wrong - others like me may disagree and attach the other pertinent factors that do not level the playing field when it comes to true justice because of utter discrimination in the system and mostly against people of color that cannot defend themselves with attorneys and high paid lawyers that use language and the law to turn and twist and lie while looking at you straight in the eye. Good liars make good lawyers or is it the other way around?
There was a time when Polynesians and Samoans fell into an unknown category in the jails and would be incarcerated and the System would not know how to deal with Polynesians nor know how to accommodate them. Today because of Meke at San Quentin the Usos are a united front and an example of how traditional values can be brought to foster healing and rehabilitation not addressed in any Prison System Models.
In the System and Behind the Walls the Blacks have their hood, the Whites have their digs, the Latinos their barrios, the Asians known for their silence and the Polynesians and especially the Samoan Warriors were left to fend for themselves - fell between the cracks.
The prison system in California has failed us all - that pay for the system because as much as we love to incarcerate human beings and love the 3 strike laws we have no clue as to how the inmates live and the tremendous amount of trauma that they endure every single day. It makes no sense to incarcerate human beings traumatize them every single day and then release them to Society pretending that they will contribute to Society. It simply does not work like that.
One single visit to San Quentin will reveal the truth if one has eyes to see, a heart to feel, and a brain to fathom the far reaching consequences that have made so many incarcerated human beings worse off because they have been treated worse then animals in very crowded jails.
Go pay a visit to the Society for Prevention and Cruelty to Animals known to the world as SPCA. Then go through the process to visit the inmates at San Quentin with the same open mind and I bet you - anyone would trade living with the dogs then in the cramped, old, nauseating conditions that our State of California refuses to address. Liberals do not mind offering those that have committed crimes liberation after rehabilitation and not paying attention to the present prevailing conditions. We have had Governors like Gray Davis a Democrat that turned a blind eye and favored the Wardens, the Prison Guards, and the millions of dollars that backs that corrupt Union.
We have our present Governor wining and dining with Jail Guards and the like in Maui all at the expense of corrupt Correctional Officers that do know the System but fail to be Accountable and less Transparent. We cannot wait for the Messiah to come because they say He has already. It would not be proper to wait for the Big One but that seems appropriate even the drastic circumstance at San Quentin.
Conservatives waste not one moment and mandate the worse possible punishment for any crime. In recent years the crimes committed by the players involved with the ENRON scandal have made some conservatives have second thoughts however white crime is a crime and those that commit them with intent have to pay their consequences. It does not matter if it is White Collar Crime and they come from the filthy rich class of scum bags.
Kelemeke aka Meke the Samoan Warrior made his mistakes and paid all his dues and more for many years - he is now 44. We Usos want him free because his has had his trials and tribulations and now have the wisdom to bring the best results in an environment that is free. He can offer free Society the best in human rehabilitation using his model that works within the confines of San Quentin of which he is NOT given much recognition.
We shall call him MEKE because when you utter that name in the halls of San Quentin everyone will pause and think twice. This Samoan Warrior has made so many good changes that the Standard Operating Procedures linked to running institution such as San Quentin should acknowledge Meke's contribution to making San Quentin operational and a safer places among all inmates. We are not asking that he be nominated for the Nobel Prize but the Hearing Board release this man and make him accountable to Society at large. Meke has earned it. Meke last appeared before the Hearing Board on February 6, 2006 at San Quentin. The Board heard his appeal to be released from San Quentin and found that he had to wait until the next hearing. D19013 a statistic to the Board but much more to those that agree Meke has paid his dues and now must contribute to Society because he wants to do so. He also has the support of many good folks and organizations in California and beyond.
Years ago Samoans, Tongans, other Polynesians would be treated like dirt in the prison system. It was Meke that requested that those gathered under his wing call each other USO simply translated the word means "brother". Learn the discipline laid down by the Matai or Chiefs of the Traditional Samoan - Fa'a Samoa Way.
Today it is not uncommon for all the prisoners from all segments and races to address one another as Uso. Uso is a word that has forged unity but what is even more honorable - brought discipline to the Polynesian Usos under the leadership to Clement Brown aka Melemeke the Samoan Warrior. This one word USO has made such an impact behind the walls and over the walls and beyond where freedom is taken for granted but not so within San Quentin.
To my Samoan brothers and sisters the world over and to all Polynesians this is a clarion call - now, is the time to write to the San Quentin Hearing Board and ask that Clement Brown be released so that he can contribute to Society as much as he does behind the wall. Send your letters to Francisco Da Costa, 4909 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94124.
I will make sure I personally take them to the authorities and give our USO a chance to make a great difference as a Free Man and contribute to Society. We all can make this happen sooner then later.
This is the first article among a series of articles that I will address on San Quentin and the USOS that are making a difference. God Bless.
Outside San Quention with Rudy Corpuz the man.
San Quentin Mess Room.
Inside San Quentin.
Vernell Crittendon and Rudy Corpuz.
Arts in Correction.
In the yard behind the wall.
Niko sharing Fa'a Samoa.
Outside San Quentin.
Behind the wall where all the Usos wish they were free.