“My Redemption Journey…” Last Words From the Next Man to be Killed at Terre Haute

How does it feel to have an execution date set when I know I am a pawn in a political race to make Donald Trump and Bill Barr look tough on crime? I will try to answer as best I can.

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Shakib Wali aka Orlando Cordia Hall after being sentenced to death.

My name is Orlando Cordia Hall Sr. and my Muslim name is Shakib Wali. I’m a 49 year old Black man. I currently reside on federal death row awaiting a November 19th execution date. I am a practicing Muslim, a father of 6, a grandfather of 13, a brother, a friend, a loving companion to my soul mate and above all a fellow human being.

I have been on federal death row since 1994 for the murder of Lisa Rene, an innocent 16 year old girl. I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to acknowledge my careless, selfish act which caused a lifetime of pain and ruined many lives — none more than the victim Lisa.

It is in the spirit of humility, humanity, love, compassion, that I share my redemption journey with you. I believe that it’s through removing the cover of darkness over the death penalty that more people will be exposed to the many redemption stories and those like me who have never given up on their humanity.

Just because the government has deemed us unworthy of life and love doesn’t mean we have to acquiesce to that hopelessness. I know that redemption is possible because I’m living proof and have witnessed so many others turn their lives around for the greater good; not because they were getting something out of it, but because something in them wanted more. We know that our government doesn’t care if we have changed but I know it’s possible because Allah tells us so.

How did I feel as a black man when I saw my all-white jury? I felt like the thousands before me — doomed! I was never under the false illusion that I would receive a fair trial or a jury of my peers. The system is set up to punish people of color, especially poor people of color. I was an uneducated man, functioning illiterate at best, but I also wasn’t a fool.

Everyone in the courtroom with any power was white. There is systemic institutional racism that is designed to subjugate people of color and the poor. The death penalty has always been used as a tool to terrorize the black community. There has never been a period in the United States when a black person wasn’t under the threat of death, be it by legal lynching, burning, shooting, or beating to death. The method may vary as a means to an end, but the result is still the same.

Throughout the history of this nation up until the present day, the vast number of people in prison and on death row are people of color. The American justice system has never been fair when it comes to the poor and people of color. On this fact alone, there shouldn’t be a death penalty. We can have justice without revenge.

I humbly implore everyone reading this to lift your voice and use whatever platform you have to educate people on this subject. I may not be the poster child for redemption, but I am a human being who deserves humanity if nothing more.

Thank you for your time and the opportunity to shine light on darkness. I can only hope and pray that we can make progress and stop these state sanctioned murders being done in the name of the people. May Allah favor our efforts. I leave you as I meet you in peace. As-salaam Alaikum….

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