Students urge Cooper to free Kalvin Michael Smith 

Students urge Cooper to free Kalvin Michael Smith 
February 25
00:00 2016

By Tevin Stinson

The Chronicle

Chants of “Free Kalvin Smith Now” echoed from every corner of the Dillard Auditorium in the Anderson Center last Thursday evening when more than 150 students and other members of the community came together to show their support for Kalvin Michael Smith.

Smith is serving a 29-year sentence for the brutal assault of Jill Maker at the Silk Plant Forest store in December 1977 that left her with brain damage and blindness, even though Smith was reportedly nowhere near the store at the time. Another suspect with a violent history who had been stalking Marker had been in the shop shortly before the incident occurred.

During the rally students, community activists, and other supporters called for N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper to release Smith. Wake Forest student Corrine Sugino noted that Cooper, who is currently running for governor, has said there is noting he can do.

“We have an innocent black man sitting in jail and somehow Cooper mysteriously doesn’t have the power to do anything,” she continued. “It isn’t right and we can’t just sit back and let this happen.”

President of the Ministers Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity Bishop Todd Fulton said he stands in solidarity with those who are standing solid for justice. Fulton said he will continue to push Cooper and others to do the right thing.

“I am excited about the energy that has surrounded Kalvin Michael Smith and his freedom,” he said. “We’re going to keep pushing every system that we know.”

Darryl Hunt, who served 19 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit in the 1980s, addressed the crowd as well. Hunt told the students to demand that justice be served. He also discussed racial bias within the justice system.

“Justice has to come down,” said Hunt. “We have to demand justice because what has happened to Kalvin can happen to any one of you.”

A video was also played during the rally of Smith. Smith said he is grateful for everything everyone has done to help him. Although he hopes justice is served in his own case, he mentioned it is bigger than him. He said it’s about changing a justice system that has failed so many people in the African American community.

Following the playing of the video, Smith’s father Gus Dark said he will continue to stand by his son. He also mentioned he has a strong feeling that everything is going to be all right.

“I will continue to stand with Kalvin and I thank you all for standing with him as well,” said Dark. “I will stand with him until I die or he comes home.”

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