Monday, January 4, 2010

What will 2010 Bring?

by Efren Paredes, Jr.

As we usher in the dawn of the new decade many people will ask themselves, "what will 2010 mean to my life?" Some will respond with optimism, others will dread the unknown.

The truth is many of our expectations will be ones that we create ourselves. There are certainly some experience that will occur beyond our control, but for the things that we can control we should work to shape them the way we desire.

Believing that we are mere objects with no control of our lives invites negative experiences. It is dis-empowering and relinquishes all of our decision-making authority to other people and circumstances.

When we have a dismal outlook on life and negative self-image the laws of attraction bring toxicity into our lives. It drains us of energy and keeps us in perpetual darkness. People find it difficult to emerge from this state after prolonged periods of time. It is easier to be complacent than to exert the energy to change the tide that erodes our potential.

We cant' be afraid to fail or try in life. If we are we will be paralyzed by fear and never progress. Rather than look at potential experiences as stumbling blocks, we need to view them as stepping stones towards something better.

No one experience defines us, whether good or bad. If it did it would always be the best or worst thing we did in life. It doesn't work that way though. We are the sum of our total experiences, not fragments of them.

Our perception will guide us along the way. If we maintain a positive outlook we will celebrate progress more often than failure. Perception colors an experience and defines it before it even manifests. It charts its course.

When we employ this approach into our lives we begin to discover that people and experiences affect us to the degree we allow them to. Nothing can compel us to experience a feeling we do not allow. We are never taught this though, consequently people find themselves looking for people and material things to comfort and satisfy them.

When we make the conscious choice to live a productive, happy life, we will see it manifest, not because it just transpires, but because it is what we want to see materialize. It is what we work towards and the energy we seek to attract.

We have to cease underestimating ourselves and embrace our enormous potential. In so doing we will empower our lives and create experiences want, not the ones that "just happen."

The answer to what the new year or decade will bring into your lives is very simple. Most often it will bring what you strive for or invite.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Efrén's Leatherwork Available in Lansing This Saturday

The Peace Education Center is having i's annual Alternative Holiday Sale this Saturday, November 14, 2009 from 9 AM to 5 PM. It will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 855 Grove Street, East Lansing, MI.

The Alternative Holiday Sale gives the Greater Lansing community the opportunity to meet and shop with others in the peace and justice community while supporting small personal businesses, nonprofit groups, and fair trade cooperatives. It is a tradition that combines holiday shopping with a true spirit of community.

There will be organic homemade treats and lunches for sale, as well as hot coffee and cocoa. Vendors will include woodworkers, crafts, clothing, soaps and candles, photographs, and much more.

Additionally, this year there will also be a table with handcrafted leather items that Efrén personally made himself. We will also have Free Efrén postcards available for distribution and one-page flyers. You are invited to stop by if you are in the area and spend time at the Free Efrén table to express your support and learn about all the latest updates.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Efrén Appears on Ebling and You Radio Show








Yesterday afternoon, Monday, October 26, 2009, Jack Ebling, AM 1320 WILS Lansing radio show host, interviewed Efrén on his show, Ebling and You.

Jack and Efrén discussed a recent article published on AlterNet.org titled "4 Prisoners Facing Executions or Serving Extreme Jail Sentences Who Very Well May Be Innocent" by Liliana Segura, which featured Efrén's case.

They also discussed another article recently featured in The Michigan Messenger titled "Drug cases dismissed following pleas by corrupt narcotics cops" by Eartha Jane Melzer. This article was about 40 wrongful convictions dismissed in Berrien County (the county Efrén was convicted in) by Chief Prosecutor Arthur Cotter as a result of two police officers who have pleaded guilty to federal charges that they made up evidence, conducted illegal searches and wrongfully arrested people.

Click the play button on the left side of the flash player below to listen to Jack's exclusive interview with Efrén.



A special thanks to our friend Jack Ebling for his continued support, and for helping us keep the injustice surrounding Efrén's wrongful incarceration in the public eye.

Biographical Information

Jack Ebling, host of "Ebling and You" and co-host of "Jack and Tom" on WILS, is a broadcaster and writer who has covered high school, college, and pro sports for nearly 30 years. He has been named Michigan Sportswriter of the Year three times and was inducted into the Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

Jack spent more than 24 years at the Lansing State Journal as a beat writer and columnist before moving to talk radio, television, and freelance writing. He has also been a contributor to Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, Basketball Times, and Street & Smith’s College Football and College Basketball.

While Jack's background has been largely sports, on Ebling and You, Jack tackles an array of topics and talks with daily with political, business, entertainment and sports newsmakers in Lansing, in Michigan and around the nation.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Efrén Appears on Ebling and You Radio Show

Yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, August 9, 2009, Jack Ebling, AM 1320 WILS Lansing radio show host, interviewed Efrén on his show, Ebling and You.

Jack and Efrén discussed a recent speech he gave to youth in Toronto, Ontario (Canada) encouraging peace between police and youth in the city, how Efrén remains so positive despite enduring 20 years of wrongful imprisonment, his work promoting the graduation of high school Xicana/Latina students, among other things.

Click the play button on the left side of the flash player below to listen to Jack's exclusive interview with Efrén.



A special thanks to our friend Jack Ebling for his continued support, and for helping us keep the injustice surrounding Efrén's wrongful incarceration in the public eye.

Biographical Information

Jack Ebling, host of "Ebling and You" and co-host of "Jack and Tom" on WILS, is a broadcaster and writer who has covered high school, college, and pro sports for nearly 30 years. He has been named Michigan Sportswriter of the Year three times and was inducted into the Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

Jack spent more than 24 years at the Lansing State Journal as a beat writer and columnist before moving to talk radio, television, and freelance writing. He has also been a contributor to Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, Basketball Times, and Street & Smith’s College Football and College Basketball.

While Jack's background has been largely sports, on Ebling and You, Jack tackles an array of topics and talks with daily with political, business, entertainment and sports newsmakers in Lansing, in Michigan and around the nation.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Contact Us Via New Google Voice Number

You can now contact us using our new Google Voice number.

If you would like to call and leave a comment, make a suggestion, request additional information about Efrén's case, or learn how you can assist our campaign to free him, you can leave us a voice mail message by calling our Google Voice number at 269-849-9056.

If you would like to speak to a member of Efrén's family, or a member of The Injustice Must End (TIME) Committee to Free Efrén Paredes, Jr., please state what you would like to discuss and leave your name, phone number, and the best time to return your call.  This will help us determine the best person to respond to your request.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Petition to Gov. Granholm Supporting Release of Efrén Paredes, Jr. on Change.Org Web Site

Please sign the new petition to Gov. Granholm supporting Efrén's release that has been created on the Change.org web site. You are welcome to edit the letter and include additional personal thoughts and feelings which is highly encouraged. It will only take you a few brief moments to complete the process.

Once you sign the letter please forward the campaign to others and ask them to do the same. You are encouraged to to share this note on your wall to help spread the word as well. The petition appears below.

According to the Change.org web site:
"Today as citizens of the world, we face a daunting array of social and environmental problems ranging from health care and education to global warming and economic inequality. For each of these issues, whether local or global in scope, there are millions of people who care passionately about working for change but lack the information and opportunities necessary to translate their interest into effective action.

Change.org aims to address this need by serving as the central platform informing and empowering movements for social change around the most important issues of our time."
We can not underscore enough the urgency of this very important call to action. Efrén's life and future are depending on our collective efforts. Thank you for your continued support, and please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers.




Saturday, June 27, 2009

Freedom March for Wrongful Convictions

Organizers hosted the Freedom March for Wrongful Convictions ("FMWC") on the steps of the capitol in Lansing, Michigan on Saturday, June 27, 2009. It was part of a coordinated multi-state effort to raise awareness of wrongful convictions and cast a spotlight on the need for criminal justice reform.

Representatives from the Innocence Project, Amnesty International, Peace Education Center, and other organizations were in attendance. WLNS-TV 6 News, WILX-TV 10 News, and the Lansing State Journal were present to report about the gathering.

Walter Swift, a recently exonerated former prisoner who was released after serving 27 years of incarceration, spoke at the event and discussed his struggle to prove his innocence.

In November 1982, Walter was wrongly convicted of rape and sentenced to 55 years' imprisonment. Convicted at the age of 21 on the basis of evidence that has been discredited, Walter nonetheless languished behind bars for almost 27 years for a crime he did not commit.

Ten years ago his case came to the attention of the Innocence Project, a non-profit legal clinic founded in New York in 1992 by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld. "Evidence shows that the victim's eyewitness identification was tragically wrong", says Olga Akselrod, an Innocence Project attorney.

After a decade of investigation and campaigning by the Innocence Project, Walter was exonerated in April 2008. "Walter Swift has been fully exonerated after spending most of his adult life in prison", said Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck.

After the event Efrén spoke with Walter Swift via telephone. Walter conveyed to Efrén that he will begin mentioning his campaign for freedom when he discusses wrongful convictions and the need for reform in the criminal justice system as he travels across the state.

Members of The Injustice Must End (TIME) Committee from both the Lansing and Detroit areas were also present to express support for Efrén and the event. One member of the Lansing TIME Committee spoke at the event on Efrén's behalf, and a member of the Detroit TIME Committee was interviewed by WLNX-TV 6.

The event was a success. Organizers of the event and those in attendance will work together to continue building on their efforts and plan for an even larger gathering next year. Educating the public about the facts surrounding wrongful convictions is a very important step in creating meaningful reform in a system that has ignored human rights and the rule of law for far too long.

Wrongful Convictions Facts

There have been 240 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States.
• The first DNA exoneration took place in 1989. Exonerations have been won in 34 states; since 2000, there have been 171 exonerations.
• 17 of the 240 people exonerated through DNA served time on death row.
• The average length of time served by exonerees is 12 years. The total number of years served is approximately 2,982.
Facts Source: http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/351.php


Free Efrén Paredes, Jr. Poster and T-Shirt Slide Show

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