PIRATE MEDIA! LIBERATION RADIO IN AMERICA: ARRESTING THE AIRWAVES!

By: Luis J. Rodriguez


Decatur, IL

Out of his dining room, Napoleon Williams has been broadcasting nightly about issues which the mass media won't touch, including the growing instances of police terror in his Southern Illinois community. Williams is the proprietor of Liberation Radio, an unlicensed rap-and-talk radio program.

For his efforts, Williams, 36, has been arrested, his house raided (at one point, police pulled a gun on his then two-year-old daughter) and ostracized. His live in girlfriend, 21 year old Mildred Jones, has also been incarcerated, and most recently, the State of Illinois has taken away their child to an unknown destination--without any investigation or evidence! Their only crime: Free Expression.

"They have yet to show us any situation where our baby came to any harm with us," Williams says. "There is no evidence, only allegations. Meanwhile, Mildred lingers in jail, and I don't know where they've taken our daughter."

Williams says the local press won't touch this story--although they were swift in condemning him when the local police raided his home. As a young black man with an unlicensed radio facility, it appears Williams is too "dangerous" for the powers that be in Decatur.

Williams says State's Attorney Lawrence Fichter has been carrying out what amounts to a personal vendetta against him, confiscating his equipment to incarcerating his girlfriend and taking away his baby, all under the cover of the law.

"They came in and held me against the wall, while the baby cried as they grabbed her," Williams says. "They say we endangered her, but it's the state which has placed her in danger."

Today in America we are witnessing a rise in censorship--such as national police associations targeting Ice-T's song "Cop Killer." We are also living in a time of an acute economic crisis. those communities most affected by the crisis--particularly African American and working class have been the most consistent targets of censorship. These are precisely the communities we need to hear from.

"When those who are supposed to protect you are doing this to you, who can you turn too?" Williams asks.

Williams and Jones need your help: they particularly need legal assistance. There are people like them all over this country. This is a story which needs to be told: We need to break the blackout on what's really going on in America.

You can reach Williams at (217) 422-3710 or write: Napoleon Williams, 756 S. Wise, Decatur, IL 62522.

Luis J. Rodriguez is a poet and journalist whose words have appeared in The Nation, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Reporter, Playboy, LA Weekly, and others. His first book "Poems Across The Pavement." (1989 Tia Chucha Press), won a 1989 Poetry Center Book Award from San Francisco State University. His second, "The Concrete River" (1991 Curbstone Press), won a PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award. "Always Running: A Memoir of La Vida Loca, Gang Days in LA" is forthcoming from Curbstone Press. Luis is a friend and supporter of R.O.C.

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