FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jay Jenkins, Vice-President
Phone: (515) 229-6928
Sugar Land, TX – The Convict Leasing and Labor Project (CLLP) calls on the Fort Bend ISD school board and Superintendent Charles Dupre to cancel Sunday's “blessing of the ground” ceremony for the Sugar Land 95 following the resignation of the chairman of the committee planning the event.
In the resignation letter he submitted Wednesday, Michael Harris said was stepping down because district officials had refused to commit to delaying the reburial of the 95 bodies found at a high school construction site in early 2018.
The district has repeatedly refused requests from CLLP and other community stakeholders to delay reburying the bodies until more work is done to identify their descendants. CLLP also wants the district to conduct additional surveys to determine if any other bodies are buried in adjacent land.
“Continuing with the ceremony at this point is a slap in the face to all of the community members that offered their time and input to FBISD in good faith," said Reginald Moore, founder and President of CLLP.
"Mr. Harris’s resignation is the latest confirmation that FBISD’s plans for reinterment have always been about limiting their own liability and not honoring the dignity of the Sugar Land 95," Mr. Moore added. "With FBISD’s intentions laid bare, Dr. Dupre must do the right thing and cancel the planned ceremony.”
A year ago, Judge David Shoemake ordered the district to seek additional community input, questioning whether their financial interest in a quick reburial left them unable to make an objective decision. The district has spent untold dollars fighting this decision instead of offering any meaningful way for stakeholders and community members to share their opinions.
The district convened another community advisory council in early 2019. However, the council never met again after a tense meeting in which district officials acknowledged they had easily changed the construction plans for the new school despite having told Judge Shoemake there was no way for them to do so for any less than $18 million.
CLLP plans to release select emails from FBISD's previous failed community task forces on Twitter. To learn more about the Convict Leasing and Labor Project, visit our website at https://www.cllptx.org/. Follow CLLP on Facebook and Twitter (@cllptx).