In Memory of Brother Leonard Gakinya.  A native from Kenya residing in Springfield, Missouri levitating on October 2, 2002 to rest easy with the ancestors.  Age 27.
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OFFICIAL STATEMENT and Demand for a Federal Investigation
DATE: October 7, 2002

Kenyaspeaks.com is a website which discusses issues that directly affect youth in Missouri. Particular focus is placed on black children particularly in Missouri. Supporting information concerning child abuse laws both state and nationally are also covered.

The focus of Kenyaspeaks.com is to not replace the role of the police, political officials, civil rights activists or organizations, or the media. But it needs to be understood that Kenyaspeaks.com will report the news, information, history, and other resources that are IGNORED or COVERED UP in the media. Additionally, Kenyaspeaks.com hopes to help people see a WIDER viewpoint and to look outside of the box.

Regarding the suspicious death of Leonard Gakinya, this website and its online relationship with other websites has already proven that the Internet is an effective form of communication/ Kenyaspeaks.com was notified on October 5, 2002.  At that point, no media in Missouri outside of SW Missouri was aware of the hanging death of Mr. Gakinya.

How Kenyaspeaks.com Found Out & Spread the Word
1. KenyaSpeaks.com was notified via the Internet of the original article regarding the suspicious death of Leonard Gakinya by the webmaster of www.Ozarkopathy.org on Saturday, October 5, 2002.

2. It is important to note, that www.Kenyaspeaks.com notified 100's of contacts via the Internet encountering what could be described as "denial" that a potential lynching could have occurred in the year 2002. The initial notification that this situation occurred began on Sunday, October 6, 2002.

3. Shocked by the discovery that the media did not know about this and unsure as to whether or not the media was intentionally not reporting this information, Kenyaspeaks.com notified Springfield contacts for further clarification and to stage a demonstration in Springfield. The desire to seek a demonstration followed the conversation with a Springfield city official, who felt that the "investigation was over." He felt that it was 100 percent accurate that Mr. Gakinya committed suicide. He felt that this was not a racial incident. These conversations took place on Tuesday, October 8, 2002. 

4. October 9, 2002, Kenyaspeaks.com received its first phone call from a lady who is a member of the local Springfield chapter of NAACP. This was a cry for help as she felt that the local authorities including the POLICE and the MEDIA were completely trying to cover this incident up. This contact additionally provided Kenyaspeaks.com with supporting information concerning that the quick ruling of suicide might not be accurate. It was the impression that the people in Springfield needed help and Kenyaspeaks.com went and found help: Wynna Faye Elbert and Almeta Crayton. Both ladies are Columbia, MO civil rights activists, as well as, leaders in the community.

5. It is not clear as to why the media in the state did not cover this incident. But it appeared that the media outside of Springfield did not know about Gakinya's death until Wednesday, October 9. The media contacted was primarily radio, television, and newspaper in Columbia. Additionally, KenyaSpeaks.com contacted the KC CALL and BET. These phone calls came as a result of contacting Wynna Faye Elbert who then contacted Almeta Crayton after she was shown the information on Kenyaspeaks.com. Wynna Faye Elbert and Almeta Crayton, with the supported documentation, from Kenayspeaks.com began the impetus of notifying the media and other folk regarding this incident.

6. Kenyaspeaks.com would like the family of Leonard Gakinya to know that it fully supports a thorough investigation into the death. Considering the "familiar face" of lynching and reported racial crimes in Springfield, coupled with the recent dedication of the plaque just 2 blocks away a call for a federal investigation is necessary.

7. Kenyaspeaks.com escorted Columbia city councilwoman, Almeta Crayton to Springfield on Thursday, October 10, 2001 in order to get a hands-on look at the place in which Mr. Gakinya died as well as the location of the dedication of the plaque. Kenyaspeaks.com was given permission from the photographer, to bring back the photographs and to display as necessary to the media and appropriate parties.

8. Kenyaspeaks.com had an opportunity to meet the family and speak with Mr. Gakinya's mother. The family is strong and dealing as best as they can. They know that they are not alone. Mr. Gakinya's mother stated that she never saw the black gloves before. She stated that her son was poor and would not have bought gloves and that the gloves were brand new. She stated that the way the two original suicide attempts were listed were inaccurate. She stated that at first the police did not want her to view the body but she insisted. When she viewed the body, she noticed a bruise on Mr. Gakinya's forehead.

9. Kenyaspeaks.com also would like to point out that although the clock has seemingly rolled back 100 years, the difference in 2002 is that blacks have the protection of the Constitution  as first class citizens to Freedom of Speech. Also, in 1906 the Internet was not around which should make anyone realize that there probably have been many heinous crimes that have gone unreported and/or unknown to the media. If traditional media refuses to get the message out about this suspicious death, then Kenyaspeaks.com will be dedicated to providing an online outlet for those interested in the investigation process.


CALL FOR A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION

Kenyaspeaks.com has spoken with the Gakinya family, viewed the scene of the death, spoken with Springfield citizens and city officials and has determined that a federal investigation is urgently necessary. Kenyaspeaks.com has these following questions.

1. Why was the media not made aware of this atrocity? If they were aware, why was this incident not covered? Especially considering that this death by hanging falls on the heels of the plaque-dedication and was approximately 2 blocks away from the dedication and original lynching of 3 black men in 1906. Further information reveals that they were hung on a tower, which was in the middle of the square, and torn down in 1908.

2. The media in Columbia were contacted, including the Columbia Daily Tribune, the Columbia Missourian, KOPN, Channel 8 and Channel 17,  yet none had reported this incident by the date of this official statement.

3. The details regarding the investigation of Mr. Gakinya's death on Wednesday, October 3 have several things left unresolved. According to the Springfield News-Leader, Mr. Gakinya was wearing black gloves. Kenyaspeaks.com spoke to the mother who stated that she never saw the gloves before. Additionally, she stated that Mr. Gakinya did not have money and the gloves were brand new. Should it have been further investigated as to how Mr. Gakinya could have climbed the radio tower, sat on a bar, tied a rope around his neck, and then tied a rope to the horizontal bar all while wearing a brand new pair of thick, black work gloves?

4. In the media report of this accident there is no mention about a bruise on his forehead.

5. The Springfield Police Department was responsible for the initial investigation. It had been reported in several sources during the dedication of the plaque that the Springfield Police were responsible for the lynching death of the three black men in 1906. It is also known that the Springfield Police had not given 100 percent effort in the investigation considering that the quickness to determine it a suicide took place on the day of the discovery of Mr. Gakinya's body.

6. Why did the NAACP, Department of Justice and the city of Springfield not take a firm initiative to fully investigate this situation sooner? Did the obvious coincidences and questions concerning this death not concern these trained authorities? Additionally, it has been mentioned that several Springfield citizens who were courageous enough to speak out about this suspicious death were told to "leave it alone" by local officials.

7. A federal investigation should be conducted immediately. Protection should be given to those persons who have information and complete fairness regarding this death should be duly attained.

8. If Mr. Gakinya died of a suicide, then a thorough attempt to discover the details of what occurred should take place in order to rule out the possibility of foul play. Considering the deep-seated racism that exists in Springfield, that community owes its citizens, particularly its citizens of color, a complete and thorough investigation.
Email: kenya@kenyaspeaks.com
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