Who We Are

The Silk Plant Forest Truth CommitteeWhat We and the Community Have Done

The Silk Plant Forest Truth Committee is a broad and diverse group of Winston-Salem citizens.  We are men and women of diverse racial, religious, political, and socio-economic backgrounds, who have studied case materials closely, attended court hearings, and persistently raised questions in public meetings. We are united by one imperative: to have the truth of the Silk Plant Forest case told for Jill Marker, for Kalvin Michael Smith, and for the integrity of our public safety and justice systems. We demand nothing more and will accept nothing less.

The Silk Plant Forest Truth Committee is unrelated to the Silk Plant Forest Citizens Review Committee, which was empanelled by the Winston-Salem City Council from 2007 to 2009  to review the original 1995-1997 Winston-Salem Police Department investigation of the Silk Plant Forest case and plausibly related cases.

Co-Chairs:

  • Dr. Stephen Boyd, Easley Professor of Religion, Wake Forest University
  • The Reverend Kelly Carpenter, Pastor, Green Street United Methodist Church
  • Ms. Lyn Warmath Boyd, former Executive Director, Mothers for Justice
  • Ms. Anne Donovan, Admissions and Enrollment Coordinator for Adult Education, Salem College

Board of Advisers

  • Imam Leonard Abdullah, Masjid Al-Mu-Minum, Winston-Salem, NC
  • Reverend Steve Angle, Pastor, Southside Community Church​, Winston-Salem, NC
  • Reverend Willard Bass, Director, Institute for Dismantling Racism, Winston-Salem, NC
  • Robert M. Elliot, Senior Partner, Elliot Morgan Parsonage, Winston-Salem, NC
  • Reverend Dr. A.G. Eversley, Pastor, Dellabrook Presbyterian Church, Winston-Salem, NC
  • Bishop Todd Fulton, President, Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem & Vicinity; Pastor, Mt. Moriah; World Outreach Center, Kernersville, NC
  • Imam Khalid Griggs, Community Mosque, W-S, NC
  • Mr. Darryl Hunt, Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice, Winston-Salem, NC
  • Reverend Donald Jenkins, Pastor, St. Paul United Methodist Church
  • Reverend Toure Marshall, Grace Presbyterian Church
  • Reverend Dr. John Mendez, Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, W-S, NC
  • Reverend Dr. Susan Parker, W-S, NC
  • Reverend Nathan Parrish, Pastor, Peace Haven Baptist Church, W-S, NC
  • Professor Kami Chavis Simmons,  Director of the Criminal Justice Program, Wake Forest University, W-S, NC
  • Rabbi Mark Strauss-Cohn, Temple Emanuel of Winston-Salem, NC

Education and Advocacy

  • Attended judicial hearings of Silk Plant Forest Case
  • Successfully negotiated with WS City Council to broaden the scope of review by the Silk Plant Forest Citizens’ Review Committee and add to the list of Committee members
  • Attended all meetings of the Silk Plant Forest Review Committee – participated in Public Comment Period.
  • After completion of report by Silk Plant Forest Citizens Review Committee lobbied city of Winston Salem to make complete, unredacted report of Citizens’ Review Committee public immediately.
  • Attended all Public Safety Committee and City Council Meetings dealing with the SPF case – participated in Public Comment Period.
  • Published Op Ed columns and Letters to the Editor
  • Wrote letters to City Council as a whole and to individual officials
  • Had meetings with Mayor Allen Joines to discuss the city’s role
  • Had meetings with WSPD Chief Scott Cunningham regarding investigation
  • Engaged former FBI Assistant Director Christopher Swecker to do an independent review of the investigation by the Winston Salem Police Department.
  • Attended hearings related to suit filed by eight WSPD officers to keep content of their interviews with SPFCRC investigators sealed.
  • Retained attorney (unaffiliated with committee) to file Amicus Brief on behalf of SPFTC in support of Kalvin Michael Smith’s Federal writ of habeas corpus petition.
  • Organized candlelight vigils and rallies in support of justice for KMS (see below)
  • Wrote to Attorney General Cooper and local District Attorney Jim O’Neal providing them with full report by Chris Swecker
  • Organized demonstration in front of Justice Building in Raleigh (location of Cooper’s office) in support of action by the AG’s office to join with defense of KMS.
  • Given newspaper, TV and radio interviews
  • Conducted information sessions at local congregations
  • Included case materials in a unit of a university course, Religion and Public Engagement, dealing with mass incarceration
  • Participated in panel discussions at churches, universities.
  • Provided signs, shirts and banners for those participating in annual MLK march
  • Participated in seminars at WFU Innocence Center regarding the case

Events

For photos, please visit our page on Facebook – “Free Kalvin Now”

  • Candlelight Vigil for Kalvin Michael Smith, January 8, 2009
  • Rally to Truth and Justice, April 4, 2009
  • Press Conference Responding to Swecker Report at City Hall, Winston-Salem, NC
  • Martin Luther King Day March, Winston-Salem, NC, January 21, 2013
  • Demonstration at North Carolina Department of Justice, April 2013