1 May 2008
First, welcome to everyone who has joined this list since our last post, including the folks who signed up at last weeks Amnesty International Annual General Meeting in Virginia .
CONTENTS OF THIS MESSAGE
Executions Resume – First post-Baze execution is May 6
What to Do from Far Far Away
Catching Up With Capital X
Bumper Stickers, Buttons & Shirts
Farewell to David Elliot
EXECUTIONS RESUME – FIRST POST-BAZE EXECUTION IS MAY 6
Return to Executions
…But U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stevens Changes His Mind.
After the longest moratorium in 25 years, executions are set to resume in the U.S. next week in Georgia , where William Lynd is scheduled to be killed on May 6, 2008 in response to his murders of Virginia "Ginger" Moore and Leslie Joan Sharkey. A number of other southern states – including Oklahoma , Texas and Virginia – have also set execution dates. (Please see the top right section at http://www.NCADP.org for more details and action alerts. Especially if you have a fax machine or are willing to overnight a letter to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles for delivery not later than 9am Monday morning, please follow that link and take that action.)
In a way, this is simply a resumption of the status quo before the U.S. Supreme Court announced in September 2007 that it would review one state’s lethal injection protocol. The Court handed down its decision on April 16, thus clearing the way for new execution dates to be set.
However it is perhaps more important to note what the Court did not consider. The Court did not argue that the death penalty is a meritorious public policy. The Court did not declare that capital punishment is free of blunders, biases and bureaucracies – blunders because of the number of innocent people sentenced to death; biases because of the class and racial inequities that plague the system; and bureaucracies because of the cumbersome and time-consuming nature of death penalty appeals.
These things about the death penalty were true before the moratorium began. They are just as true now that the moratorium has ended.
Indeed, after more than 30 years of supporting executions, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens changed his mind and now concludes that the death penalty violates the constitutionbecause it amounts to no more than the pointless infliction of pain. In his opinion in the Baze decision, Stevens indicated that if it were up to him, he would do away with the death penalty altogether. He challenges all of us to engage in "… a dispassionate, impartial comparison of the enormous costs that death penalty litigation imposes on society with the benefits that it produces…."
As executions resume in the U.S. , it indeed is time for such a contemplation.
Today your work to oppose – and abolish – capital punishment is more important than ever before. Please click here to help NCADP pay for the work that needs to be done.
WHAT TO DO FROM FAR FAR AWAY
Recently Alison wrote to me:
I have been a subscriber to the newsletter for sometime now, but to tell you the truth
I live in a small town in NSW, Australia . As you know, Australia doesn’t have the death
penalty anymore, but I would really like to see it stopped in the USA . Is there anything that I can do, given I am not a US citizen, or live there? I would be interested in being involved in someway if you can think of something. Anyway, it is great to read the newsletters anyway, Thanks Abe
There is a list of ten things you can do here on our web page:
Clearly not all of these ideas work for our friends outside of the U.S. , but take a look and think about how you can use the circles that you travel in to further the cause you believe in. Here’s a few more ideas:
* Write a letter to the editor of your local paper about why you oppose the death penalty. When it is published, send a copy to the U.S. Ambassador to your country, and to your Ambassador to the U.S. , with a note asking them to raise this as an issue of concern with their higher ups.
* Rent a film with a death penalty film and invite friends to watch and discuss it with you, or hold a public showing and discussion at the library or a local faith community. You can add an action component such as asking everyone to write a letter protesting an upcoming execution, and/or take up a collection to help support the work of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
* Think about other things that you can do, and share those ideas with me here at abe@NCADP.org – I’ll compile and share some of them every once in a while.
CATCHING UP WITH CAPITAL X
Esther Brown of Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty in Alabama writes this update on Capital X, who is walking from Trenton , NJ to Austin , TX to raise awareness about the death penalty:
X is in Alabama ! I picked him up yesterday evening and brought him to my house after dinner with Judy and Jim. There was a long phone call with Holman and friendships were born. X and I talked late into the night. As I write, Judy has taken X to a local elementary school and an interview with the People’s Voice will follow, back at my house. Tonight X will be in Tuskegee with Chief Frazier, of The Revealer program, participating in a town meeting.
Lots is happening! X will be in Birmingham in a couple of days and is open to doing speaking and or interviews. He is an extraordinary man in every sense of the word and we are grateful for his friendship.
If you would like to meet with him please contact him at 281 818 8935 or at his email
firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 334 499 0003
The video blog is here: http://onloq.com/channels/from-the-front-lines/
More is on the Journey of Hope Blog at http://www.thejourneyofhope.blogspot.com/
Megan wrote this in the Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty weekly update….
Yesterday, our board chair, Amy Miller spoke to a class at Omaha Marian High School and I was fortunate to be able to tag along. Not everyone in the class agreed on abolition, but it was lively discussion and some serious questions were brought up by the students. On our way back from Omaha , we discussed how important it is to continue to keep abolition a hot topic in Nebraska . When we arrived back to the office, I had an amazing phone call from a woman in Lexington who wanted to voice her support for abolition, and despite not being able to support NADP financially, wanted to know what she could do to help our cause. I told her write or call her elected officials, talk to your friends about abolition, and attend NADP related events. Her call was so passionate about her reasons behind wanting abolition. When the call ended, she said "I am going to call my senator at home right now." These two events were just small reminders about how much work we have done on the journey towards abolition as well as how much work we have left. We want to know how you are continuing to keep the fight for abolition going in your area of the state. We also want to extend our help! NADP is more than happy to come to your events, organizations, house parties, classrooms, anywhere there is an audience small or large to discuss the death penalty. We just want to spread the word on how we plan to end the death penalty in Nebraska ! If you want to either let us know how you are continuing your fight for abolition or if you want an NADP speaker to come talk to your group about the death penalty, please contact me at 402.477.7787 or email@example.com.
Thank you again for all your ongoing support.
Megan Moslander, Office Manager
BUMPER STICKERS, BUTTONS AND SHIRTS
For those of you who responded to the opportunity to receive visibility tools, you should have them by now. Please let me know how they are working for you! And to those who sent contributions to help cover the costs of that project, thanks very much! Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
FAREWELL TO DAVID ELLIOT
David Elliot, NCADP’s Communications Director, will complete his service with the National Coalition this Friday. David is leaving to take a new position working on broader social justice issues at U. S. Action.
Recently, former NCADP Board Chair Marshall Dayan wrote the following tribute to David. We will miss him here – myself especially, since his office is across the hall from mine and everyone else is all the way at the other end of a very long hall! It’s not "goodbye," David, its "see you later!" Thanks for all that you have done in your tenure at NCADP. -abe
An Open Letter to David:
David, I dare say that you and I have worked together for well over a decade. Your work has been remarkable in many, many ways. Your communications skills are top-drawer, your understanding of new and old media is equal to anyone’s I’ve met and with whom I’ve worked, your interpersonal skills are unsurpassed, and your passion for our work, the work of saving the lives of those condemned to death in America, whether through abolition or on a case-by-case basis, are likewise unsurpassed. I want to take a liberty to write particularly about your interpersonal skills. There have been occasions, once or twice, when the passions, the stakes, the difficulties of our work, have led to "intrafamily squabbles." No one, absolutely no one, has had more patience, more understanding, greater standing in the community, to divine peaceful resolutions to these squabbles than have you. I believe that your ability comes from an understanding that is the foundation of this work, an understanding that each of us as human beings–death row inmate, surviving family member, big-headed lawyer or pig-headed organizer, is endowed with special dignity and deserving of respect by others, and you’ve brought that understanding to all of your work and all of your tasks, big and small, on behalf of the anti-death penalty movement in America.
I wish you well in your new endeavor, and all your future endeavors, and though I saddened by your leaving the National Coalition, I am filled with admiration for the work you’ve done for the National Coalition, and for the movement. I wish to pledge $500.00 to the National Coalition in your honor, and to strongly encourage at least 19 other friends of yours and supporters of your work to match my pledge to establish a $10,000.00 living legacy in your honor, and to further the work in which you’ve so tirelessly engaged. With much love, Marshall Dayan
Friends, please click here to join Marshall with a contribution in recognition of David Elliot’s legacy at NCADP.
Yours in the Struggle,
Abraham J. Bonowitz
Director of Affiliate Support
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty