The Campaign to End the Death Penalty takes on the Grim Reaper!
As the Campaign to End the Death Penalty reaches its fourth year, we should step back and look at our accomplishments. The Campaign has grown to the point where we now have chapters in 13 states. Activists in the Campaign have been involved with many important battles, from the fight for a moratorium in Illinois to the struggle to keep out the death penalty in Massachusetts.
Thousands of people will travel from around the country on April 24 to demonstrations in San Francisco and Philadelphia to demand a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
In what has already been an encouraging display of solidarity for the famed death-row inmate, activists have been organizing contingents to attend from trade unions, high schools, colleges, churches and community centers in cities throughout the country. Activists in other countries - like South Africa, France, Germany and Italy - have also pledged to demonstrate on April 24.
Anthony Porter, cleared of murder after 16 years on Illinois Death Row
By: Joan Parkin
The release of Illinois' tenth wrongfully convicted death-row inmate, Anthony Porter, in February has sparked the first statewide initiative towards a moratorium since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.
Here in Illinois, the heat is on. The fight to win justice for the Death Row 10 has been central to the fight against the death penalty here. From police brutality to a racist court system, their cases expose all of the injustices of the death penalty.
The Campaign to End the Death Penalty's Bay Area chapters hosted a "Live From Death Row" event as a featured workshop at the Mumia Conference held in San Francisco on April 10.
The conference was a big success, drawing more than 1,200 people from all over the western U.S. More than 160 people attended the "Live From Death Row" workshop, where Kenny Collins and John Booth, two death-row inmates from Maryland, spoke beautifully and candidly about their experiences.
For the second year in a row, abolitionists have stopped the reinstatement of the death penalty in Massachusetts. On March 29, the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted down Governor Paul Cellucci's death penalty bill, 80 to 73.
In 1997, Cellucci and pro-death penalty advocates used the tragic murder of a 9-year-old to win support for the death penalty - and it nearly worked. The bill went down to defeat in a tie vote after pro-death penalty Rep. John Slattery changed sides at the last minute - because, he said, of the possibility of an innocent person being executed.
Opponents of the death penalty today face an important question: What is the best way to organize our forces to win abolition of the death penalty?
In the past 20 years, the abolitionist movement has seen a deterioration in death penalty legislation and law. We've seen the defunding of resource centers that provided legal help for many on death row. We've seen the appeals process severely curtailed. And we've seen the pace of executions pick up to levels comparable to the 1930s.
I awoke at 3:30 a.m. to the sound of loud police radios and chains clanging. My name is Ronald Kliner, and I am on death row at Pontiac, Ill. I am supposed to die today for a murder I did not do, nor was even present for, but that is another story. I have a stay on my execution pending post-conviction appeals.