On December 15, at the New York Bar Association in Manhattan, abolitionists had their day in court. At an all-day hearing called by state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to examine the currently defunct capital punishment law in New York state, former death row prisoners Madison Hobley, Shujaa Graham and Juan Menendez gave New York legislators three more reasons to send Gov. George Pataki a clear message: Don’t bring the death penalty back to New York!
In the state of Illinois, as well as a number of other states in America, the life without parole sentence is popular. This practice is billed as an effective deterrent to crime, though it has yet to stem the flood of criminals entering the justice system and, ultimately, the prison system.
Kevin Cooper has been on California?s death row since 1985. Last year, the state of California set February 10 as an execution date for Kevin, but abolitionists rose to the challenge with a broad-based struggle--involving Kevin himself from inside prison walls and hundreds outside--that pressured the court system to stop the execution. Kevin spoke to the Campaign convention via speakerphone.
Barbara Ransby is a historian, author and activist -- a veteran of many civil rights and human rights struggles of the past 30 years. Her acclaimed recent book is Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision.
Madison Hobley is a former death row prisoner in Illinois who was pardoned by then-Gov. George Ryan in January 2003. Accused of an arson that killed seven people, including his wife and son, Madison was tortured by Chicago police under the command of Jon Burge--and sent to prison, where he spent 16 years imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit.
Monique Matthews is the sister of Ryan Matthews, who was finally freed in 2004 after eight years behind bars -- five of them on death row -- for a murder he did not commit. From the moment of his arrest, Ryan's family fought to prove his innocence and win his freedom, traveling across the U.S. and other countries to spread their message.
Shujaa Graham is a former California death row prisoner and member of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Since he was freed, he has dedicated himself to speaking out in the struggle against the death penalty, and for social justice.
Billy Moore spent almost 17 years on Georgia's death row for a robbery and murder that he confessed and pled guilty to. He was paroled in 1991 after a group of the victim's family spoke out against his execution -- and has spent the time since speaking out against the death penalty.
About 140 activists from across the country came together in Chicago on November 13-14 for the Campaign to End the Death Penalty's fourth national convention. The weekend was an exchange of ideas and beliefs--about the capital punishment system, the struggles of the past, our movement against the death penalty and how our organization can contribute to abolishing executions.
The Campaign to End the Death Penalty is extremely proud to announce that it is a recipient of one of the Ford Foundation’s 2004 Leadership for a Changing World Awards. Out of nearly 1,000 groups, we were selected to receive this award to commend our efforts in fighting to abolish the death penalty. The award was given specifically in recognition of the work of four Campaigners in Illinois: Greta Holmes, Alice Kim, Noreen McNulty and Joan Parkin.