National initiatives and resolution

By: Marlene Martin

Delegates at the convention voted in favor of the following:

SPEAKING TOUR: Convention delegates voted in favor of having a national speaking tour starting in the fall of 2009 to run through 2010, theme to be decided. Please email any ideas to marlene@nodeathpenalty.org

WEB SITE: Delegates voted in favor of forming a committee to enhance our Web site. Those on the committee are Derrel Myers, Laura Brady, Lee Wengraf and Liliana Segura. If others would like to join the committee, please contact Derrel Myers at dmyers@lmi.net.

RAISE MONTHLY SUSTAINERS TO 150: Delegates voted in favor of raising the CEDP'S monthly sustainers to 150 by next year's convention. Prior to convention, we had 95 sustainers, and by the end, we had signed up 15 more, so we are well on our way. Thanks to Crystal Bybee and Derrel Myers efforts during the convention that made this possible. Our new monthly sustainer coordinator is Rebecca Kurti from the NY CEDP. Her email is rebkurti@yahoo.com. Welcome Rebecca!

STAN TOOKIE WILLIAMS COMMEMORATION EVENTS: Delegates voted in favor of commemorating the third anniversary of Stan Tookie Williams' execution on December 13. A public hearing entitled, "What's really happening on California's death row," was held in San Francisco on that date. Five hundred people turned out to hear moving testimony from former death row prisoners and activists. Many chapters combined their holiday prisoner-card writing event as part of a commencement for Stan Tookie Williams and his work. Some showed clips of the recent documentary by Barbara Becnel, Tribute: Stanley Tookie Williams, 1953-2005 others showed clips from the movie Redemption. See chapter reports on pages 12-13 for more details.

RESOLUTION ON LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE: Delegates voted in favor of a resolution that states, "We do not advocate life without the possibility of parole sentences as a humane or just alternative to the death penalty." This resolution was in keeping with a resolution passed in 2004, and was a reconfirmation that our organization does not see harsh, permanent sentences as something social justice fighters should be advocating.

NEW BOARD MEMBERS: Crystal Bybee, Martina Correa, Pat Foley, Lily Hughes, Marlene Martin, Derrel Myers, Sandra Reed, Yusef Salaam, Jeannine Scott, Liliana Segura and Lee Wengraf. Darby Tillis is an honorary Board member.

Welcome to Martina Correa and Lily Hughes as new board members!

A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO FORMER BOARD MEMBERS: Greta Holmes and Mike Stark decided not to be included on the 2008 board slate. We want to give a shout out of thanks for the years they have spent on the board--for their many suggestions and thoughtful criticisms. Both are talented and dedicated activists, and they plan to remain very active with their local CEDP chapters.

Barbara Becnel and Alice Kim have recently resigned from the CEDP board. They have contributed their time, energy and creativity to helping make the CEDP the grassroots, fighting organization it is today.

Both Barbara and Alice will continue to collaborate with the CEDP, but they plan to focus their energies, in part, on deepening the work of the Stan Tookie Williams legacy network. We thank them both.