The Campaign to End the Death Penalty was honored to have the participation of several members of the Kids Against the Death Penalty at our recent convention in Austin, Texas. They are a group of mostly high school age kids who have taken a stand against the injustices of the death penalty. Some of the KADP have family members on death row, and all are courageous young men and women who speak out to their peers about this issue. KADP member Nicholas Been addressed our convention with the following words:
The world looked on in horror the night of September 21 as Troy Davis was legally lynched by the state of Georgia. It was shocking that no authority--not President Obama, not the governor of Georgia, not the parole board--would intervene to stop this tragic injustice.
Over a million people signed petitions urging the board to grant Troy clemency. Rallies were held around the country and around the world to protest his killing. "But the system ignored the people and lynched Troy Davis," said former Illinois prisoner and victim of police torture Mark Clements.
Many people throughout this country and world have been asking a very real and important question concerning the death penalty in this country. They want to know why it is so easy for the United States to execute a human being who may be innocent? Or why doesn't the court system in America acknowledge innocence as a legal claim within its courts of law?
These questions came to the forefront when the state of Georgia murdered Mr. Troy Anthony Davis on September 21, 2011. To understand why the judicial system within this country refuses to recognize innocence as a legal defense, you need to learn the history of this country. If you understand the history of this country, then you will understand the present.
In the midst of the Troy Davis fight, the Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP) received an overwhelming number of people visiting NoDeathPenalty.org, our website, and responding to our Troy Davis Facebook page. So many people visited our website that we had to upgrade our host to prevent it from crashing. And over 18,000 people went to our Facebook page.
Some of these people want to try to start up new chapters of the CEDP. Among the cities and states they represent are: Atlanta, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Ithaca, N.Y., Washington, D.C., Florida and Virginia.
THE EVENING of September 15 found Texas Gov. and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry partying it up with his buddy Donald Trump at Fall Fashion Week in New York City.
Back in Texas that night, Duane Buck sat in his cell awaiting the walk to the death chamber. He had eaten his final meal and the scheduled time for his execution had come and gone. In a few short hours, his death warrant would expire--and he sat awaiting a final decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on whether he would live or die.
The recent hunger strikes at Pelican Bay supermax prison in California expose the carefully planned and executed barbarism of life in supermax America.
The utter desperation of the human cargo behind the concertina wire, buried deep inside concrete coffins was gut-wrenching and heart-breaking. Hunger strikes are a tactic of last resort for the completely subjugated--a slow, painful, nonflammable version of self-immolation.
Prisoners in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison in California held a second three-week hunger strike in September and October to draw attention to the inhuman conditions they are kept in.
According to supporters of the prisoners, the hunger strike was ended after state officials negotiated with the inmates and agreed to several demands, including a review of cases in which prisoners have been kept in isolation because of their alleged gang affiliation rather than anything they did while in prison.
ON DECEMBER 1, we lost a true and courageous warrior in the fight against the death penalty and the criminal injustice system: Martina Correia. She died after a decade-long battle with breast cancer. She was 44.
Martina often joked that she had become known around the country and the world as “The Sister”—that is, the sister of Troy Davis, the Georgia death row prisoner who fought against his wrongful conviction and death sentence for more than 20 years.