Death Penalty Action

Mar 20, 2021

6 min read

Mothers, Daughters & Death Row

As Spring settles in, the world celebrates Women’s History Month. The vast majority of our social media followers, over 80%, are women! We want to celebrate and highlight the feminine power that is fueling our movement both online and in real life.

The programming we’ve got coming up in the next few weeks that tells the stories of women who persist in the struggle for death penalty abolition. We hope you’ll join us for these powerful and poignant conversations.

Register for our March webinar! This month, in recognition of Women’s History Month, our theme will be “Mothers, Daughters & Death Row”. Our panel will include:

Sabrina Butler-Smith, the first woman exoneree

Lisa Brown, the mother of Christopher Vialva who was executed by the federal government on September 24, 2020

Bethany Bourgeois-George, whose father, Alfred, was executed by the federal government on December 11, 2020

Melinda Dawson, who lost her mother to murder and her husband was wrongfully accused

We hope you’ll join us for this poignant conversation! Register here.

Watch Free: The State of Texas vs. Melissa

Melissa Lucio has spent more than a decade on death row for the alleged murder of her two-year-old daughter, Mariah. In 2008, Lucio became the first Latina woman sentenced to death in Texas. In July 2019, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned a Texas court ruling and found Lucio’s right to a “complete defense” had been violated in her original trial. In February 2021, a sharply divided en banc Fifth Circuit reversed the 2019 grant of relief by a vote of 10 to 7. Lucio’s hope for exoneration and freedom now lies with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lucio has steadfastly maintained her innocence in the death of Mariah. “The State of Texas vs. Melissa,” a 2020 documentary by Sabrina Van Tassel, highlights many of the concerning facts around her case. The film is currently winning awards in film festivals around the world, and it is available to watch for a fee on various streaming platforms. Now, in collaboration with Sabrina Van Tassel and with explicit encouragement from Melissa Lucio, Death Penalty Action is making the film available for free viewing on this special platform.

To watch, click here. If you are able to pay the viewing fee, please do. To watch for free, use the code “Action123,” when prompted. Once you register you have three days to start watching it, and once you start watching, you have 24 hours to complete it.

Click here to become a sponsor of this special viewing opportunity. Thank you!

Join the Columbia Criminal Justice Coalition for a weekend-long, national, virtual summit with featured events including:

  • CURE National on the Repeal of the Exemption Clause of the 13th Amendment

Please visit to register!

Legendary human rights hero Delores Huerta made a short video recently talking about abolishing the death penalty in Nevada. Watch her powerful words here, and if you live in Nevada, click here to sign up with the campaign in that state!

Allison Cohen is the communications director for Death Penalty Action. She grew up in rural Ohio and went to Catholic school for 16 years, which gave her a strong foundation in a life of service. She attended Miami University where she earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Creative Writing with a focus in fiction. Immediately out of grad school, she became the first Director of Communication and Development for Ohioans to Stop Executions. Her experience in that position led her to meet many of the people who would become her colleagues at DPA! After exploring career options for eight-ish years, including earning her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, becoming a certified yoga teacher and working with individuals with disabilities, she is happily at home doing communications work for the abolition movement again. She currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, her daughter, her dog and her cat.

Write your member of Congress and tell them you do not support the federal death penalty!

Live in Nevada? Nevadans are still reeling from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. To offset our state’s budgetary shortfall, we urge Governor Sisolak and the Nevada Legislature to repeal the costly and ineffective death penalty. Click here to take action!

The South Carolina Senate has passed legislation to allow for alternative methods of execution, including burning prisoners to death in the electric chair, or shooting them with a firing squad. The bill has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee in the South Carolina House of Representatives but as of this writing on 3/19/2021, it has not yet been scheduled for a hearing. Live in South Carolina? Please use this tool to write to your representative in the South Carolina House of Representatives to let them know how you feel.

Urge Governor Northam to sign the bill to repeal Virginia’s death penalty.

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Please chip-in any amount so we can abolish the federal death penalty in 2021!

If you prefer to donate with a check, our address is:

PO Box 89, Ghent, NY 12075.

Thank you!

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