I want to welcome the more than 1,000 people who have joined this list in the past ten days. No matter how you came to this issue, you have joined a network of individuals who are moving mountains and changing the world.
For some, opposition to the death penalty comes easy. For others, like me, it is a process. Or rather, a Journey.
I supported the death penalty when I first confronted it as a young man. That was in an academic setting. I set out to prove those anti-death penalty people were wrong, and instead, I proved to myself that it was I who was wrong.
The thing that changed my mind was realizing the stark and unmistakable unfairness of how the legal system in the US treats criminal defendants. Race, money, politics and geography all matter more than the severity of the crime when it comes to deciding who gets executed and who does not.
However, I still held on to the idea that we could make the system fair, and then get on with it. Then I got involved with the Journey of Hope… From Violence to Healing. The Journey is led by murder victim family members who oppose the death penalty, joined by the families of those on death row, exonerated death row survivors, and supporters like myself, most of whom have never been directly touched by violent crime or the legal system.
The first Journey was in 1993. I helped make it happen and I was present for nearly all of it. Ever since then, when I tell my story I say “The facts changed my head, and the Journey changed my heart.”
The next Journey starts in just under four weeks, in Ohio, where I live. Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ will kick it off, just as she did on that first Journey. There will be a day-long conference with amazing “voices of experience” on the death penalty, the first-ever Journey of Hope Leadership Awards Gala, an amazing send-off worship service, followed by a week of events across Ohio. All of the details are here.
That first Journey of Hope was in 1993 in Indiana. The legal community credited our work with slowing the pace of new death sentences and executions in that state for more than a decade. I believe the upcoming Ohio Journey will not only help end the death penalty forever in Ohio and across the nation, it will also create a new priority on meeting the true needs of murder victim family members.
Today I am asking you to click here to make a generous donation in support of the Ohio Journey. Death Penalty Action is in leadership on the design and organization of this 10-day event.
With your generous support today, this Journey will spur the change we all wish to see.
Thank you. Yours in the Struggle,
— Abraham J. Bonowitz
Co-Director, Death Penalty Action.
PS: Please chip in $5 or more — as much as possible, really — using a credit card, Paypal or you can even do it the traditional way and send send a check. We can only do this work because of YOU! The info you need is here. Please make the most of every opportunity to work for justice this week and every week!