Friday, October 01, 2004

Jeanette Popp to speak at the 2nd World Congress Against the Death Penalty

Jeanette Popp to speak at the 2nd World Congress Against the Death Penalty

Jeanette Popp, Chairperson of Texas Moratorium Network, has accepted an invitation to speak at the 2nd World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Montreal, Canada October 6-9, 2004.

Excerpt from their website: "From October 6-9, 2004, Montreal will be the world capital of human rights and a point of convergence for all citizens committed to the universal abolition of the death penalty. Whether you are a citizen, student, teacher, artist, lawyer, magistrate, elected official, or journalist, come join us to say NO to the death penalty in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Cuba and everywhere it affects men and women. 

Jeanette's daughter Nancy was murdered in Austin in 1988. Jeanette became intimately familiar with the many flaws of the Texas criminal justice system after two innocent men were wrongfully convicted of her daughter's murder and spent 12 years in prison. They were exonerated and released in 2001. The real killer was convicted in December 2001. Jeanette succcessfuly pressured the District Attorney not to seek the death penalty for her daughter's murderer. Jeanette's riveting testimony in 2001 helped convince two Texas legislative committees to vote in favor of moratorium legislation. She frequently travels across the nation speaking out against the death penalty. 

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Texas Death Penalty Discussion Day

Texas Death Penalty Discussion Day
October 22-24

We are organizing a "Texas Death Penalty Discussion Day" on October 22-24, as an event during Amnesty International's National Weekend of Faith in Action on the Death Penalty.

Amnesty's event takes place every October and seeks to bring together two important approaches to social justice: grassroots human rights activism and faith-based community action. The NWFA is not a national conference or event; rather, it is a weekend of solidarity action organized locally by faith communities all over the country.

Register for Amnesty's National Weekend of Faith in Action on the Death Penalty 

You do not have to be a member of a faith community to organize a "Death Penalty Discussion Day". Students, teachers, civic organizations and individuals are also welcome to organize death penalty-related events. By registering, you express your intention to organize a death penalty-related event during the weekend of October 22-24 or on a day that is more convenient for your group. (Students and teachers typically organize an event in the week leading up to Oct 22-24.) The nature of your event is totally up to you and your local group. The Amnesty organizing packet contains lots of ideas for types of activities. One possibility would be to watch the DVD "Balancing the Scales" and then have a discussion about the death penalty. There are five people scheduled for execution in Texas in October.

Click Read More for further details.

Amnesty has agreed to distribute TMN's moratorium resolution and our moratorium petition form in the packets that they send to registering Texas faith communities and other Texas registrants. They will also include a free copy of TMN's DVD "Balancing the Scales".

Last year, 35 faith communities in Texas participated in the Faith in Action weekend. We hope to raise that number to at least 100 this year. We have mailed information packets of our own about the "Death Penalty Discussion Day" to almost 1,000 faith communities. Email us, if you would like us to send you information. Or just go to the Amnesty site and register yourself or your faith community. 

In addition to our goal of 100 participating faith communities, individuals and other groups, we hope to get thousands of new signatures on petitions calling for a moratorium. Please sign-up and ask your faith community or school if you can collect petition signatures on October 24 or on another day.

If you do not belong to a faith community, but you would like to help collect petition signatures, email us and we will try to match you up with a church or other faith community in your area that will allow you to collect petition signatures. You can also collect signatures at your school or in your neighborhood. 

We are hoping that this program, as we envision it, can be extremely helpful to church leaders and members alike. The critical question for the Christian is how to best foster respect for life, preserve the dignity of the human person and manifest the redemptive message of Christ. We also need to explore the reasons why Texas continues to lead the nation in executions. Why does the South consistently lead in the number of executions with Texas alone having had more than 324 executions since 1976? How did we get this way? What are the attitudes of our parents, our friends, our neighbors, and members of our church? Have we, our family members or friends been victims of a violent crime? Is there any truth to the allegations that our criminal justice system is biased against people of color or that the death penalty is reserved mostly for poor people? What does the Bible say about the death penalty? What have contemporary church leaders, such as Pope John Paul II said about the death penalty? These are of course only a few of the questions and concerns which will arise in any program devoted to exploring our attitudes toward the death penalty.

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5th Annual March to Stop Executions

5th AnnualMarch to Stop Executions
Saturday, October 30th, 2004 Austin, Texas
1 pm - Gather at Republic Park (4th and Guadalupe)
2 pm - March to the Supreme Court/Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Complex (Stopping by Capitol and Mansion)
3:00 pm - Rally at the Supreme Court/CCA Building
Post-march party (Place to be announced)
There will also be a brunch (Details to be announced) organized by the Inside Books Project
Sponsored by the March to Stop Executions Coalition

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