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Monday, November 02, 2009

Juan Melendez - Innocent, Exonerated Former Death Row Prisoner to Tour Texas Nov. 9-18

Last week, three exonerated, innocent former death row prisoners (Curtis McCarty, Shujaa Graham and Ron Keine) attended the 10th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty. While they were here, they delivered a petition with 6,000 names to Rick Perry urging him to acknowledge that Todd Willingham was innocent and to establish a moratorium on executions. Click here to read the extensive worldwide media coverage of the march on October 24 when nearly 500 people descended on the Texas capitol in the largest display of the strength of the Texas anti-death penalty movement in many years.

The annual march was organized by several Texas anti-death penalty organizations, including the Austin chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Texas Moratorium Network, the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Texas Students Against the Death Penalty, Texas Death Penalty Education and Resource Center and Kids Against the Death Penalty. It was sponsored by many other organizations.

Now, another exonerated, innocent former death row prisoner is coming to Texas in November.

We support the following event and encourage everyone to attend!

It is very important that people hear the stories of innocent people who have survived death row. Last week, Curtis, Shujaa and Ron spent five days in Austin telling their stories during their visit to Texas for the 10th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty. Now, we encourage everyone in the Valley to try to attend one of the events and hear Juan Melendez' story of surviving death row.

From November 8-12, 2009, TCADP will be traveling throughout the Rio Grande Valley with "Witness to Injustice: A Speakers' Tour Featuring Death Row Survivor Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon."

Juan Melendez spent 17 years, 8 months, and 1 day on Florida's death Juan Melendezrow for a crime he did not commit. Juan was exonerated and released from death row on January 3, 2002. At the time of his release, the State of Florida sent him into the free world with a pair of pants, a shirt, and $100.

A native of Puerto Rico, Juan Melendez has shared his extraordinary story about the injustices of the death penalty with tens of thousands of people throughout the world. His powerful message of hope, courage, and survival will advance TCADP's efforts to build support for abolition and mobilize constituents to effect change at the state legislature. Juan's visit also will further our aim to increase and strengthen TCADP's presence in the Valley.


"Witness to Injustice" will visit 12 venues in 7 cities, including 6 faith communities, 3 college/university campuses, and 3 high schools! This tour is co-sponsored by the Diocese of Brownsville, Pax Christi Brownsville, Valley Civil Rights Team, Pax Christi Rio Grande Valley, UTPA Criminal Justice Department, People for Peace and Justice in the Rio Grande Valley, and Witness to Innocence. Check out the full schedule of events on the TCADP website.



Witness to Injustice: A Speakers' Tour Featuring Death Row Survivor, Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon

English Flyer Spanish Flyer

Donate to Help Fund the Tour

November 8 - November 12, 2009, Rio Grande Valley

Sponsored by the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP)

Cosponsors: Diocese of Brownsville, Pax Christi Brownsville, Valley Civil Rights Team, Pax Christi Rio Grande Valley, UTPA Criminal Justice Department, People for Peace and Justice in the Rio Grande Valley, and Witness to Innocence

Schedule of Events

Sunday, November 8th: Weslaco & Brownsville

3:30-5:00PM: St. Pius X Parish – Weslaco; 600 S. Oklahoma Ave.; 78596.
Contacts: Lydia Riojas (lydiar@spiusx.com or 956-968-7471) or Becky Gonzales (BecLomas@aol.com)

7:00-9:00PM: El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church; 435 W. Boca Chica; Brownsville; 78520. 956-542-4145. Coming on 281, proceed directly to the church on the left; coming on the Expressway, exit on Boca Chica and go right about two miles to the church on the right. Note that this is west Brownsville Contact: Joe Krause, Pax-Christi Brownsville, Jjrkrause@aol.com or 956-831-4354.

Monday, November 9th: Weslaco & Edinburg

11:30 - 1:00PM: South Texas College – Mid-Valley Campus, 400 N. Border
Weslaco, TX 78596. 956-447-6600 Contact: Nick Braune (braune@att.net)

4:00-5:30PM: University of Texas - Pan American; 1201 W University Drive, Edinburg, TX 78539. Sponsored by the UTPA Criminal Justice Department. Contact: Sylvia Garza (sylviagza@aol.com or 956-475-4046)

7:00-9:00PM: St. Joseph’s - Edinburg; 122 W. Fay; 78539; (956)383-3728. Contact: Rev. Msgr. Robert E. Maher, V.G. (stjoseph-edinburg@catholic.org)

Tuesday, November 10th: Rio Grande City

10:00-11:00AM: Rio Grande City, South Texas College – Starr County Campus, 142 FM 3167; Rio Grande City, TX 78582; 956-488-8181. The event will take place in the auditorium.
Contact: Ruben Saenz, Campus Coordinator (rsaenz@southtexascollege.edu)

2:00-3:00PM: Rio Grande City, South Texas College – Starr County Campus, 142 FM 3167; Rio Grande City, TX 78582; 956-488-8181. The event will take place in the auditorium.
Contact: Ruben Saenz, Campus Coordinator (rsaenz@southtexascollege.edu)

6:00-8:00PM: Immaculate Conception Church; 101 E. Third St.; Rio Grande City, 78582. (956) 487-2317. Contact: Fr. Amador Garza (garzadsaro@rgv.rr.com) or Sister Nancy Boushey (sanbenito@granderiver.net or 956-486-2680)

Wednesday, November 11th: Pharr/McAllen

8:30 AM: PSJA North High School - 500 E. Nolana Ave.; Pharr, TX

10:30 AM: PSJA High School - 805 Ridge Road; San Juan, TX

1:30 PM: Buell Central High School - 218 E. Juarez; Pharr, TX

Contact: Sylvia Garza (sylviagza@aol.com or 956-475-4046)

4:00PM-6:00 PM: South Texas College-Pecan Campus (3201 W. Pecan; McAllen, TX 78501). The event will take place in the Rainbow Room, which is located on the 2nd floor of the library. It is co-sponsored by the Mexican American Studies Program and NACCS Student Organization. Contact Professor Victor Gomez at vgomez@southtexascollege.edu or 956-872-2070.

Sample Posting for Community/Event Calendars

“Witness to Injustice: A Speakers' Tour Featuring Death Row Survivor Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon” will visit St. Pius X Parish (600 S. Oklahoma Ave.; Weslaco, 78596) on Sunday, November 8, 2009, from 3:30 to 5:00 PM in the Parish Hall. Mr. Melendez spent 17 years, eight months, and one day on Florida’s death row for a crime he did not commit. He was exonerated and released from death row in 2002.

The tour is sponsored by the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP), the Diocese of Brownsville, Pax Christi Brownsville, Valley Civil Rights Team, Pax Christi Rio Grande Valley, UTPA Criminal Justice Department, People for Peace and Justice in the Rio Grande Valley, and Witness to Innocence

Contacts: Lydia Riojas (lydiar@spiusx.com or 956-968-7471) or visit www.tcadp.org for details.

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