Friday, September 08, 2006


Get Ready . . . Get Set . . .

Tomorrow is the big day, the TCASK Student Conference. We have high school and college students coming from Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, McKenzie, Murfreesboro, all over the state. They'll hear Juan Melendez talk about spending nearly 18 years on Florida's death row for a crime that he didn't commit. They'll hear State Representative Larry Turner speak about his fight to end the death penalty in Tennessee. They'll work with student organizers and activists from around Tennessee to build their skills and bring the abolition movement home to their classrooms and campuses. And, hopefully, they will never see Alex's exhausted body lying in a corner.

My word! There is a lot of work that goes into such an event! Over the last few days we've been tweaking workshops (we'll be finalizing one in the office this afternoon), and preparing our handouts. We've been putting together our registration packets, full of goodies and resources for students to call on. We've been pulling together our video collections for each participating campus, including "The Empty Chair" and the ABA's call for a moratorium! I'll be picking Juan Melendez up at the airport in just a few hours and we have an event with him this evening here in Nashville. Phew. It has been pretty crazy.

And none of it would have been possible without some terrific volunteers. First and foremost, TCASK once again owes a huge debt of gratitude to Professor Amy Staples, who has set up the event on campus and has been doing a ton of the leg work. Then we need to thank Andrea Eller, Melissa O'Flinn, and the whole MTSU TCASK Chapter that have made this workshop possible and will be stuffing folders this very afternoon. And, of course, we have to thank the student working group who inspired the idea and have worked to make it happen: Kathryn and Luke Lea, Kate Adcock, and Allen McQueen. These guys rock!

So, I'll try not to fall over during the next day or so, and I am sure that the TCASK Student Conference will be a terrific success! And there's still time for you to show up at MTSU tomorrow and take part in this great event!

See you there!
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