Friday, October 20, 2006


Memoirs of an Abolitionist

I am back (for about 18 hours anyway) and it's been extremely gratifying to have had 3 whole people call or email me asking why there hasn't been any new posting to this blog in the last couple days. It's nice to know that at least a few folks are reading!

But I have been very truly on the road to abolition, and there is simply so much to say. I've spent this week traveling around Virginia with the Journey of Hope: From Violence to Healing. For those who don't know, the Journey is a group of murder victim's family members, death row family members, family members of the executed, and exonerated former death row inmates, who spend 17 days each year traveling around a given state and spreading the message of forgiveness over revenge, justice and fairness over injustice, and peace over violence. As an activist, my job was to introduce the aprticipants and to put their stories into the broader context of the inherent flaws in the death penalty.

For instance, on thursday night, I spoke with Shujaa Graham, a death row exoneree. Shujaa's story was incredible and moving for the hole audience, and there wasn't much that I had to say to convince people about the injustice. I just needed to draw the larger picture, so I got to get up and say, "I want to tell you all that Shujaa's story and situation are unique. I want to tell you that this was an aberration. But I can't, because it happens all the time."

We travelled from Fairfax, to Roanoke, then Abingdon, then Richmond in the few days that I was with the Journey, with side trips to several other cities along the way. I'm sure that it will take many more days for me to process all of the emotion that I felt on this Journey. I know that, driving away yesterday, I felt like crying. I didn't want to leave, even though I knew that I had to return to Tennessee to get to Memphis for the weekend and then McKenzie, Memphis, Jackson, and Lexington Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The good news is that I will see most of the Journey folks again at the NCADP Conference at the end of next week. I can't wait.

Read mroe about the Journey here.
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