Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 2 PM
Texas State Capitol Building South Side (11th and Congress)
Photos from the 10th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty – October 24, 2009 (Media may reprint photos, please credit Photographer Jennifer Ross)
Three innocent, exonerated former death row prisoners were among the special guests at the Tenth Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty October 24, 2009 at 2 PM in Austin, Texas at the Texas Capitol on the South Steps at 11th and Congress. Also attending was the penpal of Todd Willingham, Elizabeth Gilbert, who first investigated his innocence. Plus, Todd’s last lawyer Walter Reaves. Thank you to the hundreds of people who attended the march to support the Willingham family as they fight to prove that Todd Willingham was innocent.
The 10th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty will be held in Austin on October 24, 2009. Join the Facebook event page.
Speakers and other confirmed attendees at the march will include three innocent, now-exonerated death row prisoners (Shujaa Graham, Curtis McCarty and Ron Keine), Jeff Blackburn (Chief Counsel of the Innocence Project of Texas), Jeanette Popp (a mother whose daughter was murdered but who asked the DA not to seek the death penalty), Elizabeth Gilbert (the penpal of Todd Willingham who first pushed his innocence and helped his family find a fire expert to investigate), Walter Reaves (the last attorney for Todd Willingham, who fought for him through the execution and continues to fight to exonerate him), Terri Been whose brother Jeff Wood is on death row convicted under the Law of Parties even though he did not kill anyone, and Anna Terrell the mother of Reginald Blanton who is scheduled for execution in Texas on Oct 27 three days after the march, plus others to be announced.
The march starts at 2 PM on October 24 at the Texas Capitol. We will gather at the Texas Capitol at the gates leading into the Capitol on the sidewalk at 11th Street, march down Congress Avenue to 6th street, then back to the South Steps of the Capitol for a rally to abolish the death penalty.
Panel Discussion: The night before the march, there will be a panel discussion on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin at 7 PM with Shujaa Graham and Curtis McCarty. (Thank you to Bill Pelke and the Journey of Hope for helping bring them to Austin for the march.) Shujaa and Curtis will speak about what it is like to be innocent and sentenced to death. The panel is in the Sinclair Suite (room 3.128) of the Texas Student Union on Guadalupe. Call if you need more directions 512-552-4743.
Post-march Strategy Meeting: Immediately after the march on October 24, we plan to hold a networking and strategy meeting inside the capitol. Everyone is invited to attend the strategy session and help us plan how to move forward towards abolition in Texas. The strategy session will start about 30 minutes after the last speaker at the march.
Now is one of the most critical times ever to march against the death penalty.
We just learned from a state-funded report that Texas executed Todd Willingham for arson/murder even though the fire was not arson it was just a fire, so Texas executed an innocent person.
Sharon Keller, the presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, could lose her job based on testimony at her recent trial on charges of incompetence and misconduct for saying “we close at 5” on Sept 25, 2007 when lawyers called her court to submit a late appeal for a person later executed that same day.
Now is the time to join the fight to end the death penalty!
Each October since 2000, people from all walks of life and all parts of Texas, the U.S. and other countries have taken a day out of their year and gathered in Texas to raise their voices together and loudly express their opposition to the death penalty. The march is a coming together of activists, family members of those on death row, community leaders, exonerated prisoners and all those calling for abolition. The march started in Austin in 2000. In 2007 and 2008, the march was held in Houston. This year, it is coming back to Austin.
The annual march is 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.
Cameron Todd Willingham (below) – Innocent Person Executed by Texas
Read more about Todd in the Sept 7, 2009 New Yorker article by David Grann.
Sign a petition to Governor Rick Perry and the State of Texas to acknowledge that the fire in the Cameron Todd Willingham case was not arson, therefore no crime was committed and on February 17, 2004, Texas executed an innocent man.