13th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty to be Held at the Texas Capitol in Austin Saturday November 3, 2012
The 13th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty
will be held Saturday, November 3, 2012 on the South Steps of the Texas Capitol at 2 PM. After a short pre-march speaker’s program, the attendees will march through the streets of downtown Austin with a stop in front of the Texas Governor’s mansion and return to the Texas Capitol to hear more speakers against the death penalty.
The march will be led by 4 death row survivors who each spent many years on death rows around the U.S. for crimes they did not commit. The 4 exonerees are coming to Texas as members of Witness to Innocence, which is the nation’s only organization composed of, by and for exonerated death row survivors and their loved ones. These individuals are actively engaged in the struggle to end the death penalty, challenging the American public to grapple with the problem of a fatally flawed criminal justice system that sends innocent people to death row.
“Other states are reconsidering the death penalty in the face of mounting budget problems and problems in the system that put innocent people at risk of execution. On November 6, California voters will decide whether to retain or abolish the death penalty in California. In 2012, Connecticut became the 17th state to abolish the death penalty. Juries across the nation, including in Texas, are sentencing fewer and fewer people to death. In Texas last year, only 8 people were sentenced to death, but Texas continues to lead the nation in numbers of executions. The 250th execution since Governor Rick Perry assumed office took place on October 31. Overall, Texas is nearing 500 total executions since resuming executions in 1982 after an 18 year moratorium. Although Texas far outranks other states in executions, more and more Texans are growing uncomfortable with our state’s use of the death penalty and reaching the conclusion that it is a public policy that we can do without”, said Scott Cobb, president of Texas Moratorium Network.
After a 12 year campaign by activists and party members, the Texas Democratic Party adopted a platform in 2012 that calls for abolishing the death penalty in Texas. The number of new death sentences nationwide hit a 35 year low in 2011.
One of the speakers at the march will be Clarence Brandley, who spent ten years on Texas death row.
“As they see what the death penalty really means, in my case and others, more and more Texans believe that Texas can do without the death penalty,” said Brandley, from Conroe, Texas, who has been fighting for compensation from the state of Texas for over twenty years.
Other exonerees speaking will be Shujaa Graham, Ron Keine and Albert Burrell.
Family members of people currently on death row who will be speaking include Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner (wife of Hank Skinner), Sylvia Garza (mother of Robert Garza), Terri Been (sister of Jeff Wood), Delia Perez Meyer (sister of Louis Castro Perez), and Sarilda Routier (mother-in-law of Darlie Routier).
The annual march is organized as a joint project by several Texas anti-death penalty organizations working together with national organizations: Texas Moratorium Network, the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, Students Against the Death Penalty, Witness to Innocence, Kids Against the Death Penalty, International Socialist Organization, the Texas Civil Rights Project, ACLU-Texas, the Journey of Hope … from Violence to Healing, The Austin Chronicle, NOKOA, Gray Panthers, Democrats for Life, and Texas Democrats Against the Death Penalty.