A message to our supporters:
“Ring out the old year and ring in the new” has extra resonance for me and my family right now, because the end of 2013 marks the start of a new journey. You see, last month I accepted the position of executive director of Death Penalty Focus, and on January 2, I start working in that vital role. I am leaving my human rights work at the United Nations and moving across the continent to California to face a new human rights challenge: the abolition of the death penalty.
I took on this challenge because I believe that the global elimination of the death penalty is just a few steps away, and that the first of those steps must be the abolition of capital punishment in California.
California leads the country in the number of people it sentences to death, with 24 new death sentences in 2013, bringing the total to 747 death row inmates in California alone. It may not seem like one state could make such a difference to the world, but I assure you it can. My work at the United Nations taught me that countries across the globe look to the United States to lead the way. And currently many countries use us as an excuse to defend the practice of deliberately killing their own citizens. I’ve heard it directly from a diplomat’s smiling mouth: “You criticize us for executions, even though America executes far more than us.”
Together, we can change that. We can make the US a positive example for abolishing the death penalty. Click here to make a gift to Death Penalty Focus.
Death Penalty Focus has led us to the verge of ending capital punishment in California. Proposition 34 showed how close we are to getting a majority to vote to stop the state from ever killing another citizen. Indeed, polls show that enthusiasm for the death penalty is waning across the nation—support for capital punishment is now at its lowest level since 1972. But taking those final steps to abolition will require more work, more outreach, and more funding.
As the new executive director, I personally need your help. We must take the next steps together. We must do even more, and give even more, to take California in the right direction. It can lead the nation in sentencing its citizens to die, or it can lead the world in ending the death penalty.
Won’t you join me on this journey to end the death penalty? Please give whatever you can.
Death Penalty Focus
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Comment by Margo Schulter, Feb 3rd, 2014 8:22pm
While I am only another reader of this blog, and do not speak for DPF or any other organization, I would like to express the strength and inspiration that some of us draw here in California and elsewhere in the U.S.A. from the great triumphs of the movement for abolition of the death penalty in UK, which, of course, achieved abolition for murder in 1965, confirmed in 1969, and abolition for all crimes by 1998. The courageous witness by Sydney Silverman, MP, against the execution of Derek Bentley, whom you mention in your commentaries, was one fateful moment in that struggle.
International solidarity against the death penalty, and in support of a global moratorium on executions as called for by the United Nations General Assembly since 2007 with the passage of A/RES/62/149, is a vital source of strength for us who live in the U.S.A., and seek to follow the example of the UK and many other abolitionist countries. Thank you for your interest, and your website.
Comment by lucy collins , Jan 10th, 2014 9:44am
I have come across this post online and just wanted to say I have found it very interesting! I am from England where the death penalty is not enforced, but me and three of my student friends have made a blog discussing ethical issues some some of which relate to this subject. I just wondered if you would be interested in having a look and sharing your thoughts, if so you can find them all here on http://vitalitypr.wordpress.com/.