Sunday, January 16, 2011

Martin Luther King Day Action

This Martin Luther King Weekend our friends at All Saints Church in Pasadena are celebrating the life of Lydia Wilkins, 1904-2010. I'm not sure when I took this photo of Lydia signing a death penalty petition, perhaps ten years ago when she was a mere 96 years old, but the sight of Lydia with pen in hand was not an unfamiliar one when I was staffing action tables. As the Star-News reported, Lydia saw a lot of change in her lifetime, from women getting the vote to the first African-American president and she just kept that pen moving asking for more. More on the gift that was Lydia here.

Keep your pen moving to honor Lydia and Martin Luther King, Jr. The great news out of Illinois is that the state legislature has passed a death penalty abolition bill which now sits on the governor's desk awaiting his signature. You can urge Governor Quinn to sign that bill (and if you live in Illinois, do it early and often!) and take other death penalty actions here.

Previously we recommended a clemency action for Kevin Cooper. We are disappointed to report that Governor Schwarzenegger did not come through for us, however I am pleased to report that two governors in other states commuted sentences of death row inmates facing execution. Here's hoping that Governor Brown follows their example in the future. Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account Of The Death Penalty In The United States

For a little extra inspiration, check out this clip from a Fox Business News interview with Rights Readers author Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking) made in the wake of the tragedy in Tuscon where she does a little pre-emptive lobbying against the death penalty for Jared Loughner. (Don't let "Fox" scare you, the interviewer closes by calling her a national treasure - I agree!)
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