Today, several Connecticut murder victim family members spoke out at a press conference at the State capitol, while many more stood in solidarity with the speakers. It was my honor to make the opening statement.
I reminded those present that last year, just before a similar press conference, the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty had obtained 75 signatures on a letter to members of the legislature, stating that each signer was a family member of a murder victim, and that each signer supported repeal of the death penalty. At that time, we were so heartened that there were that many victim family members who would sign a public declaration of their wish to see the death penalty abolished.
Today, I was thrilled to announce this year there are currently 179 signers to the letter. We have always known there were many more who felt the death penalty should be repealed, but to have so many public signers is an especially powerful message to the Connecticut State Legislature.
We hope they were listening. We are not going away and our numbers continue to grow as more and more of us realize through our own sad experiences that the death penalty contributes nothing to our healing, and that far from helping victim’s famiyi members, the death penalty hurts us.
The victim family members who spoke today were awesome—beyond awesome! Whatever word best describes beyond awesome applies to them. In the coming days and weeks we will publish the print versions of each of their talks, so you can share them. I promise you will be moved, you will be informed, and you, too, will be looking for a more awesome word than awesome. Please watch for those postings.
In the meantime, we have a few links to news coverage of today’s event. Please feel free to check them out and maybe even write your own letter to the editor about the news story, or even better, write a letter to your legislator.