Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Six days until the Fast and Vigil!

Each summer, from June 29 to July 2, individuals opposing the death penalty gather on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court to engage in a fast and vigil. This year's guests will include Florida death row survivor Juan Melendez, who was the 99th person released from death row due to actual innocence, and musician Steve Earle.

The dates June 29 and July 2 represent the anniversaries of the U.S. Supreme Court's Furman and Gregg decisions. Furman struck down state death penalty statutes in 1972; Gregg allowed them to be reinstated in 1976.

Last year, one of my colleagues, Sapna Mirchandani, participated in the fast and vigil. Here is her account:

At the 10th Annual Fast & Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty, a peculiar abolitionist came to stay at my house. His voice was gruff; his build, short and stocky. He routinely paraded around naked and left his belongings spread out all over the floor. I can't fault him for wearing no clothes and refusing to pick up after himself though; those are tall orders for a 95-pound Rhodesian ridgeback-pit bull mix. He was named Governor, and he was the constant companion of Abe Bonowitz, head of Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and long-time organizer of the Fast & Vigil. Governor was so named, Abe said, because he wanted to be sure that at least one governor would listen to what abolitionists had to say.

To read the entire article, printed in the fall 2003 issue of Lifelines, NCADP's quarterly newsletter, go here.

For more information about the event and how to participate, go here.

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