Friday, April 15, 2011
Marie Deans - RIP
“As we were about to finish the class this young girl raised her hand and said, ‘You have changed by mind. You have got to get around everywhere, you have got to give everybody this message.’ This is our First, Big, Public...: Here we are Folks and we mean it. It is not the end of our Journey, but it is a coming home. It feels that way to me. This Journey of Hope has got to go on until we reach real justice.”
--Marie Deans on the Indiana Journey of Hope - the first Journey, which was then a project of MVFR, which Marie founded in 1976.
Henry called a little while ago to share the news that Marie Deans died earlier this evening. R.I.P.
Once details are set, I'll share those here.
I know that many of you have no idea who Marie was - she's been pretty much out of the loop for a decade or more. Here's a bit... Click on the URL's to see images. For those of us who were around in the 70's, 80's, and 90's (I started in 1988 or so), this woman needs no introduction. Love her or hate her, there's no denying she made a big difference.
Marie Deans has been known as the “mother” of the anti-death penalty movement in Virginia. Since coming to Virginia in 1983, Marie has fought endlessly for legal access, more humane conditions on Virginia’s death row, and assuring legal representation for each condemned man. She provided assistance in over 220 trial level cases in Virginia, and only two of those defendants went to death row. She was part of the legal team in numerous clemency petitions, including those for Joe Giarratano, Earl Washington and Roger Coleman. She founded the Virginia Coalition on Jails and Prisons in 1983 and was forced to close its office in 1993 due to lack of funds. Having experienced the loss of her mother-in-law in 1972, Ms. Deans founded Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation in 1976.
and from http://www.journeyofhope.org/pages/marie_deans.htm
In 1990 Marie Deans and Joe Ingle were honored by the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty when they were presented the Abolitionist of the Year Award for their work with the Southern Coalition of Jails and Prisons.
Marie Deans realized the need for a group for murder victims family members who were opposed to the Death Penalty after her mother-in-law Penny was killed. Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation emerged as the first organization of its kind, murder victim family members against the Death Penalty.
Marie worked for many years with the Southern Coalition on Jails and Prisons before concentrating on the Virginia Coalition on Jails and Prisons. Marie Deans was one of first abolitionists of the post-Furman era movement.
Marie has been a friend to many men on Virginia’s Death Row and has spent countless hours with their families around the times of their execution. 34 of Marie’s habeas clients asked her to stay with them on their deathwatches and until they were killed, and she did.
The Joe Giarratano case is one of Marie’s success stories
I did not get around to sending a note to Marie until today. She won't get it in the mail, but maybe she'll get it anyway.... Here's the part that demonstrates just one bit of how she lives on in our movement today....
I am so glad to be able to send you this little hug. I hope you are comfortable.
And I am glad you have some time to reflect a bit on the world of a difference YOU have made in so many lives. Marie, you inspired me in so many ways. Most notably, I can still see and hear the welcome you and Henry gave to the Virginia Journey of Hope ...From Violence to Healing in 1996, when you talked about the evolution of the name to Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. [VADP started as Virginians Against the Death Penalty, then became Virginians Against State Killing, and when the annual Quality of Life poll in Virginia started asking if people preferred executions or life imprisonment and more than 50% preferred the latter - way back in the early 1990's, then went with what Virginians wanted - the current VADP.] It was on that Journey that I was inspired to start up CUADP, and it was your experiences coupled with my own that led us to take that name – Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Of course, now that I’m at NCADP, CUADP has become defunct. BUT, I wonder if you know just how many others have followed in your footsteps with the “For Alternatives” motif. Let me tell you:
Following Virginians…For Alternatives to the Death Penalty
California Crime Victims… (and several local CA County Coalitions)
California People of Faith...
Floridians… (I started that one too!)
(I may be missing one or two)
And perhaps most notable of all, the collaborative of funders [supporting] our movement calls itself FADP – Funders for Alternatives to the Death Penalty!
SO, thank YOU for that.
I then went on to share with her a little about what MVFR is up to these days so that she can know the latest with her legacy, and shared some personal updates as well. I can't remember the last time I saw Marie, but I think it was at that VADP awards banquet referenced above. In any case, we should remember our elders in this movement....
Have an excellent weekend...
Abraham J. Bonowitz
Director of Affiliate Support
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
202-331-4090 - Office
561-371-5204 - Mobile
pemanent link posted by email@example.com @ 10:23 PM
Comments: Post a Comment
Links to this post:
Links to this post:
posted by <$BlogBacklinkAuthor$> @ <$BlogBacklinkDateTime$>