Archive | Methodist Federation for Social Action

20 February 2013 ~ Comments Off

Abolitionists Gather in Austin for 2013 Annual Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            
Wednesday, February 20, 2013                       

CONTACT: Kristin Houlé, TCADP Executive Director
512-441-1808 (office); 512-552-5948 (cell);


Abolitionists Gather in Austin for Annual Conference

Local filmmakers to receive 2013 Media Award

(Austin, Texas) — More than 150 activists and supporters from across Texas will gather this Saturday, February 23, 2013 at St. Edward’s University in Austin for the annual conference of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP).  This event, “Changing the Conversation,” will feature workshops and a panel discussion on how instances of wrongful convictions and evidence of wrongful executions are changing the conversation on the death penalty.  Panelists include:

  • Karen Boudrie, an award-winning journalist, news director, and public relations consultant who covered the capital trial of Carlos DeLuna in Corpus Christi in 1983 and was the last person to speak with him before his wrongful execution in 1989;
  • Anthony Graves, a motivational speaker and legal consultant who spent 18 years in prison, including 12.5 years on death row, before being exonerated in 2010;
  • Professor James Liebman, Simon H. Rifkind Professor of Law, Columbia University School of Law, and the lead author of Los Tocayos Carlos: An Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution

TCADP Board Member Estrus Tucker, an independent consultant from Fort Worth, will moderate the discussion.

During the conference, TCADP will present the 2013 Media Award to Joe Bailey, Jr. and Steve Mims, the filmmakers behind “Incendiary,” a 2011 documentary about the case of Cameron Todd Willingham.  Willingham was executed in 2004 for setting a fire in 1991 in Corsicana that killed his three young daughters.  Serious questions persist regarding his culpability.  “Incendiary” exposes the political manipulation of the Texas Forensic Science Commission as it sought to determine whether flawed forensic science played a role in Willingham’s conviction and ultimate execution.

TCADP will present Appreciation Awards to JC Dufresne, of Cibolo, Texas, who played an instrumental role in the Texas Democratic Party’s decision to endorse abolition of the death penalty in its 2012 Party Platform, and to the members of the Methodist Federation for Social Action-Southwest Texas Chapter, for their years of involvement and ongoing contributions to the abolition movement.

“The theme of this year’s conference reflects our conviction that it is no longer a question of whether we should or will end the death penalty but, rather, what it will take to hasten its demise,” said Kristin Houlé, the Executive Director of TCADP.  “We encourage all elected officials in Texas to engage with us in this important conversation and evaluate the impact of the death penalty on our counties and the state as a whole.”

The 2013 TCADP Annual Conference, co-sponsored by Campus Ministry of St. Edward’s University, will take place in the Mabee Ballroom, which is located on the Third Floor of the Robert and Pearle Ragsdale Center at St. Edward’s University, 3001 South Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas, 78704, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  The awards ceremony will take place from 12:30 to 2:00 PM.  All are welcome.

For more information, visit

TCADP is a statewide, grassroots advocacy organization based in Austin.


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30 November 2012 ~ Comments Off

TCADP announces 2012-2013 annual award winners!

Award recipients are chosen each year by the TCADP Board of Directors from nominations received by TCADP members.  The award winners will be celebrated at the 2013 TCADP Annual Conference on Saturday, Februrary 23 at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.

Media Award:

Steve Mims and Joe Bailey are the filmmakers of “Incendiary,” which focuses on the case of Cameron Todd Willingham. The film exposes the political manipulation of the Texas Forensic Science Commission as it sought to determine whether flawed forensic science played a role in Willingham’s conviction and ultimate execution. TCADP has participated in a number of screenings of “Incendiary,” after which Steve and Joe participated in lively Q & A sessions with the audience. “Incendiary” provokes discussion about complex issues, including the role of science in the criminal justice system, the ability for poor people to get a fair trial and the pressure brought to bear on politicians not to be ‘soft on crime’. It also addresses the difficult quest for the truth.

Like many films, “Incendiary” has created opportunities for Texans to engage in a critical dialogue about the human frailties surrounding the administration of justice. Steve and Joe have provided an insightful film that will continue to provoke audiences for a long time to come

Appreciation Awards:

JC Dufresne worked tirelessly within the State Democratic Executive Committee of the Texas Democratic Party to push the party to put the death penalty issue on the 2012 primary ballot. Although that effort was unsuccessful, his efforts led to a robust discussion of the issue within the SDEC. JC then worked with other SDEC members and delegates to the Texas State Democratic Convention to pass district resolutions calling on the party to include abolition of the death penalty in the 2012 platform. Leading up to the convention, he remained in close communication with TCADP and with members of the temporary platforms and resolutions committees to ensure that the death penalty remained on their radar. Due in large part to JC’s efforts, delegates to the State Convention voted overwhelmingly in favor of including a call for abolition of the death penalty in the 2012 platform!


The Methodist Federation for Social Action-Southwest Chapter is one of TCADP’s most reliable coalition partners and steadfast organizational members.

This chapter supports our work in myriad ways… it is always the first group to sign up as a co-sponsor of our events, whether special presentations by speakers like Sister Helen Prejean or the annual conference. MFSA – SWTX regularly promotes TCADP’s activities, events, and calls to action in its communications with members and encourages United Methodist Churches in the area to become involved. MFSA-Southwest Chapter also was one of the first groups to sign the Statement of Support and Organizational Affiliation with TCADP.


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