Archive | Religious Leaders

18 February 2014 ~ Comments Off

First Statewide Gathering of Anti-Death Penalty Movement Taking Place This Weekend in Fort Worth; Local Members Embark on “Faithful Pilgrimage” from Dallas to Fort Worth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
CONTACT - Kristin Houlé, TCADP Executive Director                    

First Statewide Gathering of Anti-Death Penalty Movement in Fort Worth
Two state legislators to receive awards during annual conference

(Austin, Texas) — More than 130 grassroots advocates and supporters from across Texas will gather this Saturday, February 22, 2014 at University Christian Church in Fort Worth for the annual conference of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP).  This event, “Lighting the Way,” will feature workshops, a keynote address by Bob Ray Sanders of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and a panel discussion on how Texas is lighting the way on the death penalty issue.   This is the first time that the TCADP Annual Conference, now in its 16th consecutive year, is taking place in Fort Worth.

During the conference, TCADP will honor two state legislators, presenting the 2014 Courage Award to State Representative Terry Canales (District 40 – Edinburg), in recognition of his public statement in support of ending the death penalty during the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee’s hearing on House Bill 1703 by State Representative Jessica Farrar (District 148 – Houston) during the 83rd Texas Legislature Regular Session.  House Bill 1703 called for repeal of the death penalty in Texas; it was the fourth such bill introduced by Rep. Farrar since 2007.

State Representative Lon Burnam (District 90 – Fort Worth) will receive the David P. Atwood Founder’s Award in recognition of his lifelong commitment to justice and his contributions to abolition and to TCADP both within and outside of the Texas Legislature.  The TCADP Board of Directors established the Founder’s Award in 2010 to recognize those individuals who have made significant contributions to the cause of ending the death penalty.

TCADP will present Appreciation Awards to longtime members Paula Keeth of Glenn Heights, Maria Castillo of Waxahachie, and Burnham Terrell of Houston (posthumous) in honor of their many activities in support of abolition of the death penalty and efforts to raise awareness of the issue within their communities.  Ariana Campos, currently District Manager for State Representative Jessica Farrar, also will receive an Appreciation Award in gratitude for her critical assistance with TCADP’s activities in the State Capitol.

“The theme of this year’s conference reflects the many shifts that are occurring – some subtle, others dramatic – across our state’s criminal justice landscape and on the death penalty issue, in particular,” said Kristin Houlé, the Executive Director of TCADP.  “Texas actually mirrors national trends when it comes to declining death sentences and is lighting the way in terms of the strength and sophistication of our movement.”

In conjunction with the conference, TCADP Board Member Rev. Jeff Hood, Rev. Wes Magruder, Chairman of the Board of Church and Society of the North Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, and Lynn Walters, Executive Director of Hope for Peace & Justice, will conduct “A Faithful Pilgrimage to Abolish the Death Penalty from Dallas to Fort Worth” on Friday, February 21, 2014. The approximately 35-mile walk will begin with a press conference at the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office in the Frank Crowley Courts Building, 133 N. Riverfront Blvd., L.B. 19, Dallas, Texas 75207 at 8:30 AM and will conclude outside the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center, 401 West Belknap, Fort Worth, Texas 76196 at approximately 9:00 PM.

Of the pilgrimage, Rev. Jeff Hood remarked, “People of faith go on pilgrimage when their spirits are troubled by the times and there is a desperate need for prayer.  We have chosen to walk prayerfully from Dallas to Fort Worth to oppose the cycle of violence in the State of Texas that is perpetuated every time our District Attorneys pursue the death penalty and our government executes someone.  We hope to ignite the moral imagination of our fellow citizens so that we might all rise up together with one courageous voice and declare the death penalty to be no more.”

The TCADP 2014 Annual Conference will take place in the Fellowship Hall of University Christian Church, 2720 S. University Dr., Fort Worth, Texas 76109, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  The keynote address and awards ceremony will take place from 12:00 to 2:00 PM.  All are welcome.

For more information about the conference, visit http://tcadp.org/what-we-do/annual-conference/ or contact Kristin Houlé at the information listed above.

For more information about the faithful pilgrimage from Dallas to Fort Worth or to speak with the participants, please call Rev. Jeff Hood at 404-210-6760.

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

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26 November 2012 ~ Comments Off

Death Penalty Dialogue to Feature Dallas Faith Leaders

MEDIA ADVISORY
November 26, 2012

CONTACT: Kristin Houlé, Executive Director
512-441-1808 (office); 512-552-5948 (cell)
khoule@tcadp.org

Death Penalty Dialogue to Feature Dallas Faith Leaders

Austin, Texas – On Tuesday, December 4, 2012, four prominent Dallas-area religious leaders will gather for the first time to participate in a public conversation about the death penalty. The event, entitled “A Faithful Conversation on the Death Penalty with Dallas Faith Leaders”, will take place from 7:00 to 9:00 PM in the Grand Lounge at Paul Quinn College.  It is free and open to the public.

Participating in the event are these faith leaders:

  • Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III Senior Pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church
  • Rev. Dr. Wes Magruder, Chair of the Board of Church and Society of the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church
  • Rev. Stanley J. Meyer, Bishop Assistant for Leadership and Disciple Life in the Northern Texas – Northern Louisiana Mission Area of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Deacon Charles Stump, Director of Pastoral Services for the Catholic Diocese of Dallas

Their conversation will focus on the challenges of moving Texas away from a culture of vengeance toward a culture of accountability that does not rely on the death penalty; how faith leaders and people of faith can take a more proactive role in educating their congregations about this issue; and the challenges of addressing the death penalty from the pulpit.

This event is occurring at a critical time, as Dallas County now accounts for more death sentences in the last five years than any other jurisdiction in Texas.  Juries in Dallas County imposed eight new death sentences between 2008 and 2012, including two this year.  This accounts for nearly 20% of all new death sentences in Texas over this five-year period. In comparison, Harris County juries imposed 5 sentences in the same timeframe.  Dallas also accounts for more than 30 exonerations based on DNA evidence.

WHAT: “A Faithful Conversation on the Death Penalty with Dallas Faith Leaders”

WHEN: Tuesday, December 4, 2012, 7:00 to 9:00 PM

WHERE:  Grand Lounge, Paul Quinn College; 3837 Simpson Stuart Road; Dallas, Texas 75241

“A Faithful Conversation on the Death Penalty” is free and open to the public.  To RSVP, call (512) 441-1808, email info@tcadp.org, or go to http://tcadp.org/faithful-conversation/.

This event is sponsored by: Catholic Mobilizing Network; Citizens of Mizpah; Dallas Friends Meeting; Dallas Peace Center; Friendship-West Baptist Church; General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church; Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation; North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church Board of Church and Society; Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Mission Area of the E.L.C.A.; Pax Christi Dallas; Texas Catholic Conference; and Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

For information on the death penalty in Texas or background on this event, or to arrange an interview with any of the participating religious leaders, please contact TCADP Executive Director Kristin Houlé at khoule@tcadp.org, 512-441-1808 (office), or 512-552-5948 (cell).  Details on the event are available at http://tcadp.org/faithful-conversation/.

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02 November 2011 ~ Comments Off

November 2011 Alert: Stop the Execution of Hank Skinner, Upcoming Events, and More!

In this Edition:
Executions
Announcement and Updates
In the News
Upcoming Events
Calendar

Executions

Urge DNA Testing for Hank Skinner!

On November 9, 2011, Hank Skinner is scheduled to be executed in Texas despite the fact that key evidence collected at the crime scene has never been tested for DNA.  Please sign a new petition from the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty that urges state officials to conduct DNA testing in this case. Read a letter from prominent elected officials, along with former judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers, that calls on state officials not to execute Mr. Skinner until that DNA testing can be performed.

Oppose the Execution of Guadalupe Esparza

On November 16, 2011, the State of Texas is scheduled to execute Guadalupe Esparza for the rape and murder of seven-year old Alyssa Vasquez in San Antonio in 1999.

Join TCADP members around the state in opposing all executions - http://tcadp.org/get-involved/stop-executions/.

Update on Duane Buck

The U.S. Supreme Court still has not indicated whether it will grant Mr. Buck’s petition, currently pending before the Court. Read more about the case and the stay of execution in September.

Announcements & Updates

2011 TCADP Fall Quarterly Newsletter

In this issue:
Pictures from Seizing the Momentum: Honoring Houston’s Champions of Justice
Texas Voices: Freddi Jensen
Religious Leaders Dialogue on the Death Penalty
From the Field

Read it now!

TCADP Establishes Advisory Board

We are delighted to announce that more than 20 individuals have accepted our invitation to serve on the newly-formed TCADP Advisory Board!  Members include religious and civic leaders, legislators, former TCADP Board members, notable authors, musicians, and actors, and exonoree and activist Anthony Graves. View the full list and visit links to bios for individual members.

Religious Leaders Dialogue on the Death Penalty

TCADP cosponsored an unprecedented event in San Antonio with eight high-level religious leaders and Karen Clifton of the Catholic Mobilizing Network as moderator!  More than 200 people representing diverse faith traditions attended the event.

One of the panelists, Bishop Hibbs of the West Texas Episcopal Diocese, spoke of counseling a young man bereft and angry at the loss of his sister to murder.  The Bishop spoke of the journey it took to bring this young man back to recognizing the humanity of all, even his sister’s murderers.

TCADP is following up with the attendees and the religious leaders to plan for next steps!  All clergy are invited to sign the TCADP Interfaith sign-on letter (complete online or print and return it to TCADP).  Learn more about the Bexar County Campaign and the ways you can get involved!

See the pictures. Look for the videos to come later this week on our Religious Outreach page.

In the News
“Death Penalty’s Unlikely Opponents”

Last month CNN ran a remarkable story about a powerful source of opposition to the death penalty: murder victims’ family members (“Death penalty’s unlikely opponents,” October 24, 2011). The article features several compelling individuals – including Jan Brown of Texas – who have “lost loved ones to unspeakable violence yet believe executing the killer will do nothing for family members or society.”  Read their inspiring stories today.

“Perry Displays Varied Stance Toward Crime”

An October 31, 2011 article in the New York Times, “Perry Displays Varied Stance Toward Crime,” provides interesting and rare insight into past decisions by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles with regard to death penalty cases, as well as Governor Rick Perry’s role in the process. It focuses particularly on the case of Kelsey Patterson, a severely mentally ill man, who was executed in 2004 despite a recommendation of clemency by the Board. The article also addresses Governor Perry’s mixed record on criminal justice issues. Read it here.

Upcoming Events

Interfaith Prayer Service

On Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 10:00 AM, the Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza, Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, will lead an interfaith prayer service outside the Walls Unit in Huntsville (815 12th Street). Following the prayer service, participants will share a meal at St. Thomas Catholic Church. Contact Dave Atwood at 832-693-5710or dpatwood@igc.org for more information and to RSVP.

Film Screening in Odessa

On Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 4:00 PM, TCADP’s Odessa Chapter will host a screening of “At the Death House Door” during its regular monthly meeting. This film documents the journey of Reverend Carroll Pickett, who served as the death house chaplain at the Walls Unit for 15 years. Contact Lorina Martinez for more information: Odessa@tcadp.org.

Dallas DNA Exonorees to Speak in Hurst (Tarrant County)
Also on November 6, at 6:30 PM, the First United Methodist Church of Hurst (521 W Pipeline Rd) presents “Faith Seeking Justice: Wrongfully Imprisoned.” This program will feature presentations by Rev. Dorothy Budd, Episcopal Deacon, Church of the Incarnation, and author of “Tested: How Ten Wrongly Imprisoned Men Held Onto Hope,” along with assistant Dallas County District Attorney Michelle Morris and several of the DNA exonorees from Dallas County. For more information please call 817-481-6707.

Special Edition of Life Front: An Examination of the Death Penalty

November 29, 7:00 p.m., St. Joseph Catholic Church, 600 S. Jupiter Rd., Richardson 75081 in the Upper Room.   The Catholic Pro-Life Committee and Catholic Charities are presenting a special edition of Life Front to examine the death penalty. The presentation will focus on what it means, in the words of Blessed John Paul II, to be “unconditionally pro-life” and to “proclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life in every situation,” including for those persons who have committed violent crimes. Reserve your spot for this enlightening discussion at prolifedallas.org/lifefront. For more information, contact cplc@prolifedallas.org or 972-267-LIFE (5433).

Calendar

November

3    Presentation by David Mann, Editor of the Texas Observer: “The CSI Myth: How Problems  with Forensic Evidence Have Sent Many Innocent People to Prison”; 7 PM at Monkey Wrench Books, 110 East North Loop Boulevard, Austin

5    Interfaith Prayer Service, Huntsville

6    Odessa Chapter Meeting, 4:00pm odessa@tcadp.org

6    Presentations by Dallas Exonorees at First UMC Hurst

9    Scheduled Execution of Hank Skinner

16  Scheduled Execution of Guadalupe Esparza

17  TCADP Presentation to Houston Metro ELCA Ministerium

21  El Paso Chapter Meeting, 7:00 PM elpaso@tcadp.org

29   Special Edition of Life Front, St Joseph Catholic Church, Richardson, 7:00pm

December

1    TCADP Table at Dallas Peace Center Annual Dinner

3    Community Activist Training in San Antonio http://tcadp.org/bexar-county-campaign/

7    TCADP Annual Report Release and Anniversary of the Resumption of Executions in Texas in 1982

10  International Human Rights Day

For more information about these events or to volunteer, email info@tcadp.org.

TCADP is on Facebook – become a Fan today!

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24 October 2011 ~ Comments Off

San Antonio Religious Leaders Gather for Dialogue on the Death Penalty

For Immediate Release
October 24, 2011

(Austin, Texas) - Tonight at the Laurie Auditorium of Trinity University, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, seven prominent San Antonio-area religious leaders will take center stage to engage in a critical dialogue with each other – and with the public – about the death penalty.  Moderated by Karen Clifton, Executive Director of the Catholic Mobilizing Network, “The Religious Leaders Dialogue on the Death Penalty” will explore perspectives on the death penalty in a community with deep religious roots.  This is the second in a series of interfaith dialogues that the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP) has convened in conjunction with other community partners; the first took place in Houston on January 18, 2011.  The dialogue will feature remarks by the panelists and a question and answer session with the audience.

Religious leaders representing seven different faith traditions will join together to express their deeply felt concerns regarding the use of the death penalty. The panelists are: Rev. Malvyn Ahmad Rashad Berry, Associate Minister of Canaan Missionary First Baptist Church; Father Larry Christian, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church; Bishop Robert Hibbs, Retired Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas; Elder Hilary Shuford, Executive Presbyter of Mission Presbytery; Rabbi Samuel Stahl, Rabbi Emeritus – Temple Beth-El ; Bishop Ray Tiemann, Southwestern Texas Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America; and Rev. Virgilio Vázquez-Garza, Assistant to the Episcopal Office, Southwest Texas Conference United Methodist Church.  Bishop Oscar Cantú, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, will provide closing remarks.

“This event is taking place at a time of unprecedented national scrutiny of the death penalty in general and Texas’ record on executions in particular,” said Bishop Oscar Cantú, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.  “In our congregations, our parishes, our synagogues, and throughout our community, increasing numbers of Texans are beginning to question the wisdom, efficacy and virtue of the death penalty as a means to confront crime and achieve justice.”

Since 1976, Bexar County juries have sentenced 75 people to death, the third-highest number among all counties in Texas, behind Harris and Dallas Counties.  Of these death sentences, 33 have resulted in execution, 19 have been commuted to sentences other than death, and 23 are still pending.

New death sentences in Bexar County have dropped in recent years, however, reflecting both statewide and national trends. Overall, new death sentences in Texas have declined more than 70% since 2003, reaching a historic low in 2010 when just eight people were sentenced to death statewide.  Bexar County has sentenced three people to death since 2007, with the most recent sentence in 2009.  In this same time period, Bexar County juries rejected the death penalty in two capital murder trials, opting instead for the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The Religious Leaders Dialogue is part of the Bexar County Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty, a community organizing effort that seeks to reframe the debate about the death penalty by focusing on its local impact as an expensive, arbitrary, and error-prone public policy that diverts scarce resources from effective crime prevention measures and meaningful victims’ services.

“Recent high-profile executions and exonerations have infused the public conversation about the death penalty with new energy and renewed urgency,” said Kristin Houlé, Executive Director of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.  “Now, more than ever, we urge all concerned citizens and community leaders to come together to address the realities of the death penalty system and consider this ultimate punishment through the lens of long-standing religious positions that call for its abolition.”

The Religious Leaders Dialogue on the Death Penalty is sponsored by: Bishop James E. Dorff of the Southwest Texas and Rio Grande Conference of the United Methodist Church; Catholic Mobilizing Network; Jesuit Fathers of San Antonio; Marianist Social Justice Collaborative; Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation; National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty; St. Mary’s University; Temple Beth-El -Rabbi Barry Block; Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission; Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty; and Texas Impact.

The event is free and open to the public.

 

 

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03 October 2011 ~ Comments Off

October Alert: Executions, Upcoming Events and News

Welcome New Supporters!

TCADP would like to extend a special welcome to everyone who has joined our organization and our movement in recent weeks, either through a community event, in response to the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia and other cases of injustice, or simply because it’s time to take a stand. We are inspired by this new surge of interest in the death penalty issue and the desire of so many people to become involved in our efforts to end this arbitrary, irreversible, and discriminatory punishment.

In this monthly alert, you will find numerous opportunities to get involved on the local level. We encourage you to attend these exciting upcoming events and become a TCADP member today! Your support will enable us to reach out to and educate even more Texans about the flaws and failures of the death penalty. We also urge you to share this e-newsletter with your friends and family, along with a personal message about why you’ve decided to commit – or recommit – yourself to the cause of abolition, so that we continue to build our movement.

Thank you again for joining us as we redouble our efforts to seize the momentum and end the death penalty once and for all!

In this Issue:
Scheduled Executions
In the News
Announcements and Updates
Upcoming Events
Calendar

Scheduled Execution

October 27: Frank Garcia

Join TCADP members around the state in opposing all executions – http://tcadp.org/get-involved/stop-executions/.

Update on Duane Buck

Duane Buck received a last-minute stay of execution on September 15, 2011 from the U.S. Supreme Court. He was sentenced to death for the 1995 murders of his ex-girlfriend, Debra Gardner, and Kenneth Butler. During his trial, psychologist Walter Quijano, a witness for the defense, testified on cross-examination that the fact that Mr. Buck was African-American increased the likelihood that he would be dangerous in the future.  This improperly elicited, racially-based testimony by Dr. Quijano led to new sentencing hearings in six other cases where the State of Texas conceded error – but not for Duane Buck.

As it begins its new term today, the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet indicated whether it will grant Mr. Buck’s petition, currently pending before the Court. Read more about the case and the stay of execution.

In the News

The End of “Last Meals

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice recently decided that it will no longer provide “last meals” to those facing imminent execution.  The change came at the request of Texas State Senator John Whitmire, the chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, who was outraged by the elaborate meal requested by Lawrence Brewer before his execution last month.  According to reports, Brewer hardly touched the food. Read more, including an editorial by the San Antonio Express-News and a column by Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle.

Announcements & Updates

Annual Awards Nominations

The TCADP Board of Directors seeks nominations for the annual courage, appreciation, and media awards, which will be presented at the 2012 TCADP Annual Conference on February 18, 2012 in San Antonio.  Please nominate worthy individuals and organizations that have made significant and selfless contributions toward ending the death penalty in Texas. The deadline for nominations is October 15, 2011. Learn more and save the date for the 2012 TCADP Annual Conference!

Houston Community Honors “Champions of Justice”

On September 15, 2011, a cross-section of lawyers, professors, activists, lawmakers, students and community supporters gathered for a wonderful evening of food, music, and fellowship as TCADP honored three extraordinary Champions of Justice: State Representative Jessica Farrar, Professor David Dow, and Professor Nicole Casarez. You can watch the heartfelt remarks of our honorees and the special friends who introduced them – and view photographs from the event, thanks to Tom Kilty Photography –  on the TCADP website.

TCADP would like to thank everyone who participated in this special evening! We are particularly grateful to the staff of the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, who hosted the event, to our generous sponsors and host committee members, and to TCADP Board Member Mary Heartlein, whose positivity kept us all moving forward.

(Pictured top to bottom: Anthony Graves with Nicole Casarez, David Dow, Bob Van Steenburg with Rep Jessica Farrar. Photos: Tom Kilty Photography)

Upcoming Events

Religious Leaders Dialogue on the Death Penalty- San Antonio

October 24, 2011 7:00-9:00pm Laurie Auditorium, Trinity University and RSVP!

Seven San Antonio-area religious leaders are devoting the evening of October 24 to talk about their views on the death penalty.  TCADP is bringing this important conversation center stage. Learn who is coming and plan to join us! If you would like to assist in promoting this opportunity in your congregation, community or civic group, please contact info@tcadp.org or (512) 441-1808.  Thank you!

El Paso Chapter Meeting
The regular monthly meeting of El Pasoans Against the Death Penalty, on Monday, October 17, will feature TCADP Executive Director Kristin Houlé.  Kristin will provide with information on recent death developments in Texas and TCADP’s strategic goals for organizing in El Paso.  The meeting will take place at 7:00 p.m. in the Juan Diego Room of St. Pius X Ministry Center located at 1065 North Clark Street, across the street from the church building.  For more information, contact elpaso@tcadp.org.

Exonorees to Speak in Austin, Corpus Christi

On Saturday, October 15, 2011, TCADP’s Corpus Christi Chapter will host a presentation by members of Witness to Innocence at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 6901 Holly Road, at 4 p.m. Witness to Innocence is the nation’s only organization composed of, by and for exonerated death row survivors and their loved ones. For more information about this event, please contact Emilie Olivares at 361-853-6389 or egolivares@yahoo.com.

On Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 7:00 PM, the First United Methodist Church’s Family Life Center (1201 Lavaca Street ) will host exonorees Ron Keine, Greg Wilhoit, Dan Bright, and Albert Burrell. This event is supported in part by the UMC General Board of Church and Society. For more information, please contact Kathy Barrett at kbarretttx@aol.com.

Both events are part of the “Texas Witness to Innocence Freedom Ride.”

World Day Against the Death Penalty – Houston

TCADP’s Houston Chapter and Chapter 23 of Amnesty International will host a special event on Sunday, October 9, 2011 to commemorate World Day Against the Death Penalty (designated as October 10.)  It will feature remarks by SMU Professor Rick Halperin, the former Chairperson of Amnesty International USA and past TCADP President, and the personal testimonies of exonorees Anthony Graves and Clarence Brandley. The event will take place from 4 to 7 PM in Pecore Hall of St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 1805 West Alabama. Contact Nancy Bailey at 281-933-4925 for details and to RSVP.

October Calendar

2 Odessa Chapter Meeting, 4:00pm odessa@tcadp.org

6 St. Mary’s University Death Penalty Panel, San Antonio

8 TCADP Table at Oktoberfest, Lancaster

9 TCADP Table at Fiesta Latinoamericana!, Dallas

9 World Day Against the Death Penalty event - Houston chapter, houston@tcadp.org

11 Presentation to Texas Inmate Families Association San Antonio Chapter

15 TCADP Corpus Christi Chapter hosts Witness to Innocence

15 Presentation to Bobcats for Life Conference in San Marcos

17 El Paso Chapter meeting, 7:00pm, elpaso@tcadp.org

18 Witness to Innocence Event at First UMC, Austin

24 Religious Leaders Dialogue on the Death Penalty, Laurie Auditorium, Trinity University, 7:00pm, More info and Tickets

27 Scheduled execution of Frank Garcia

28-29 TCADP Table at Catholic Formation and Leadership Conference, San Antonio

28-29 TCADP Table at University of Dallas Ministry Conference, Dallas

For more information about these events or to volunteer, email info@tcadp.org.

TCADP is on Facebook – become a Fan today!

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02 September 2011 ~ Comments Off

September Alert: Executions and Local Special Events

In This Edition:
Scheduled Executions
Upcoming Events
Resources and Announcements
In the News
Calendar
 

Scheduled Executions

September 13: Steven Woods
September 15: Duane Buck
September 20: Cleve Foster
September 21: Lawrence Brewer 

Duane Buck
Duane Buck is scheduled to be executed on September 15, 2011 for the 1995 murders of his ex-girlfriend, Debra Gardner, and Kenneth Butler.  During his trial, psychologist Walter Quijano, a witness for the defense, testified on cross-examination that the fact that Mr. Buck was African-American increased the likelihood of his being dangerous in the future.  This improperly elicited, racially-based testimony by Dr. Quijano led to new sentencing hearings in six other cases where the State of Texas conceded error – but not for Duane Buck.  His attorneys have filed a clemency petition with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and also are asking the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to withdraw the date.  Read more and sign the online petition.

Join TCADP members around the state in expressing concern about these executions. http://tcadp.org/get-involved/stop-executions/ 

Upcoming Events
 
Two Weeks from Today! Seizing the Momentum: Honoring Houston’s Champions of Justice
Please join TCADP on Thursday, September 15, 2011 from 7 to 9 PM at the Station Museum in Houston for a reception honoring three extraordinary “Champions of Justice”: State Representative Jessica Farrar; Professor Nicole Casarez; and Professor David Dow. Tickets for the event are $50 and benefit TCADP’s ongoing outreach and educational activities. Fusion Taco will cater the reception; music, art, and cold beverages also will be provided. Learn more and buy your ticket today!
 
Can’t make it to Houston? Please consider a special donation to TCADP in honor of our Champions!
 
National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims
Sunday, September 25th, is the National Day of Remembrance (DOR) for Murder Victims – a day to honor and memorialize the lives of loved ones taken by murder/homicide.  If you are interested in learning about events in your area, please contact Chris Castillo with Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation at ccastillo@mvfr.org or 409-201-7106.
 
“Incendiary: the Willingham Case” Coming to a Theatre Near You!
Described as “equal parts murder mystery, forensic investigation and political drama,” the new documentary film “Incendiary” focuses on the case of Cameron Todd Willingham and its implications for the Texas Forensic Science Commission. It will debut in Austin at the Violet Crown Cinema on Friday, September 23, and plans are underway for screenings in Dallas and Houston. Stay tuned for details on additional venues and a special TCADP reception with the filmmakers in Austin later this month.
 
Religious Leaders Dialogue on the Death Penalty- San Antonio
Save the Date – October 24, 2011 7:00-9:00pm Laurie Auditorium, Trinity University and RSVP!
An unprecedented panel of San Antonio-area religious leaders are devoting the evening of October 24 to talk about their views on the death penalty.  TCADP is bringing this important conversation center stage. Learn who is coming and plan to join us!  If you would like to assist in promoting this opportunity in your congregation, community or civic group, please contact info@tcadp.org or (512) 441-1808.  Thank you!
 
 
Resources & Announcements
 
New Materials for Respect Life Month
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has created several new resources for its 2011-2012 Respect Life Program, including a new pamphlet and bulletin inserts on the death penalty in English and Spanish. According to the USCCB, “the Respect Life Program begins anew each year on Respect Life Sunday, the first Sunday in October. The program is highlighted in liturgies and marked by special events.”   Please contact TCADP Program Coordinator Vicki McCuistion at info@tcadp.org to order pamphlets to share with your pastor or to integrate into an event on the death penalty at your parish.
 
Award Solicitations
The TCADP Board of Directors is seeking nominations from TCADP members for the annual courage, appreciation, and media awards, which will be presented at the 2012 Annual Conference on February 18, 2012 in San Antonio.  Please nominate worthy individuals and organizations that have made significant and selfless contributions to abolishing the death penalty in Texas. Nominations will be accepted from now until October 15, 2011.
 
In the News
 
Hidalgo County Jury Rejects Death Penalty
On August 26, 2011, a jury in Hidalgo County rejected the death penalty for Roberto Rojas, who was convicted of killing his mother-in-law, Amelia Rivera Flores, and three young children in 2008. The youngest child, 2-year-old Osiel, was Rojas’ son and Silvestre and Mauro Garza, ages 6 and 8, were his stepsons. He also brutally attacked his ex-wife, Amelia Flores, who was saved through the intervention of her father. According to The Monitor, at least 10 jurors agreed that there were mitigating factors that would warrant life in prison rather than the death penalty. Read more.
 
John W. Whitehead: The Death Penalty Is a Miscarriage of Justice
“There is nothing moral or just about the death penalty–certainly not the way it is implemented in America, and anyone who says otherwise is either deluding themselves or trying to get elected by appearing tough on crime.” That’s the first line of a recent column by John W. Whitehead, the founder and president of The Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Whitehead goes on to address the myriad flaws and failures of the death penalty system and call for its abolition. Read it here.
 
Calendar
 
September
 
1 TCADP Table at SMU Human Rights Fair, Dallas
5 TCADP Table at Northeast Bexar County Democrats Labor Day Picnic

10 TCADP Table at Austin Pride Festival

13 Scheduled Execution – Steven Woods

15 Scheduled Execution – Duane Buck

15 Seizing the Momentum: Honoring Houston’s Champions of Justice, Station Museum of Contemporary Art.  Tickets

18 TCADP Table at Dallas Pride Festival

19 El Paso Chapter meeting, 7:00pm, elpaso@tcadp.org

20 Scheduled Execution – Cleve Foster

21 Scheduled Execution – Lawrence Brewer, Dallas Chapter Meeting, 7:00pm, dallas@tcadp.org

23 Incendiary / the Willingham Case opens at the Violet Crown Cinema, Austin
25 National Day of Rembrance for Murder Victims

October

2 Odessa Chapter Meeting, 4:00pm odessa@tcadp.org

8 TCADP Table at Oktoberfest, Lancaster

9 World Day Against the Death Penalty event - Houston chapter, houston@tcadp.org

17 El Paso Chapter meeting, 7:00pm, elpaso@tcadp.org

24 Religious Leaders Dialogue on the Death Penalty, Laurie Auditorium, Trinity University, 7:00pm

28-29 TCADP Table at Catholic Formation and Leadership Conference, San Antonio

28-29 TCADP Table at University of Dallas Ministry Conference, Dallas

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01 March 2011 ~ 1 Comment

March Alert: Lobby Day and Coming Events

In this issue:

Upcoming Events
News
Calendar

Upcoming Events

March 8 – TCADP Lobby Day – HB 819 On Tuesday, March 8, TCADP members will gather at the State Capitol to lobby on behalf of House Bill 819, which calls for repeal of the Texas death penalty.  State Representatives Jessica Farrar and Marisa Marquez authored the bill; it has been referred to the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.   Here’s the schedule for Lobby Day:

10:00 -11:30      Preparation / Training in the Extension, Room E2.106

11:30 – 12:30    Lunch at the Capitol Grill (Dutch Treat)

12:30 – 3:30     Visit Your Legislator (TCADP can help set up meetings) and Debrief with TCADP staff   RSVP for the TCADP Lobby Day today!

If you can’t join us in Austin, but want to participate in Lobby Day from home, here are actions you can take to support HB 819:

  1. Telephone your State Representative and tell him/her:
    • you support repeal of the death penalty in Texas, and
    • you support H.B. 819.
  2. Ask your Representative to support a full committee hearing on H.B. 819.

More information on contacting your lawmakers, including talking points, is available. If you do not know who your State Representative is, you can find out at http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/. You can follow the progress of H.B. 819 at http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB819.

Now is the time to make your voice heard by your elected Representative. Please participate in Lobby Day in person at the Capitol or from home. Let TCADP know the results of your conversation by using the Legislator Tracking Sheet, now online!

News

TCADP Annual Conference – Seizing the Momentum… Advancing Statewide Vision Through Local Action The 2011 conference was a great success with informative workshops, a great panel discussion, and an inspiring awards ceremony.  TCADP supporters came together from across the state (and even Canada!) to seek ways to move this issue in their hometowns and thus support TCADP’s statewide goal of repeal of the death penalty.

See photos from the conference! Pictured:  Anthony Graves and his Mom after receiving the TCADP Courage award; they truly inspired all of us!   Save the date for the 2012 Annual Conference in San Antonio: February 18, 2012!

Religious Leaders Dialogue on the Death Penalty TCADP cosponsored an unprecedented event in Houston with seven high-level religious leaders and Sister Helen Prejean!  More than 500 people representing diverse faith traditions RSVPd and attended the event.   Videos of the panelists’ remarks can be found on the TCADP Religious Outreach page. Thank you, Art Browning, for filming the event!  

Calendar
March

5 Legislative Training hosted by the TCADP Dallas chapter, RSVP

6 Odessa Chapter Meeting, 4:00pm, odessa@tcadp.org

8 TCADP Lobby Day, State Capitol; Austin

12 Film Showing – Incendiary: The Willingham Case, 4:30PM Paramount Theater, 713 Congress

13 Activist Workshop, 1:00 to 4:00pm, at the Quarry’s Whole Foods,255 E. Basse Road, San Antonio, 78209, in the Alamo Quarry classroom. RSVP and more info on the San Antonio Training.

14-18 Alternative Spring Break, More Info.

15 Activist Workshop, 4:00 to 7:00p.m. at Terrazas Library Branch, 1105 East César Chávez St., Austin, 78702. For more info and to RSVP for the Austin Training.

16 Dallas Chapter meeting, 7:00pm, dallas@tcadp.org

17 Film Showing – Incendiary: The Willingham Case, 12:00pm – Rollins Theater

19 Film Showing – Incendiary: The Willingham Case, 5:30pm – Rollins Theater

21 El Paso Chapter Meeting,  6:00pm, elpaso@tcadp.org

23-24 Juan Melendez Speaker’s Tour in Odessa


If you are on Facebook become a fan of TCADP today!

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19 January 2011 ~ 1 Comment

Houston Religious Leaders Call for End to Death Penalty

Last night’s unprecedented event in Houston with seven high-level religious leaders and Sister Helen Prejean was amazing!  More than 500 people representing diverse faith traditions RSVPd and attended the event.

Sister Helen and Bishop Janice Huie of the Texas United Methodist Church Conference both noted that getting religious leaders to speak out on the issue of the penalty has been difficult. “The silence has been deafening,” Sister Helen said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle:

Prejean said she hopes the event will be just the beginning of a renewed focus by religious leaders on the death penalty.

“It’s controversial, and it’s hard to pick up as a religious leader,” she said. “The hope is that those who stand publicly will also give a much more serious effort to educating the people in the pews.”

Read all about it in the Houston Chronicle.

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We need to interject some positive comments in response to the Houston Chronicle‘s coverage of the event.  When you have a moment today, please go to the Chronicle and post a comment, commending the religious leaders for speaking out on this issue.  You will need to create an account with the Chronicle (if you don’t have one already) in order to post a comment or give good comments a “thumbs up.”

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Special thanks to Karen Clifton with the Catholic Mobilizing Network, Deacon Joe Rubio, Dave Atwood, Steph Weber, Mary Heartlein and everyone who worked tirelessly to ensure the success of this event.  TCADP shares Sister Helen’s aspiration that this is just the beginning of many conversations to come and we look forward to working with faith communities throughout the state on engaging their members on this critical social justice issue.

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