National Abolition Training Event in January 2009

Training for the Long Run, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty’s (NCADP) upcoming annual conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania from January 22 to January 25, 2009, is convening at a critical time for the abolition movement.

The death penalty is in decline as evidenced by the fact that fewer death sentences are sought and obtained; there are fewer executions; and public support and confidence is waning. High profile cases which raise serious questions about innocence, government misconduct or unfairness have further undermined the public’s belief in the integrity of the system.Although the death penalty has less support than it did 32 years ago, it is still entrenched in too many states. It will take sustained effort to educate the public and encourage policy makers to take a fresh look and ultimately end the practice.

This year’s conference theme, Training for the Long Run, underscores the fact that while we abolitionists have “gone the distance” and had great successes in our efforts to end the death penalty state by state, we still have some miles left before reaching the finish line. Just as long distance runners increase their stamina and skill through frequent and intense exercise and practice, we come together to hone our skills in membership recruitment and development, building donor and legislative relationships, and educating the public through strategic use of the news media.

This year’s conference sessions are our preparation for the challenge and exhilaration of the struggle to end the abomination of capital punishment.We will focus on the basics of building strong organizations and operations that can effectively educate the public and policymakers about the need for change. We will provide the building blocks of citizen empowerment – to make the voices of the community heard – murder victims’ family members, law enforcement, people of faith and people of color – all of us who want a fairer and more humane response to the tragedy of violent crime. Participants will learn how to use resolutions as an organizing tool, what to say when facing the news media and how to say it, recruiting and mobilizing grasstops, grassroots and volunteers, organizing speaking tours, and new research into new reasons for opposing the death penalty. Conferees will benefit from the opportunity to train together and share ideas, information, and strategies, and to be inspired by such notable speakers as newly elected NAACP president Benjamin Jealous, and veteran movement activist Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ.

The conference awards dinner will lift our spirits even more as we recognize individuals for their selfless and passionate commitment to the struggle. Honorees this year are New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine; Theodore Cardinal McCarrick of the Archdiocese of Washington; Judge John Gibbons of Gibbons, P.C.; George Kendall of Holland & Knight; Henderson Hill of Ferguson Stein Chambers Gresham & Sumpter; Paul Conway of the Defender Association of Philadelphia; Robert Dunham and Michael Wiseman of Capital Habeas Unit, Federal Community Defender, Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Reverend Walter Everett; Rose Vines of the Death Penalty Discourse Network; the death row survivors’ organization, Witness to Innocence; and Kartemquin Films, which produced the acclaimed documentary “At the Death House Door.” This year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to Lorry Post, and to the family of the late Rachel King.

Participating in 2009 NCADP Conference ensures that we will be stronger, tougher, even more dedicated. United in our common goal, we will cross that finish line together.
NCADP 2009 Scholarship Request Form in PDF format
NCADP 2009 Scholarship Request Form in Word format
NCADP 2009 Registration Form in Word format