Abolitionists Gather in Austin for Annual Conference


CONTACT: Kristin Houlé, TCADP Executive Director

512-441-1808 (office); 512-751-7009 (cell); khoule@tcadp.org

Abolitionists Gather in Austin for Annual Conference

Death row survivor Anthony Graves and his family to receive Courage Award

(Austin, Texas) — More than 120 anti-death penalty advocates from across Texas will gather this Saturday, February 19, 2011 in Austin for the annual conference of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP).  This event, “Seizing the Momentum – Advancing Statewide Vision through Local Action,” will feature workshops and a panel discussion on the impact of the death penalty on Texas counties.  Panelists include Sam Millsap, the former district attorney of Bexar County; Karen Peissinger, the coordinator of El Pasoans Against the Death Penalty; and Dennis Reeves, Assistant Public Defender of the Regional Public Defenders Office for Capital Cases.  Sachin Chheda, the Deputy Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, will moderate the discussion.

During the conference, TCADP will honor Anthony Graves, his family, and his legal team with its annual Courage Award, in recognition of their tenacity, faith, and dignity throughout the ordeal of his wrongful conviction and incarceration.  Graves spent 18 years in prison, including 12 years on death row, for a crime he did not commit.  In October 2010 prosecutors dropped all charges against him and declared him innocent after conducting their own investigation of the case.  The Texas Comptroller’s Office recently denied Graves’ compensation, however, because the word “innocence” was not used in the document ordering his release.

TCADP will present a Media Award to Pamela Colloff for her extraordinary article about Anthony Graves, which was published in the October 2010 issue of Texas Monthly just one month before his release and exoneration.  Long-time TCADP members Jim and Sherry Coombes, Marj Loehlin, and Dennis Longmire each will receive an Appreciation Award in recognition of their innumerable contributions to the organization and commitment to ending the death penalty in Texas.

In addition, Reverend Carroll Pickett will receive the first-ever Dave Atwood Founder’s Award for his tireless efforts to educate Texans about the realities of the capital punishment system and the toll it takes on those charged with carrying out lethal injections.  A Presbyterian minister, Rev. Pickett served as the death house chaplain at the Walls Unit in Huntsville for 15 years and gave comfort to 95 men before their executions.

“The theme of this year’s conference reflects the momentum toward abolition generated by growing awareness of the flaws and failures of the Texas death penalty system and as evidenced in the continuing decline in new death sentences,” said Kristin Houlé, the Executive Director of TCADP.  “It is time for elected officials in Texas to recognize the shifting climate on this issue and evaluate the impact of the death penalty on our counties and the state as a whole.”

In the 82nd Texas Legislature, Representatives Jessica Farrar and Marisa Marquez have authored House Bill 819, which calls for the repeal of the death penalty in Texas.  TCADP urges lawmakers to call the bill to a hearing and to engage in a fair and open dialogue on this important issue.

The 2011 TCADP Annual Conference will take place at the Schmidt-Jones Family Life Center of the First United Methodist Church, 1300 Lavaca, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  The awards ceremony will take place from 12:00 to 2:00 PM, with State Representative Jessica Farrar serving as the emcee.  All are welcome.

For more information, visit https://tcadp.org/what-we-do/annual-conference/.


5 thoughts on “Abolitionists Gather in Austin for Annual Conference

  1. My Brother Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed on June 18, 2010 by the State of Utah. I would like to start attending functions to abolish the death penalty. I see you have one coming up this Sat. Feb. 19 2011. I have free benefits from anywhere Jetblue flies, and I see they fly to Austin. I would love to participate in sat. activities if I could be accommodated. Please get back to me ASAP so I can make flight arrangements. My phone number is 801-638-4125, Sincerely Randy Gardner

  2. Mark Anthony Stroman Execution Date:7-20 -20011.Mr. Stroman is located at Polunsky Unit (for the past 8+ years. Mr. Stroman is high profile and the D.A. has used this as the reason to rush his execution since he has now had his 5th appeal. He is only 41 years of age, has 4 children and 1 grandchild.
    He has a blog and people write to him on Death Roll from all over the WORLD in his support!
    In summary of his incident, he was watching television when he saw the live scene of the Twin Towers go down on 9-11 with his baby sister on one of the top floors. He temporarily lost it (as we all did that day)since he realized sister had just been murdered and his country was under attack. His attorney (and the court) are aware from previous MRI’s, etc., that he has a problem with his left temperal lobe which controls his emotions. When he walked into a 7-11 convience type store and saw a Muslim wearing a turban; he shot and killed him. He made a huge mistake being a Texas boy and did not realize the man was an Indian Muslim. I am a retired Investigaror for the Texas Crime Victims Department and normally in the past I would have said “hang them from the highest tree”. I am telling you this because it is not like me to make this type of request. I am asking for your help Mr. Stroman (his family and 4 children)and help him receive “live in prison without parole” which is an option in Texas! It cost TEN times more to execute an inmate than it does to keep one in prison for life. This fact alone should be a great concern for the TX Criminal Justice System, Governor Rick Perry, Senator John Whitmire, and the Tx. Parole Board with the massive cut backs to the budget.
    Replies would be greatly appreciated with any help since I have always been on the opposite side – previously! Mr.Stroman is a good, loving. intelligent, Christian young man with many friends, pen-pals and loved ones who support, love, emphasize, and sympathize with him.
    Please let me know how I can help him. I am not a relative but I have been in contact with him for a long time and hopefully I can find someone in Austin for a ride to Livingston, Texas to visit and finally meet this impressive young man.
    He is known as “The True American”, “dying to live and living to die”!
    To view his blogs and picture, please go to http://www.tamouzmedia.com. There is a documentary being done on Mr. Stroman as well and at the execution the director will focus the camera to the sky and the background music will be “Dust in the Wind”. He is still “un-broken” and signs his letters “True American to the End”.
    Thank you for you time, attention and consideration. Your reply will be greatly appreciated.

  3. Hi Annette,
    I am from England ,and have along with my Mother become friends with Mark Stroman.My Mother has been writing to Mark for the past 2 years or more. She had been suffering from severe depression since my beloved Father died in 2004.She was so affected by it that I had to put her with a private carer to live as family so she could have 24/7 support, both me and my sister have families and full time jobs..Her carer was already writing to Mr Stroman and she encouraged my Mum to do the same as she thought it would give her a sense of purpose. I must admit at first I was a little worried by this so monitored the situation. I will say this to anyone that will listen. DO NOT KILL MARK STROMAN! He is a unique and wonderful human being. I do not say this lightly. He has singlehandedly lifted my Mothers spirits when doctors , carers and family have failed.In his very regular letters, even being in the dire circumstances he is in, he has found it in his heart to care and support her,show her love and make her feel valued. So much so, that last week for the first time in 6 years, she has been able to move into her own little bungalow and carry on a normal life again. We her family owe Mark Stroman a massive debt of gratitude! Ontop of this, his sweet daughter Cassandra was recently abducted by sex trafficking ring, what that poor little lass has suffered has caused her to have a break down and she requires State funding for her medical requirements. What she needs also is the love and support of her Father to help her through this. The State have agreed she needs his support at the very recent Oregan Court hearing regards this, where Mark was sat on the end of a ‘conference telephone call’ not knowing he was going to be speaking on speakerphone to a courtroom full of people. He was then told ‘Mr Stroman we have a surprise for you and the next voice he heard was Cassandras saying ‘Hello Daddy, I love you’ ‘Are you excited that you are going to see me?’ Mark was so overcome he said his voice came out as a whisper ‘yes’ and then he spoke to his beloved daughter for a while telling her all the things he had wanted to tell her for the past 9 years, infront of a courtroom full of people. I bet they don’t get to witness that many times in their lives…Cassandra NEEDS her fathers love and support to help her recover from the attrocities she suffered at the hands of those wicked people. My Mum NEEDS Marks continuing love and support, the old lady is 78 years old! I know, if they kill Mark on the 20th July, it will be the end of my old Mum!I know the State of Texas will never actually release Mark Stroman, he has become a political pawn, Obama’s muslim lovers card to popularity. Please google Steve Pieczenik (he has been a solid advisor thru several USA Goverment administrations and extremley well respected). You may get a shock. The good people of the United States of America have a right to know and certain key high profile people are trying to warn you, before they too get silenced.I am watching all this from a distance, I am not biased in any way, it does not directly affect me in any way. Also please, look at the marvelous work Reprieve do. They fight for human rights all over the world, I didn’t have a clue till recently that they even existed. One of the top attorneys in Great Britain told me to contact them to ask for their help to save Mark Stroman. Did you also know about the new 3 drug cocktail the State of Texas and others are using to kill the prisoners. It had no testing! The 3 prisoners that have died during the past month have all died agonising deaths! They have been partially awake (sworn statements exist from attorneys and a clergyman) they have witnessed the executions! I will not be telling this to Mark Stroman, the prisoners now on ‘death watch’ are frightened enough as they know it is untested..The prisoners blood will literally boil in their veins as the other chemical actually suffocates them to death. The first chemical pentobarbital, suppose to keep them asleep thru the proceedure, but the batch they got from I’m ashamed to say, Dream Pharma a small backstreet company in England, before England passed legislation to ban it being used for this purpose, is FAULTY! I asked the company and the MHRA in England to recall it, but they won’t. It’s disgusting. These people are dying in AGONY according to medical experts. So Annette if your going to be at Marks execution, I hope you’ve got a strong stomach! I pray to God in fact to everyones own God that it doesn’t come to that. Please kick up a fuss, anyone that cares about individuals human rights, any media you can write on, talk on, be seen on! PLEASE HELP MARK STROMAN LIVE. He is a extroadinary and unique human being. Linda Meakins. Facebook: Linny Meakins. Email pipershollow1@btinternet.com

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