On California: We’ve Only Just Begun
November 7, 2012
We came so close last night in California to repealing the death penalty through Prop 34. We should not lose heart.
In fact, there are plenty of reasons to be heartened and excited.
Nearly half – 47.3% – of California voters told the state to stop condemning people to death. The 52.7% who voted to keep the death penalty represent historically low levels of support.
An unprecedented coalition of religious leaders, human and civil rights advocates, murder victims’ family members, and even law enforcement and former prison officials educated and mobilized millions of people – millions of new supporters.
In the words sung by that great California singer and drummer, Karen Carpenter, “We’ve only just begun.”
We at People of Faith Against the Death Penalty pledge to join in new efforts to mobilize more and more religious leaders and faith communities in California and across the country to raise our voices louder to provide higher levels of leadership to our communities about what the death penalty really does to us and what it really says about us.
As people of faith who envision justice as a restorative, healing force we pledge to expand our organizing help to those offering wisdom, prudence and mercy in addressing our culture’s violence. Maintaining the death penalty drains precious resources from solutions that prevent crime, hold people accountable and keep communities safe.
Let’s remember that history is not on the side of the death penalty. Five states have repealed it in the past five years. Since the late 1990s new death sentences have dropped 75% and executions have dropped 56%. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have abolished the death penalty. Thirty-two state-level jurisdictions in the United States have not had an execution in the past five years. Look for these numbers to continue to grow.
This historic campaign has brought us even closer to our goal of repeal, creating new partners, new conversations, and new horizons. Onward!
Bill Mefford, President
The Rev. Stacy Rector, Vice-President
Stephen Dear, Executive Director
P.S. Help us to mobilize more religious efforts for repeal today by giving to PFADP here.