We're back from the tremendously powerful gathering and public event in San Antonio, launching the "Prevention, Not Execution" project that we have undertaken in collaboration with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Victims' families and families of the executed, all of whom had been affected by mental illness, murder, and the death penalty, traveled from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and elsewhere in Texas. In the morning we met for two and a half hours during which each participant had a chance to talk about their experience and how it had affected them. Afterwards Renny asked the participants to sum up those two and a half hours, and in response we heard "inspiring," "devastating," "healing," "brutal," which gives a sense of the range of emotion and exchange that took place. It was particularly powerful to witness some of the exchanges that occurred between victims' families and families of the executed.
The press conference and public remembrance ceremony that followed that afternoon was also successful, and I'll be posting material from that event here over the next several days. Since today's post is about the private conversation that took place in the morning, though, I want to say that I had the feeling afterward that even if we had not held any public event at all but had only brought people together for that morning's conversation, it would have been worth the effort because of the value of what went on. That said, I look forward to posting statements and photos from the press conference and remembrance ceremony throughout this week. For now, here's one of Scott Langley's photos of the whole group: