While in Italy for events associated with the Community of Sant'Egidio's "Cities for Life - CIties Against the Death Penalty," MVFHR's Renny Cushing spoke to a large crowd at the University of the Sacred Heart in Rome and at a large community meeting in Lucca, which is in Italy's Tuscany region. Tuscany is significant in this context because Cities for Life is celebrated each year on November 30, the anniversary of the day that Tuscany abolished the death penalty in 1786 - thus marking the first time a state decided to do away with capital punishment.
While in Italy Renny also met with town officials, faith leaders, and other death penalty abolitionists, and particularly welcomed the chance to be part of a delegation meeting with the mayor of Rome as he made a public proclamation recognizing Italy's key role in the global abolition movement.
Renny reports that the events got good local and regional press coverage and that listeners were moved by the MVFHR message; some specifically told him that they had never before heard of victim opposition to the death penalty and thought it was an important part of the effort to abolish the death penalty worldwide. In that effort, we were glad to have the opportunity to participate in these events organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio, which is one of MVFHR's partners in the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.
Bill Pelke writes about his experiences in Rome here on the Journey of Hope blog.