Monday, March 15, 2010

Telling Stories, Making a Difference

In addition to testifying at legislative hearings, MVFHR members do a lot of speaking to groups of students, church groups, and other public audiences. Oregon member Aba Gayle wrote us to say that she spoke last week to a Methodist Social Justice group and then to a high school group who is performing the play version of Dead Man Walking, and Pennsylvania member Walt Everett told about a long list of recent and upcoming speaking engagements at churches and universities. Walt said that at these events several people have asked questions and stayed afterward to speak with him individually, and he has distributed a lot of MVFHR literature. Tomorrow Walt will be participating in a lobbying for a death penalty moratorium event in Pennsylvania and meeting individually with several legislators, and next month he''ll be speaking on a couple of panels in Connecticut, the state where his son was murdered.

Telling one's story and explaining one's opposition to the death penalty, and then placing that individual perspective into a broader context by giving out literature and letting audiences know about an organization of other victims' families who also oppose the death penalty, is so valuable and goes such a long way toward changing listeners' assumptions about victims and the death penalty.

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