Eva Paterson: ‘When the Death Penalty Gets Personal’

Eva authored this guest post on Jan. 11 for the SAFE California Campaign site.

My fiancé, Steve Henry, was murdered in Kingston, Jamaica, on November 25, 1997. As bizarre as this may sound, one of the thoughts I had as the initial shock wore off, was “Well, am I still against the death penalty?” My answer then and now is a resounding “YES”. The death penalty is wrong.

I will be thinking of Steve this weekend as Rev. Jesse Jackson, the California NAACP, and civil rights leaders throughout the state come together to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We are all supporting the SAFE California campaign to end death sentences. Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” I plan to honor Steve’s memory and Dr. King’s passionate commitment to justice.

Will you join us to honor justice and Dr. King?

The SAFE California campaign is sponsored by a broad coalition of justice organizations who are all joined in the commitment to replace the death penalty to protect the innocent, save our very limited state resources, and improve safety in our communities. SAFE is working hard to get the hundreds of thousands of signatures needed to qualify the “Savings, Accountability, and Full Enforcement for California Act” ballot initiative in time for the November 2012 election.

I am proud to say that my organization, Equal Justice Society, sits on the SAFE California Campaign Steering Committee. We at Equal Justice Society, like Dr. King and his wife Coretta Scott King, have always been opposed to the death penalty and advocated for an end to this risky and costly punishment. I am also proud to say that many of the dedicated members of Equal Justice Society will be joining the thousands of volunteers statewide who are ready to commemorate Dr. King’s leadership by joining this historic movement over MLK weekend.

Coretta Scott King declared, “As one whose husband and mother-in-law have died the victims of murder assassination, I stand firmly and unequivocally opposed to the death penalty for those convicted of capital offenses.” I know how difficult that statement is to make and I agree wholeheartedly.

Please join me to honor the King family and all victims of senseless violence by making a commitment to justice this coming weekend.

In peace,
Eva Paterson

– Written by Eva Paterson, President and Co-Founder of the Equal Justice Society and guest blogger for the SAFE California Campaign

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