Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Walk ends in Sacramento on Nov. 30th!

The event in Sacramento went very well... we had over 100 people, lots of students, good speakers...timing went just fine...took us about 45 minutes for the walk. I think everyone liked it. I got to our gathering point at 10:45am and expected to be the first one there (came with Sr. Catherine and Marilyn from our DPF chapter). We saw this huge crowd, so I assumed it was for some other event...but what do you know...it was us! Several TV stations, the radio station KPFA, and some print media showed up. They did lots of interviews. Lots of good spirit!

From Ellen, Nov. 30, 2007

The Walk ended in Sacramento on November 30th and it was a huge success. We had newspaper and TV coverage at almost every rally. All who participated at the rallies or walked with us deserve a big Thank You. A special thank you goes to Stefanie and the other folks at Death Penalty Focus. Their effort made this much more successful walk than the one I did in 2000. Hopefully a walk will not be necessary in 2014 because the death penalty will be a thing of the past.

From Richard Carlburg, Dec. 4, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Walk Reaches San Quentin: KTVU News Coverage

Here is a good video from KTVU Channel 2 News on the Walk to Stop Executions. Its about 3.5 minutes.

"SAN QUENTIN: David Stevenson Reports On Efforts To Halt Death Penalty - Video - KTVU San Francisco." The link:www.ktvu.com/video/14633963/index.html?taf=fran

Friday, November 9, 2007

Report from Santa Cruz

On Wednesday Nov. 7th, death penalty activists gathered at the Court House in Santa Cruz to voice their support for an end to the death penalty and to join Richard Carlburg and Jeff Ghelardi on their walk from San Diego to Sacramento. Emily Malone, from Santa Cruz, expressed her appreciation to District Attorney Bob Lee who has not sought the death penalty and for the fact that there is no one currently on death row from Santa Cruz County. Derrel Myers, whose son JoJo was murdered at the age of 23, spoke passionately against the death penalty. The event was covered by the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and several other media outlets.
Photo and Report by Terry McCaffrey

Monday, November 5, 2007

Report from Salinas

Richard and Jeff passed through Salinas on the way to Santa Cruz. About ten locals joined them on the outskirts of Salinas and walked en masse to the County Courthouse in downtown Salinas, with media coverage most of the way. Another ten or so supporters were waiting on the courthouse steps. There were few short speeches and some interviews, with coverage by KION (local CBS affiliate), Univision, and The Californian (Salinas newspaper), and the boys were on their way. Jeff and Richard reported that they were able to watch the unbiased KION tv story later that day.

Report by Mark of Salinas

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Report from Ventura

Michelle Paschen organized a great rally at the Ventura Court House, followed by a walk to Ventura College. About 30 people attended the rally. David Howard, of Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions, told how the death penalty not only does not deter violence, it increases violence. Most of the attendees then walked about two miles to Ventura College. At the college, Vera Ramirez-Crutcher of Oxnard, whose son was murdered, said of the death penalty, “It doesn’t solve anything. It doesn’t give closure.” Then Jeff read his moving poem that is posted on this blog and a local minister closed the event.

The local Ventura County Star and AM Radio 570 covered the rally. The next day while I was walking through Carpinteria, a cameraman appeared out of nowhere and asked if he could take my picture. He works for the local newspaper, The Coastal View News. He took several pictures but did not ask any questions. He apparently knew all about our walk and said the pictures would be in the next edition of the paper. The word must be getting out.

By Richard Carlburg

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Why do I walk?

I walk for Anthony Porter,
found innocent and set free
from death row
after 21 years of agony.
And for others like him.

I walk for Bill Pelke,
who lost his grandma to murder,
and who now devotes his life
to fighting the death penalty.
And for others like him.

I walk for the guilty on death row,
the pawns of macho politics.
I walk for the innocent on death row;
may they someday follow Anthony.
I walk for the innocent killed on death row;
may there be no more like them.

I walk for all the abolitionists;
you are the conscience of the community;
may you fight on ‘til justice is won.

I walk to Sacramento for our leaders there.
May their better angels emerge
so that politics give way to justice.
And for our leaders across America,
so that the iron doors of all death chambers
shall be locked and sealed tight, forever.

Jeff Ghelardi, October 2007

Report from Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, Emily Hammargren arranged at great demonstration at the court house. We had several great speakers including Mike Farrell and Rev. George Regas of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena. Gloria Killian who was wrongfully convicted of murder gave a powerful appeal for reform of the justice system. Norm Stamper, a former Seattle police chief and 28-year veteran of the San Diego police Dept. said that the money spent on the death penalty could be better spent on cold cases. One third of all murders are not solved. Then Aqeela Sherrills, who son was murdered, said that justice not vengeance is what the murder victims’ families wanted.

Several media outlets recorded the event. The most important was the all-news radio station KFWB. Mike Farrell and Rabbi Jerry Goldstein’s comments were broadcast several times during the day. Also, Rabbi Goldstein had a letter to the LA Times published the next day.

For the next three days Jeff and I battled strong winds as we walked to Ventura. On Saturday we met a bicycle group doing a 100-mile bike ride and another group running a cross country race. Bicycle riders frequently eat bananas as they ride and I saw three banana peels. The first one I did not see and I slipped on it. I am not kidding.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Report from San Bernardino and Orange Counties

After leaving Riverside on September 21st we headed for San Bernardino where Carolyn Boyle and Verne Schweiger welcomed us.

About thirty people gathered in front of the San Bernardino Court House on Monday, September 24th to protest the death penalty. A local priest spoke of the first murder recorded in the Book of Genesis. The murderer, Cain, feared that he would be killed by his victim’s friends. To prevent this God marked Cain so that everyone would know that Cain’s life should be spared.

Carolyn Boyle spoke and introduced a series of speakers including Jeff and I. We were interviewed by two Spanish speaking newspapers, La Prensa and La Opinion. Also the San Bernardino Sun printed a picture of the demonstration on its front page.

We then left for Orange County. On Wednesday, Jeff set a new record for longest non-stop walk, when he walked almost six miles uninterrupted. I read my magazines. It was an easy day.

On Thursday, September 27th Jan Urban met us four miles from the Orange County Court House and walked the route with Jeff. I transported signs to the court house.

About fifteen people were at the Orange County demonstration led by local activist Dave Johnson. Fr. Bill Barman led us in Sister Helen’s prayer. Jeff asked the absent district attorney, Tony Rackauckas, to save Orange County’s tax money by not seeking the death penalty.

Exoneree Tom Goldstein reported on the injustice that resulted in his 24 year jail term for a murder he did not commit. The event was covered by local TV Channel 56 (Channel 12 on most cable systems.)

Now we’re on to Los Angeles!

By Richard Carlburg

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Walk route in Los Angeles on Oct. 4th

For anyone who would like to meet the walkers on their way to the Oct. 4th rally in downtown Los Angeles, the one-mile marker BEFORE the rally is at the Japanese American National Museum at East 1st St. and North Alameda St. Meet at 11:30am.

The rally will begin at noon at the County Criminal Court Building, at the corner of W. Temple St and N Spring St.

Speakers will include:
  • Norm Stamper, former police chief of Seattle and 29-year veteran of the San Diego Police Dept.
  • Gloria Killian, wrongfully convicted of a murder she did not commit. Narrowly escaped the death penalty.
  • Aqeela Sherrills, whose son was murdered
  • Rev. George Regas

The one-mile marker after the rally is at South Grand Ave. and West 5th St. That’s across from the Main Los Angeles Library.

Of course, all walkers are welcome to continue on down Wilshire Blvd. and beyond.

Questions? Contact Emily at email: cpf@la-archdiocese.org or phone: 213.235.8305.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Join the Walk in Orange County this Thursday, Sept. 27th!

Join us at 11:30am at 17th St and Main in Santa Ana, CA to WALK one mile to the Courthouse on Civic Center Drive for a Rally at Noon.

Join Walkers for one mile leaving the Rally as they move on to Los Angeles. The one mile marker after the Rally is at 17th St. and Bristol. Then it’s an easy return to your parked vehicles at 17th and Main !!

Questions? Contact Jan at: janurban@adelphia.net

Day 7: Even rain and heat can't stop us from walking

The walk from San Diego was uneventful if you exclude the weather which ranged from very hot to cold light rain. On Monday, September 17, I had to drop out in order to make a doctor’s appointment and Jeff’s son, Mat, walked in my place.

We arrived in Riverside Thursday night (September 20). Audrey Owens and her group organized a great demonstration on Friday, September 21st. About fifty people gathered on the Court House steps to listen to songs by local activist Dick Morris and a series of eloquent speakers led by Riverside Public Defender Gary Windom. Thomas Goldstein, who was exonerated of murder after 24 years in prison, spoke of the terrible injustice done to him and others by the California justice system. A local TV station interviewed Jeff and I and filmed the demonstration. A reporter from The Press-Enterprise also interviewed us.

The good people of Riverside took up a collection for our expenses. We spent four nights in motels and the contribution was greatly appreciated.

By Richard Carlburg
Sept. 22, 2007

Still walking, despite injuries

On Day 1 of our March from San Diego to Sacramento one of our soldiers for justice went down for the cause. At about mile 7, on the north side of the San Diego River bike path, 71 year-old Tony Brown (Photo: pictured 2nd from the left) stumbled and hit his head on the asphalt.

At this point there were five marchers, including Tony, and the other four of us had some anxious moments while he lay there, not responding to the simple question "What are the five main reasons you oppose the death penalty in order of importance?"

Not really. We actually kept repeating, "Tony, can you hear me?" About 1½ -2 minutes later, he responded, began to stir, and we helped him to a sitting position, leaving a prominent little pool of blood on the path. He sported a fine goose egg on his forehead with a 2-½ inch gash diagonally across it. Mike Peddecord whipped out some large bandages from his fanny pack. We mopped away enough blood so that Mike could get two band-aids to stick.

We then determined that Tony didn't require an ambulance and decided to drive Tony to his health care provider, Sharp Memorial Hospital. Jeff Ghelardi’s son Mat was waiting in the lead car about five minutes drive ahead. We called him; he came immediately and packed Tony away to the emergency room.

There, the receiving nurse checked Tony over, cleaned the wound, re-bandaged it, and sent him, with Mat in tow, to the "fast track" waiting room to be seen ASAP. Five hours later, the doctor collected Tony, sent him for an EEG (results were fine), stitched up the wound, and sent Tony and Mat on their way.

Early the next day, Sunday the 16th, Tony, who is a cantankerous old dude, insisted on rejoining the March. The lead marchers, Richard Carlburg and Jeff, quickly put the kibosh on that idea, thanked Tony for his loyal service, got back on the road, praying for a dull, uneventful Day 2.

Note: Tony Brown is a veteran of several integrated Civil Rights Marches through the South in the early 1960s. Participants were routinely harassed, jailed and brutalized.

by Jeff Ghelardi

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Walk to stop in Riverside tomorrow

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Contact: Melissa Daar: 510-550-8170; 415-312-0222
Audrey Owens: 909-322-9213


800-Mile Walk to Stop Executions Arrives at Riverside Hall of Justice
Walkers Ask District Attorney NOT to Seek Death Penalty

Friday, September 21, 2007 - NOON

WHERE:Riverside Hall of Justice, 4100 Main Street,Downtown Riverside, CA

WHAT: Press conference for the 2007 Walk to Stop Executions. The Walk will stop in 15 counties along the 800-mile route and will end at the State Capitol in Sacramento on November 30th. The Walk was initiated to call attention to the death penalty and encourage district attorneys not to seek the death penalty.

Tom Goldstein, wrongfully convicted or murder in California, served 24 years
Herman Atkins, wrongfully convicted of rape in California, served 11.5 years
Gary Windon, Riverside Public Defender

WHY:When District Attorneys pursue death sentences, the lengthy and complex legal proceedings not only perpetuate the suffering of the survivors but also focus all the attention on the accused instead of the victims. Seeking the death penalty also costs far more than seeking the alternative sentence, life without parole. While some district attorneys do not to pursue the death penalty, these counties' district attorneys do. As a result, California has the highest rate of death sentencing in the country.

To locate the walkers, please call:
Jeff Ghelardi 619-850-7470 or Richard Carlburg 714-222-2164.

For more information, please visit:http://walktostopexecutions.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Walk: Day One

The walk started off with a great demonstration at the San Diego County Courthouse. Approximately 50 supporters attended including giant puppet images of Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King. The CBS TV station recorded the proceedings and interviewed me. Representatives from CPF, AIUSA, DPF, ACLU, and the California Innocence Project spoke in opposition to the death penalty. The final speakers were Jeff Ghelardi and I.

The candle of hope was lit at 10:00 and the march started. Most of the fifty supporters followed the candle through downtown for about a mile. A few hearty souls walked for ten miles, at which point Jeff and I continued.

At about mile eight, Telemundo Channel 17 interview Jeff and filmed the walkers. Tomorrow at 7:00 AM Jeff and I will continue the march starting at Kearney Villa Road one mile north of Clairemont Mesa Blvd.

Richard Carlburg
Sept. 15, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

Op-ed about the Walk appears in the North County Times

Walk on Saturday to stop executions
North County Times
Sept. 13, 2007

By: Azim Khamisa

This Saturday, a crowd will gather outside the San Diego Hall of Justice to urge District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to stop seeking death sentences in our county. This event will mark the beginning of an 800-mile Walk to Stop Executions, which will travel throughout the state of California to make the same plea to district attorneys in other counties. This is a journey in which all San Diegans should participate, whether in body or in spirit.My own journey in opposition to the death penalty began in 1995, when my son Tariq, then 19, was shot and fatally wounded by 14-year-old Tony Hicks. Tony became the first juvenile in California to be tried as an adult, and was sentenced to 25 years to life.

After my son's murder, I decided to become an enemy not of his killer, but of the forces that put him on that dark street holding a handgun. I reached out to Tony's grandfather, Ples Felix, and we have worked together ever since to break the epidemic of youth violence. Tony now writes letters from prison that we use in our programs -- letters that have had a positive effect on other young children. If California had punished Tony by executing him, both his life and the effect of his message would have been lost.

All of us, as San Diegans, Californians and Americans, created the society that made both Tariq and Tony into victims. We must take responsibility for our creation. Instead of breaking the cycle of violence, the death penalty perpetuates it, both by committing more killing and by draining resources that could be used to help our children find hope and move away from violence. Maintaining the death penalty has been estimated to cost Californians more than $100 million every year over and above the other costs of our criminal justice system. Wouldn't this money be better spent on providing after-school activities for our children, and educating them on the alternatives to violence?

I know from experience that the journey from tragedy to forgiveness can be long and difficult. But I have also found that it is necessary, both for the individual and for our society as a whole. I encourage all members of our community to join in this effort to walk away from violence and turn our attention to the pressing problems that make our children into victims of society, and of each other. Please join me, and all of those participating in the Walk to Stop Executions, in asking our district attorney to stop seeking death sentences in our county.

Azim Khamisa is founder and chairman of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation, a San Diego-based nonprofit organization dedicated to breaking the epidemic of youth violence. Among other activities, he speaks to elementary and middle school children about gangs, violence, revenge and the importance of becoming "peacemakers.

To see this op-ed online, please visit: http://nctimes.com/articles/2007/09/13/opinion/commentary/20_36_239_12_07.txt

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Media Advisory

Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Contact: Melissa Daar 510-550-1870; 415-312-0222
Jeff Ghelardi, 619-224-7322


800-Mile Walk to Stop Executions Launches at San Diego Court House
Walkers Ask District Attorney NOT to Seek Death Penalty

WHEN: Saturday, September 15, 2007 – 9 AM

WHERE: San Diego Hall of Justice, 330 Broadway, Downtown San Diego

WHAT: Press conference and launch for the Walk to Stop Executions. The Walk will stop in 15 counties along the 800-mile route and will end at the State Capitol in Sacramento on November 30th. Walkers will join to call attention to the death penalty and encourage district attorneys not to seek the death penalty.

Walk Leaders: Richard Carlburg and Jeff Ghelardi
Rev. Tony Currin
Calif. People of Faith: Ronnie Friedman-Barone
Amnesty International USA: Tim Spann
ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties: Kevin Keenan
Jeff Chinn, California Innocence Project

WHY: When District Attorneys pursue death sentences, the lengthy and complex legal proceedings not only perpetuate the suffering of the survivors but also focus all the attention on the accused instead of the victims. Seeking the death penalty also costs far more than seeking the alternative sentence, life without parole. While some district attorneys do not to pursue the death penalty, these counties’ district attorneys do. As a result, California has the highest rate of death sentencing in the country.

For more information, please visit: http://walktostopexecutions.blogspot.com/

Look who's walking!

Norm Stamper, a 28-year veteran of the San Diego police dept. and former Seattle police chief and Gloria Killian, who was wrongfully convicted in California and narrowly escaped the death penalty, will be walking in Los Angeles.

Tom Goldstein and Herman Atkins, both wrongfully convicted in California will be walking in Riverside.

Vera Ramirez-Crutcher, who lost her son to murder, will be walking in Ventura.

Will you be walking?

Monday, August 20, 2007

No more death sentences!

Did you know California has the highest rate of death sentencing in the country?

While annual death sentences have dramatically decreased each year since 1999, when there were 42, the number is still alarmingly high. Last year 16 death verdicts were returned and so far 7 have been handed down in 2007.

As a result, 666 men and women now sit on California's death row.

It is time for us to say to our elected District Attorneys, "No more death sentences!" We have seen over and over that the pursuit and imposition of the death penalty only perpetuates the suffering of survivors, focuses all of the attention and resources on the accused instead of the victims, and costs the taxpayers far more than a sentence of life without parole.

Please take 30 seconds to send a letter to you District Attorney today!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Walk T-Shirts

Check out the design for the 2007 Walk to Stop Executions t-shirts!

Anyone pledging at least 3 cents per mile ($24) by September 15th will receive a Walk t-shirt. Only a limted number will be available.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Details about supporting the walk

We are very excited to tell you about the 2007 Walk to Stop Executions, which starts on September 15th. The Walk will begin at the San Diego County Court House and will cover more than 800 miles, ending at the State Capitol in Sacramento on November 30th. The Walk will stop in 15 counties to encourage the district attorneys in each location not to seek the death penalty in any case. The walk will also unite local activists and draw attention to the issue of the death penalty along the way.

We have set a fundraising goal of $6000 for the Walk to Stop Executions. Funds raised will be used by Death Penalty Focus and California People of Faith Working Against the Death Penalty, to continue our work to educate the public about the inherent flaws in the death penalty.

Please consider supporting the 2007 Walk to Stop Executions by pledging $.03 to $.75 for each mile the walkers complete.

Individuals donating $24 (3 cents per mile) or more by September 15th will receive a 2007 Walk to Stop Executions t-shirt.

A gift of any size is appreciated. Every dollar will help bring us closer to our fundraising goal of $6000.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Meet a walker: Emily Hammargren

Emily Hammargren grew up in beautiful Bloomington, Indiana. After graduating with a degree in Communications from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, she created exhibits for the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska. Emily moved to Seattle, Washington in 2000 where she worked as a Broadcast News Assignment Editor. Three years later, she moved to Los Angeles, California and worked as an Assistant Editor and Editor for various television productions. Emily started anti-death penalty work as a volunteer with Amnesty International during high school and college. She worked as the Office Manager for the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty during her time in Seattle. Currently, Emily is the Southern California Coordinator for California People of Faith Working Against the Death Penalty and Assistant with the Chowchilla Family Express, a free transportation service for family and friends of women serving time at the prisons in Chowchilla, CA. Emily and her husband, John, share their apartment with Shooter the kitty.

Emily will be walking to stop executions.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Meet a walker: Jeff Ghelardi

Jeff Ghelardi was born in London, England in 1937. He immigrated to the United States in 1946. He was raised in San Francisco and then moved to San Diego for his senior year of high school. He earned a B.A. in sociology from San Diego State University in 1964. He was active with the U.S. Marines Corp from '57 thru '59. Jeff did a two year stint with the peace corps in Bolivia with his wife, Suzanne. He has managed a residential rental business since 1972.

Jeff and his wife Suzanne have been death penalty abolitionists since 1959, the year they were married. He continues to be active with the San Diego Chapter of Death Penalty Focus, California People of Faith, the Ocean Beach Amnesty International Chapter, and many other civil rights and social justice groups.

Jeff participated in the 1st California walk aimed at educating the public about the death penalty, which occurred in the year 2000.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sign-up to Walk Today

Sign-up to be a walker by emailing the walk organizer at PROUDPOPPA@aol.com.

Please indicate your county, a phone number, and the approximate number of miles you would like to walk.

Friday, June 29, 2007

How to get involved:

The Walk to Stop Executions will cover more than 800 miles and will include stops in at least 15 cities. You can participate in this exciting event by:

1) Joining the walkers for a 5 mile segment during the course of the walk. (Information on how to meet up with the walkers will be available on this site once the walk has begun.)

2) Attending one or more of the 15 scheduled rallies.

3) Becoming a "virtual walker." By financially sponsoring the walkers, you can participate in this event from wherever you live. A pledge of 3, 10, or 25 cents per mile will help us cover the costs for this event and will help us continue our important work to end the death penalty.

For example, a donation of 3 cents per mile (x 800 miles) = a tax deductible donation of $24.

Virtual walkers who pledge at least 3 cents a mile before September 1st will also receive an event t-shirt that can be worn throughout the course of the event.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Meet the walk organizer: Richard Carlburg

Richard Carlburg led the first walk against the death penalty in 2000. He is a State Death Penalty Coordinator for Amnesty International USA in California, the Vice Chair of California People of Faith Working Against the Death Penalty, and an active member of Death Penalty Focus and the L.A. Coalition Against the Death Penalty. He served in the U.S. Military from June 1958 to June 1982 and retired with rank of Major. He was a Project Manager with Northrop Gruman and retired in 1998. Richard will be reporting regularly from the walk. He can be reached at: PROUDPOPPA@aol.com