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.