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Nuns on the Bus Stop in Concord for Rally to “Mend the Gaps”

2016-07-22 Nuns on the Bus Sr Simone Campbell

Sr. Simone Campbell addresses the crowd, while some of the Nuns on the Bus take shelter from the heat under umbrellas.

About 125 Granite Staters braved today’s heat to meet Sister Simone Campbell and the Nuns on the Bus at a State House rally to “Mend the Gaps” between us that weaken society, including gaps in income, healthcare, housing and access to democracy.

Campbell and nearly 20 Catholic sisters from around the country are visiting 13 states and both major party conventions on a tour that began July 11.  The tour’s goal is “to bring a politics of inclusion to divided places, change the conversation to mending the vast economic and social divides in our country, and counter political incivility with our message of inclusion.  NETWORK’s 44 year-old faith-filled political message is an alternative to the anger, fear, and polarization of this election cycle.  We believe in faithful citizenship, which compels us to travel the country to listen to the lived experiences of people in their communities and hold elected officials accountable to the promises they have made to legislate for the common good.”

The sisters are caucusing with local advocates in Manchester tonight, and will hold a rally in Boston tomorrow starting at 10:00 am on the front lawn of Boston College High School, 150 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125.  The full tour schedule is available at www.nunsonthebus.org.

At today’s rally, the sisters distributed brochures comparing candidates’ positions on “Mending the Gaps.”  Download the brochure comparing Kelly Ayotte with Maggie Hassan here and the brochure comparing Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump here.

Granite Staters shared their stories about the growing gaps in our economy which are making the American dream unattainable for too many families.

  • Jazmine Langley and Olivia Zink of Open Democracy signed the Bus before it left Concord, on the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

    Jazmine Langley, a Democracy Fellow with Open Democracy/NH, spoke about the challenges facing her as a biracial woman. “I have seen oppression up close. I have witnessed the gaps woven into the fabric of our country that are very much racially and socioeconomically based. From drug addiction to poverty. From police brutality to mass imprisonment. From strict voter ID laws to felon disenfranchisement. Our elected representatives and ourselves need to be held accountable for mending this gap. Whether that is by trying to spark legal reform in getting big money out politics, registering more voters, or fighting voter suppression laws, doing non-profit work dedicated to some aspect of this issue, or just educating yourselves, families, friends, and children about the issue at hand – it all makes a difference. This is our democracy, so this is our fight!”  You can watch Jazmine’s speech here.

  • Amy Shaw, a mother of two living in Rochester spoke about the challenge of finding affordable childcare. “Even with both my husband and I working, we couldn’t afford to send our kids to daycare. I had to quit my job because my monthly income wasn’t going to cover my childcare costs.” Watch Amy’s remarks here.
  • Jen Cole, of Pittsfield, said “Low wages make it challenging to pay the bills week to week but nearly impossible when life throws you a curveball. My husband was diagnosed with cancer four years ago and could not work for several months. We had to survive off of my income and rely on family and friends to help us through what was already a difficult time. If someone is working full time they should be able to make ends meet and not have to fear they’ll lose everything if they get sick.”
  • Sister Eileen Brady, of Nashua, is a Social Worker and Advocate at the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter. As a Sister of Mercy, she has been a staunch advocate for peace and justice for decades.  “The Sisters of Mercy have been trying to ‘Mend the Gaps’ since 1858,” Sister Eileen said.  She shared stories of people she has met through the Nashua Soup Kitchen, “My friends who have no place to live tonight.”  You can watch her remarks here.

“Pope Francis challenges all people to come together to work for the common good,” said Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, which launched the first Nuns on the Bus tour during the 2012 presidential campaign. “On our journey as Nuns on the Bus we will talk to those Pope Francis voters and, hopefully, inspire them to make mending the gaps the defining issue of the 2016 election.”

2016-07-22 Nuns on the Bus crowd2

Part of today’s crowd on the State House lawn.

“Every New Hampshire family deserves a fair shot at the American dream but rising costs, stagnant wages and unfair workplace policies are putting that dream out of reach for too many working people,” said Amanda Sears, director of the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, a co-sponsor of the Concord rally.  “The visit from the Nuns on the Bus today highlights the need for family friendly policy solutions that lift workers and make our communities stronger.”

Today’s program was emceed by Gail Kenney of the United Church of Christ Economic Justice Mission Group.  Jack Bopp and Arnie Alpert led everyone in a rousing rendition of “We’re All Riding with the Nuns on The Bus.”  Opening prayers were offered by Rev. Gary M. Schulte, the Conference Minister of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ, and Woullard Lett, president of the Manchester, NH branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Today’s rally was cosponsored by organizations including AFSC’s NH Program, NH Voices of Faith, Granite State Organizing Project, United Church of Christ Economic Justice Ministry, NH Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, NH Sisters of Mercy, and Stamp Stampede.

 

 

 

Faithful Democracy: How The Faith Community Can Help #GetTheMoneyOut Of Politics

How can the Faith Community help get money out of politics?  That question sounds like we’re listening to the Prayers each day of concerned Americans.  But the fact is it’s time to continue praying and to start working towards a better system to help a create a better bipartisan approach in Washington.

Ever since the Citizens United ruling “independent spending” has soared.  Here in the Granite State we see the results each and just about every time we turn on the television or have the radio on and let’s not even think about the Internet ads.  The worst thing of all this is that it’s not just every four years anymore.  But now the ads seem too never end.

More often than no it appears that money to campaigns speaks louder than the voice of a working family, or of the under-employed in our communities.

On Wednesday January 20th from 6-8pm at the Manchester Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall there will be Faithful Democracy Event featuring:Sr. Simone Campbell the Exec. Director of NETWORK and the Organizer of the Nuns on the Bus Tours across the United States, as well as Karenna Gore Director of the Center for Earth Ethics. (Yes, the daughter of Al and Tipper Gore)

Please came as a member of Labor in the Pews and join us for this discussion on a serious and moral problem and join us  in this cause.

I’m proud to be the son a of a Teamster and grateful for having been given a award from the NH AFL-CIO for working on Social Justice.

Br. Paul Crawford, OFM Cap.

Capuchin Franciscan Community

St. Anne – St. Augustin

Manchester, NH

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Hiroshima to Concord: Community to Reflect on Nuclear Threat

(Image by _Gavroche_ FLIKR)

(Image by _Gavroche_ FLIKR)

CONCORD NH – To commemorate the 70-year anniversary of the US dropping atomic bombs on Japan, members of the Concord community and several faith-based and activist organizations will hold an educational and memorial event on August 6 in Concord. 

Organizers say the event is intended to raise awareness of the current threat of nuclear war and to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

“With the dropping of the atomic bomb, we learned for the first time that humanity has the capacity to extinguish itself and all life,” said the Rev. Gray Fitzgerald, a member of the United Church of Christ Peace with Justice Advocates.  “On Hiroshima Day, we remember all those who have died in war and re-dedicate ourselves to working for the end to war and the abolition of nuclear weapons.”

The community event will at 5:30 PM at the Concord campus of New England College at 62 N. Main St.  A light potluck meal will precede a panel discussion of community leaders, followed by a walk to the Merrimack River at about 7 pm and a commemorative service and vigil on the riverbank.    

Speakers at the panel discussion will include:

  • Lynn Chong, a volunteer with NH Peace Action;
  • Curtis Smith, from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester;
  • Emily Vulgamore, a UNH student and volunteer with Global Zero;
  • Will Hopkins, Executive Director of NH Peace Action;
  • Judy Elliott, a volunteer with AFSC’s Governing under the Influence project; and
  • Arnie Alpert, co-director of the American Friends Service Committee’s NH Program

Co-sponsoring organizations include NH Peace Action; American Friends Service Committee NH Program; NH Veterans for Peace; Peace with Justice Advocates of the United Church of Christ, NH Conference; Global Zero; and the Social Responsibility Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester

William Hartung and Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson To Begin NH Speaking Tour

William Hartung speaking tour of New Hampshire begins Wednesday. Next week, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson will tour the state. With eleven engaging events critical of militarism, we hope you can attend at least one!

Hartung is a policy analyst outspoken on weapons proliferation, international arms trade and the weapons lobby. He directs the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. He is the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.

Prophets of War

Join us and help spread the word!

Next week Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson will give an engaging talk on Governing Under the Influence. Wilkerson is former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell and professor of Government and Public Policy at William and Mary College.

Spread the word. Bring a friend. We look forward to seeing you there!

Governing Under the Influence

A Project of
American Friends Service Committee
4 Park Street Concord, NH 03301
http://gui.afsc.org

Rallying for Democracy at the State House

2015-04-02 McCutcheon Rally 1

Democracy activists held dozens of rallies around the country today to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon decision.

Nationwide, the rallies focused on public disclosure of political contributions by federal contractors. Organizers urged President Obama to issue an executive order requiring any company that receives a federal contract to disclose its campaign contributions.

In New Hampshire, that issue was also raised last week by presumed presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul.  “I think special interests have too much influence in Washington,” he told the Conway Daily Sun.  “I think what makes people mad is, say you’re a contractor and you get a billion-dollar contract, the first million you take is to hire lobbyists to get you more.”

The Sunlight Foundation recently studied the 200 corporations which have been most politically active at the federal level.  The Foundation found that for every dollar spent influencing politics, the corporations received an average of $760 back from the government in contracts, tax breaks or other support.

Groups around the country organized rallies today to draw attention to the issue of political activity influencing federal contracts, and to pressure President Obama to take action on the issue.

However, at the New Hampshire State House today, the McCutcheon anniversary rally took a more rebellious tone.

Speaker Jim Reubens, a Republican candidate for US Senate in 2014, spoke about the campaign for a Constitutional Convention which could revise our form of government and reduce the influence of Big Money.

Speaker Arnie Alpert, NH Co-Director of the American Friends Service Committee, led rally attendees in a reading of Article 10 of the New Hampshire Constitution:

[Art.] 10. [Right of Revolution.] Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.  June 2, 1784

As the Stamp Stampede mobile billboard circled the State House, some attendees reflected on “Head Stamper” Ben Cohen’s observation to the Portsmouth Herald last month. “It’s becoming the rule of the corporations and the ultra wealthy elite instead of the rule of the people,” he said. “The whole history of this country has been people revolting against elitism.”

The two dozen activists returned to the State House today less than a day after a massive rally protesting decisions by the House of Representatives to cut needed government programs rather than raise tax revenues. “These are the types of decisions that cause voters to question the loyalty of our elected officials,” said Paul Brochu, StampStampede Lead Organizer-NH.  “Budgets are, above all else, choices about priorities.  In a more-perfect world, our elected officials would make these sort of decisions based on the best interests of their constituents. But we live in a world where political donations speak louder than votes.”  Read more here and here.

Today’s rally was organized by the New Hampshire Rebellion, in partnership with the Stamp Stampede, AFSC-Governing Under the Influence project, People for the American Way and NH Citizens Alliance.

2015-04-02 McCutcheon Rally 2

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The Stamp Stampede is tens of thousands of Americans legally stamping messages on our nation’s currency to #GetMoneyOut of Politics. As more and more stamped money spreads, so will the movement to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United.

You can get your own stamp online at www.stampstampede.org. Or, if you’re a member of CWA, you can get a stamp from your LPAT coordinator. The average stamped bill is seen by 875 people – which makes stamping a highly-effective way to get the message out about how money in politics is corrupting our government.

It’s time to #GetMoneyOut of politics and take back our government.

“Democracy in Action” Conference Focuses on Reducing Political Influence of Corporations and Big Money

MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE—Eleven days after the most expensive mid-term election in US history, New Hampshire activists will gather on Saturday, November 15 at Manchester Community College to learn how to make their own voices heard in the run-up to New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary. Sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Open Democracy, and NH Peace Action, the 2014 “Democracy in Action” conference will focus on reducing the influence of corporations and big money on American politics.

“Fifty years after President Eisenhower warned the nation about the unwarranted influence of the military-industrial-complex, the problem has only gotten worse,” said Will Hopkins, Director of NH Peace Action.  “Now, it’s ultra-wealthy individuals and a wide range of corporate interests that are drowning out the voices and votes of ordinary citizens,” said Hopkins, an Iraq war veteran.

“In New Hampshire we have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the candidates,” said Olivia Zink, AFSC’s Grassroots Engagement Coordinator, “and with a bit of training and planning, we can make sure they hear our concerns about corporate influence and big money.”

“It’s no surprise that nine in ten Americans believe special interest money holds excessive influence in politics or that eight in ten Americans support limits on campaign spending,” observed Dan Weeks of Open Democracy, who noted that nearly $50 million was spent just on the recent campaign for the US Senate. “That’s about $100 for everyone who voted, and most of it was spent on negative ads,” Weeks said.

The Democracy in Action conference will take place from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm on Saturday, November 15.  It will include workshops on campaign skills, especially how to communicate effectively with electoral candidates through a process activists call “bird-dogging.”   Other workshops will examine news-media relations, bringing resolutions to Town Meetings, free speech rights, and public speaking.  Topical workshops will focus on corporate influence over foreign policy, health care, and environmental matters, plus others dealing with the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, corporate influence on state policy, and the impact of the money-driven political system on efforts to reduce poverty.

Participants will also learn about AFSC’s “Governing Under the Influence” project, Open Democracy’s proposals for campaign reform, and the NH Rebellion’s plans for “Granny D” walks in January.

Following the conference, attendees will have an opportunity to see a new documentary film, “Pay 2 Play,” which exposes the influence of money on our political system and explores steps to put voters back in control.

Manchester Community College is located at 1066 Front Street in Manchester. Admission is free.  Participants are strongly encouraged to pre-register. Additional information is available at:  http://afsc.org/event/democracy-action-conference.

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization supported by people of many faiths who care about social justice and peace.  It’s NH Primary season project focuses on excessive corporate influence in American politics.

Open Democracy is a New Hampshire organization founded by Doris “Granny D” Haddock to strengthen democracy and stop the corrupting influence of special interest money in politics.

New Hampshire Peace Action is a statewide group working to end wars, eliminate nuclear weapons worldwide, and shift resources from war-making to programs that meet human needs.

In addition to AFSC, NH Peace Action, and Open Democracy, the conference is also supported by People for the American Way, Public Citizen, the Stamp Stampede, NH Sierra Club, Free Speech for People, and Granite State Progress.

Working To Limit Money In Politics, Local Non-Profits Host Democracy In Action Conference

Local New Hampshire Non-Profits Hold Post-Election Democracy In Action Conference Addressing the Influx of Money in the Political System

     The local non-profit groups Open Democracy, NH Peace Action, and American Friends Service Committee, along with other supporting organizations, are holding a free and open to the public Democracy In Action Conference on Saturday, November 15th, at Manchester Community College.

     The groups, in light of the record-breaking spending and negativity of the recent election, are concerned with the influence big money has in corrupting the democratic principles of the republic.

     The granite state has a famously unique opportunity to engage political candidates, especially presidential candidates.  Looking to take advantage of that opportunity, the Democracy in Action Conference seeks to help citizens understand the issues related to the problem of money in politics, and to develop grassroots skills to build a movement that aims to make the primary voting issue of the next election the corruption of money-politics and ensuring all citizens have an equal voice.

     Workshops at the conference will focus on training for candidate interactions, gaining skills in local communities for effective action, understanding how big money in politics affects many of the hot-button issues of the day, and connecting with local grassroot reform campaigns.  The conference will be immediately followed by a free showing of the movie Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes.

      Admission and parking are free and refreshments will be provided.  All are welcome, and asked to register at:

http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50601/c/10502/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=79716,  or call (603) 224-2407.

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/970353576313817/?context=create&previousaction=create&source=49&sid_create=33498377

WHEN:  Saturday, November 15th—8:30am to 3:00pm

WHERE:  Manchester Community College, Main Auditorium Room 100

  1066 Front St.

  Manchester, NH  03102

“Aggressive Progressives” Meet in Henniker (Via Arnie Alpert’s InZane Times)

Written by Arnie Alpert on InZane Times.

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Atlant Schmidt and Cathy Goldwater at Bird-dogging workshop

The third annual New Hampshire Progressive Summit brought 150 activists to New England College yesterday for a conference devoted to practical political skills and information in a wide range of P6070068topics.  Renewable energy, youth organizing, preserving Social Security and Medicare, poverty, GMOs, use of social media, and more kept the crowd moving for the day.  There was even time for debate over the Northern Pass powerline project, an issue about which there is not unity in the New Hampshire Left.  

The Summit included 19 workshops and another 6 “mini-workshops,” plus sessions for elected officials and candidates.  I was able to catch ones on LGBT issues (with Mo Baxley and Jamie Capach) and on the perils of privatization (with Diana Lacey and Janice Kelble) plus 20-minute “mini workshops” on the American Legislative Exchange Council (with Caitlin Rollo and Rep. Marcia Moody) and reducing gun violence (with Janet Groat of Moms Demand Action).  The presenters all were masters of their subjects and led effective discussions.

I also sat in on a presentation about the NH Rebellion, a growing project to put P6070028pressure on candidates to end the “system of corruption” caused by the flood of cash in the political system. The rebels are planning to join four July 4 parades and assemble hundreds of people to walk from Hampton Beach to New Castle on July 5, all in the spirit of Doris “Granny D” Haddock.  Their supporters at the Summit included several old friends from Occupy NH. 

With Olivia Zink and Addy Simwerayi, I led a session on P6070057“bird-dogging” skills, i.e. how to let candidates know what is on our minds and find out what is on theirs. These sessions are always lively, fun, and hopefully useful.  We had a great assortment of activists concerned about trans rights, climate, GMOs, money and politics, and other issues, all eager to hone their skills.  With the 2014 election campaign heating up and the campaign for the 2016 NH Presidential Primary already underway there is plenty of bird-dogging to be done. 

In fact, the lobby outside the main meeting room was filled with tables from Democratic Party groups, including “Ready for Hillary.” 

What it means to be an “aggressive progressive” was the theme of Richard Kirsch’s keynote.  The speech ran through dozens of popular progressive concepts like aP6070009 higher minimum wage, defeat of “right to work,” the use of the tax code by the 1% to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else, the need for paid sick leave, and the importance of not only preserving but expanding Social Security.  “We all do better when we all do better,” he said.  

Punctuated with applause, Kirsch’s remarks were deliberately formulaic, and in fact, he said they were drawn from the key message points of “An America that Works for All of Us,” a glossy brochure included in everyone’s conference packet (and available online).  From the speaker’s perspective “repeating, repeating, repeating and telling the same story,” what he calls the “progressive narrative,”  is the P6070080key to political success.

Coming out of movements based on direct action, I’m not totally sold on this “narrative” concept.  I think we create the “narrative” by our actions as much as by our words, but I agree it’s important to communicate effectively and have always believed that the “progressive agenda” – good schools, fair taxes, protection of civil rights and liberties, decent wages for workers, etc. — ought to be popular with the majority of Americans.  But let’s give attention to actions beyond voting and appeals to those who get elected.  I hope there’s still room for direct action on the progressive agenda.  

MLK A Devoted Labor Leader And Leader Against The Death Penalty

MLK’s First Campaign was against the Death Penalty

Bus segregation was not the first issue that grabbed the attention of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. when the young pastor moved to Montgomery, Alabama in 1954. His first campaign in his new home focused on a sentence of death for Jeremiah Reeves, a 16-year-old black boy convicted of raping a white woman, which512px-Martin_Luther_King_Jr_NYWTS_6-wikicommons became his first civil rights campaign in his new home. Reeves had confessed under duress, but later recanted, a claim widely believed in the black community. King joined the NAACP’s efforts to save Reeves’ life.

So did Claudette Colvin, like Reeves a student at Booker T. Washington High School. Colvin, who the next year would be arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus nine months before Rosa Parks did the same thing, recalled, “Jeremiah Reeves’s arrest was the turning point of my life. That was when I and a lot of other students really started thinking about prejudice and racism. I was furious when I found out what had happened.” [1]

“In the years that [Reeves] sat in jail,” Dr. King wrote in Stride Toward Freedom, his book about the Montgomery movement, “several white men in Alabama had also been charged with rape; but their accusers were Negro girls. They were seldom arrested; if arrested, they were soon released by the Grand Jury; none was ever brought to trial.” [2]

Reeves was found guilty by an all-white jury and put to death on March 28, 1958.

A week later King addressed a “Prayer Pilgrimage” rally in front of the State Capitol building. “The issue before us now is not the innocence or guilt of Jeremiah Reeves,” King told a crowd of two thousand. “Even if he were guilty, it is the severity ad inequality of the penalty that constitutes the injustice. Full grown white men committing comparable crimes against Negro girls are rare ever punished, and are never given the death penalty or even a life sentence.”[3]

Such gerrymandered justice was a well established fact of life in the South, going back to the days of slavery when blacks were commonly executed or lynched for crimes that drew less harsh punishment — or none — when committed by whites. This discriminatory pattern continued after emancipation, as Stuart Banner documents in his book, The Death Penalty: An American History. “In the first half of the [twentieth] century,” he writes, “the southern states punished many crimes by death only if they were committed by blacks, in the second half of LR&Mark11-14-12 019the century they accomplished the same result by delegating to all-white juries the discretion to choose capital or noncapital punishment.”

“The death penalty was a means of racial control,” observes Banner, a UCLA law professor.

Sadly, the role played by race in decisions about the death penalty persists. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, recent studies “add to an overwhelming body of evidence that race plays a decisive role in the question of who lives and dies by execution in this country. Race influences which cases are chosen for capital prosecution and which prosecutors are allowed to make those decisions. Likewise, race affects the makeup of the juries which determine the sentence. Racial effects have been shown not just in isolated instances, but in virtually every state for which disparities have been estimated and over an extensive period of time.”

New Hampshire is a case in point.

Michael Addison was charged with capital murder for killing Michael Briggs, a police officer, in 2006.

John Brooks was charged with capital murder for hiring three men to assist him in killing Jack Reid, a handyman, in 2005.

The trials took place in adjacent counties in 2008.

Addison, a poor black man with a prior criminal record, was found guilty and sentenced to death.

Brooks, a white millionaire businessman, was found guilty but spared the death penalty.

Monica Foster, Brooks’ attorney, said of her client after the sentence was announced, “He’s not the kind of people juries routinely kill,”

Racial disparities in the use of the death penalty have been a focus of scholarly research for decades. According to Justin Levinson, Robert Smith, and Danielle Young, authors of a 2013 study, “The most consistent and robust finding in this literature is that even after controlling for dozens and sometimes hundreds of case-related variables, Americans who murder Whites are more likely to receive a death sentence than those who murder Blacks.” They note as well that “Black defendants are sentenced to death more frequently than White defendants, especially when the universe of studied cases is narrowed to include only those cases that result in aexecutejustice11-14-12capital trial.”

What Levinson, Smith, and Young found ought to be a wake-up call for anyone interested in the fairness of our judicial system. After studying 445 jury-eligible citizens in six states where the death penalty is most actively used, they concluded that “implicit racial bias does have an impact on the administration of the death penalty in America.”

“We found that death-qualified jurors implicitly valued White lives over Black lives by more rapidly associating White subjects with the concepts of ‘worth’ or ‘value’ and Black subjects with the concepts of ‘worthless’ or ‘expendable.’ This finding could potentially help to explain why real capital juries impose death sentences more regularly for White victims: at least at an implicit level we value White lives more than Black lives, and thus, perhaps, we seek to punish those individuals who have destroyed those whom we value most.”

The implications of this finding go far beyond the death penalty.

As for Dr. King, it is worth noting that his comments on the prosecution, conviction, and execution of Jeremiah Reeves did not directly reject capital punishment, just “the unequal justice of Southern courts.” As King matured into the leader we honor today, his critique of injustice deepened and blended with a prescription for change.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that,” he famously said.

“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence,” King told the world on the day he received the Nobel Peace Prize. “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

The realization of King’s vision is far off. Abolition of the death penalty would be an excellent step in the right direction.

To get involved, join the NH Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

 


 

[1] Phillip Hoose, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, Farrar Straus Giroux, 2009, p. 23-24

[2] Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom

[3] Martin Luther King, Jr., “Statement Delivered at the Prayer Pilgrimage Protesting the Electrocution of Jeremiah Reeves,” April 6, 1958

NH Program Seeks Intern for Presidential Primary Project

american friends service committee logo (AFSC)The AFSC NH Primary Project will promote civic engagement during the period leading up to the 2016 NH Presidential Primary on corporate domination of US political life and its impact on shared security and economic health.  The project will also support similar activity in Iowa during the same period and create resources which can be used by AFSC programs in other states.  Responsibilities will include research on corporate influence, with a focus on corporations that profit from weapons and prisons.  It will also involve networking with other groups, tracking the visits and views of likely Presidential candidates, and developing resources for grassroots activists.

This part-time, paid position is ideal for someone who has an interest in the ways grassroots activists can affect political discourse.

See the job Internship Description for more details and send a letter and resume toaalpert@afsc.org by January 13, 2013.

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