Students Provide Awareness over Death Penalty
Campus organization to create actiism among students
September 6, 2005 11:28 PM
In an effort to promote awareness about the death penalty, the newly formed campus organization, the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, hosted a discussion on Tuesday to inform students about issues surrounding their cause.
Members of the group said they hope that events like this one will create awareness and activism among SF State students.
“This event is like our kickoff for the semester,” said member Stephanie Rodarte. “We are here to recruit new people- to show that there is a physical movement against the death penalty.”
Death row inmate Stan Tookie Williams was scheduled to speak to the group via telephone from San Quentin State Prison, but at the time of the discussion, he was unable to make the call. Although Williams was not able to take part, an hour long discussion took place addressing concerns and questions about the death penalty.
Williams, who was a co-founder of the Los Angeles gang the Crips, was convicted of murdering four people during two robberies and sentenced to death row in 1981. For the last 23 years, Williams has been in San Quentin where he has written nine children’s books and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times.
By using Williams, the Campaign to End the Death Penalty said they hope to provide a face for the issue.
The group stressed throughout the event how death row inmates, regardless of the crimes they have been convicted of, are indeed human, yet the legal system treats them and their families as less than that.
This is just the start for the Campaign to End the Death Penalty. Next on their agenda is to get the tour, “Voices from Death Row,” to come to SF State. The tour consists of former inmates and inmates’ families who talk about their experiences with death row and their lives now.
“1 in 7 people on death row are innocent,” Rodarte said. “A majority of people in California are opposed to it [the death penalty], yet people still say that we need it, that people are incapable of change. But what are you waiting for? The death penalty does not give anything back.”
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