DCODP Monthly Meeting – Monday January 26, 2015 at 5:30pm

Delaware legislators are back in session. Join us at our Monthly DCODP Meeting as we plan to repeal Delaware’s death penalty in 2015. Find out what you can do to help end Delaware’s ineffective, costly, and biased death penalty. Monday 1/26/15 from 5:30 to 7:30pm. LOCATION: Wilmington Friends Meeting House, 1st floor Social Room, 401 N. West St, Wilmington, DE 19801. Park in the parking lot on the 5th Street side or on the street. Ring the doorbell at the West Street entrance. Call 302-379-0488 for info. All are welcome! Invite a friend!

Thoughts on brokenness, humanity,and compassion from Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy”

I recently finished Bryan Stevenson’s tremendous new book, “Just Mercy.” It is a powerful study of the inhumanity that continues to plague the criminal justice system in America. It draws you in, then breaks your heart. Toward the end of the book, I found some passages that beautifully articulate the connection between brokenness, humanity, and compassion. These passages resonated with feelings I have often had so I wanted to share:

“We are all broken by something. We have all hurt someone and have been hurt. We all share the condition of brokenness even if our brokenness is not equivalent…The ways in which I have been hurt – and have hurt others – are different from the ways Jimmy Dill [wrongfully sentenced to death and executed] suffered and caused suffering. But our shared brokenness connected us.” (p. 289)

“I guess I’d always known but never fully considered that being broken is what makes us human. We all have our reasons. Sometimes we’re fractured by the choices we make; sometimes we’re shattered by things we would never have chosen. But our brokenness is also the source of our common humanity, the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning, and healing. Our shared vulnerability and imperfection nurtures and sustains our capacity for compassion.” (p. 289)

“We have a choice. We can embrace our humanness, which means embracing our broken natures and the compassion that remains our best hope for healing. Or we can deny our brokenness, forswear compassion, and, as a result, deny our own humanity.” (p. 289)

“I understood that even as we are caught in a web of hurt and brokenness, we’re also in a web of healing and mercy…The power of just mercy is that it belongs to the undeserving. It’s when mercy is least expected that it’s most potent – strong enough to break the cycle of victimization and victimhood, retribution and suffering. It has the power to heal the psychic harm and injuries that lead to aggression and violence, abuse of power, mass incarceration.” (p. 294)

Abolishing the death penalty the greatest gift

The Delaware State News published my opinion piece on how the death penalty is a false promise to victims’ families. “If I had to invent something that would inflict the most pain on victims’ family members, it would be the death penalty…Imagine having to be immersed in the excruciating details of the murder repeatedly for years…During those years, family members’ lives are bound to the killer’s, the person who hurt them and their loved one the most.”
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Bryan Stevenson event on 12/15 in lieu of monthly meeting

Due to our monthly meeting date falling during Christmas week, we encourage attendance instead at this event on Monday, December 15 at the World Cafe Live at the Queen. Delaware’s own Bryan Stevenson, attorney and founder of Equal Justice Initiative, will give a presentation with Q&A, followed by signing of his new book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and redemption. 5-7pm. Free to the public. Please spread the word.

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Law Enforcement Speakers Make Powerful Case for Ending the Death Penalty

We heard very inspiring, powerful words from Police Commissioner George Kain and retired police investigator Terry Dwyer at the DCODP Annual Meeting tonight. Both of them began as death penalty supporters. They realized through research and observation of how the legal system really works, that the death penalty is poor public policy. If you weren’t able to come tonight, you can hear them Tuesday 11/18 at the DE Repeal Town Hall meeting at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Bear, DE. They will be joined by Police Chief James Abbott and retired police officer John Breckinridge, whose partner was murdered in CT.