Death penalty repeal: if not now, when?

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By Rachel Livingston, Field Organizer at The Delaware Repeal Project

There is a growing call from the Black community throughout the nation for reform of the criminal justice system. We hear the bellowing of the now-famous phrase “Black Lives Matter” because Black and Brown citizens of the world are demanding that they have value and that the world should be outraged by their deaths just as much as the world is outraged at the death of most human beings.

Repeal of the death penalty is another piece of this movement that cannot be divorced from this struggle for Black Lives. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Building Relationships for Human Rights Impact: Amnesty’s Death Penalty Repeal Campaign in Maryland

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Mona was one of the attendees at the Maryland House of Delegates when the legislature voted 82-56 in favor of the death penalty repeal bill (Photo Credit: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images).

Mona was one of the attendees at the Maryland House of Delegates when the legislature voted 82-56 in favor of the death penalty repeal bill (Photo Credit: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images).

By Mona Cadena (AIUSA MARO Field Organizer and WRO Deputy Director, 1999-2009)

This blog series tells the story of Amnesty International’s involvement in Maryland’s historic death penalty repeal campaign, featuring the memories and insights of volunteers and staff who played critical roles over more than three decades.

I first started working against Maryland’s death penalty as a field organizer for Amnesty International USA’s Mid-Atlantic regional office. I was the AIUSA representative for the Maryland Citizens Against State Executions (MDCASE) coalition. At the time we were working on winning a moratorium on executions so the state would have an opportunity to study the impact of the death penalty and ask important questions: was it applied in a racist manner, geographically arbitrary, and/or too expensive?

Between 1999 and 2003, I worked with Amnesty International volunteers who organized around the state, educated the public and contacted their elected officials. I left the Mid-Atlantic for the West and in 2009 had the great pleasure to be the Amnesty International representative on the victorious New Mexico repeal campaign.

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