Say NO to Federal Executions!
(click to play a special message recorded in 2019 from acclaimed author and death penalty abolition activist Sister Helen Prejean)
The Trump Administration has restarted federal executions in a horrifying rush during a pandemic. After a 17 year hiatus, the U.S. Department of Justice has so far scheduled 5 execution dates this summer, with 3 of them having taken place in July. To resume federal executions once again, especially at this rate, is an affront to the progress this country has made in eliminating the death penalty state-by-state and bringing us in-line with international human rights standards.
Currently four more dates are scheduled in 2020: August 26, August 28, September 22 and September 24. And there could be more.
Here is what you can do!
1. Sign the petition - We are currently directing our opposition to the federal death penalty to the U.S. Congress with this petition. Please sign and share widely.
2. If you are with an organization, join the sign-on letter and sponsor the actions - Endorsing organizations are asked to inform their members of this campaign, and to invite their members to sign the petition above and otherwise make use of the resources provided here. Get more information about the sign-on letter and sponsorship levels here.
3. If local to Terre Haute, Indiana, attend the execution vigils - Along with the local group Terre Haute Death Penalty Resistance and other allies, we will be holding a peaceful vigil in Terre Haute, Indiana in advance of, and during, all scheduled executions. Please note that execution times are subject to change and unpredictable delays. Specific details will be announced by August 20th. To receive updates directly on the plans as they develop, join our email list and check the Facebook page.
Please note that due to safety concerns, we are not encouraging people to get on the government provided bus to be shuttled onto the prison property. But for those who wish to do that, the info on that process is here.
4. Join the live-stream vigils before each execution - We will be live broadcasting the Terre Haute vigil starting shortly before any execution appears likely to be taking place. Executions are expected to take place at 4:00 pm (Eastern U.S. Time). Changes and unannounced delays are always possible and unpredictable. Updates will be posted on Facebook and Twitter as available. View the vigils live on Facebook here (Facebook account not needed).
5. If you are in the Washington, DC area on August 28th, join the National Action Network's Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks followed by the federal execution protest at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. Death Penalty Action is a co-sponsor of "WalkTheWalk2020.US," which starts August 20th in Charlottesville, Virginia and will connect to the Commitment March in Washington on August 28th, concluding with the federal execution protest vigil at the Department of Justice during the scheduled 4pm execution that day. WalkTheWalk2020.US and the Commitment March have broader agendas which include stopping state violence, racial justice and reform of the criminal legal system.
6. Plan a solidarity action/vigil where you live - In addition to the prison vigil in Terre Haute, Indiana, people are encouraged to hold vigils and protests outside federal buildings around the country. If you are planning to hold an event in your area, please let us know at email@example.com. Death Penalty Action is providing downloadable signs and banners you can print yourself or at a local sign shop. Get a 4'x10' banner image file here. And here is a sign from Amnesty International to print.
8. Donate to support the work on the ground - Your financial support is needed! Please contribute generously to help cover the costs of planning, organizing and implementing critical federal actions. Online donations (including PayPal) can be made here. You may also send checks or money orders by mail. Make checks payable to "Death Penalty Action" with "Federal Executions" in the memo line and mail to PO Box 89, Ghent, NY 12075.
9. Wear a death penalty abolition t-shirt or face mask - spark a conversation about what is going on with some visibility! Shirts and masks available for ordering on our merch site.
10. Educate yourself about the federal death penalty - The federal death penalty applies in all 50 states and U.S. territories but is used relatively rarely. About 60 prisoners are on the federal death row, most of whom are imprisoned in Terre Haute, Indiana. Until this year, three federal executions have been carried out in the modern era, all by lethal injection, with the previous one occurring in 2003. Learn more about the federal death penalty at deathpenaltyinfo.org.
Photos from the July 2020 protests in Terre Haute, Indiana against the first round of federal executions. All photos by Scott Langley.