Getting Ready To "Dog" Governor Davis

By: John Green

With the inspirational victories in Illinois and Maryland, activists in California are working towards a similar moratorium on executions.

Abolitionists plan to raise the death penalty as an election-year issue--in the state with the largest death row in the nation--by hounding the reelection campaign of Governor Gray Davis. Aptly named "Dog Davis," we hope the effort will raise the level of awareness about the racism and class bias of the death penalty.

Davis, a Democrat, has repeatedly expressed his support for capital punishment. He oversees the largest death row in the country--more than 600 men and women are held there. This is a significant chunk of the more than 3,700 condemned prisoners nationwide. In California, nearly 60 percent of death row inmates are minorities. Disgustingly, 275 have spent a decade or longer at San Quentin State Prison, languishing in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.

Following increasingly successful pickets outside the District Attorney’s office in Oakland (in the county which produced the third-most inmates on death row), similar actions are planned to raise awareness about the racism of state-sponsored murder.

In the coming months, the media will give more and more attention to the gubernatorial campaign. We plan to "dog" Davis in as many places as we can as he makes his way across the state drumming up votes for Election Day.

Davis has a fellow death penalty advocate in his ultraconservative Republican challenger. Our position is: None of the above. However, the Green Party’s candidate, Peter Camejo, has called for a moratorium on executions.

The Oakland chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty has regular meetings. To get involved, please call (510) 985-2805.