Celebrating the Illinois Moratorium

By: Noreen McNulty

January 31 marks the first anniversary of the Illinois moratorium on executions ordered by Republican Gov. George Ryan. The Illinois moratorium is a sign of growing opposition to the death penalty in the United States. Support for a national moratorium has mushroomed to 64 percent in public opinion polls. Cities and townships across the country have passed moratorium resolutions, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

To commemorate the anniversary of the Illinois moratorium and build the fight for total abolition, the Campaign to End the Death Penalty has events planned in Chicago and Austin, Texas. In Chicago, Rev. Jesse Jackson will address an indoor rally, along with Larry Marshall of the Center for Wrongful Convictions; Ronald Jones, an exonerated Illinois death row prisoner; family members of current death row inmates; Christopher Bullock from the NAACP; and Alice Kim from the CEDP. In Austin, there will be a speak-out and press conference about introducing a moratorium bill in Texas.

In the last year, death penalty opponents have won much-but there's still a long way to go. Moratorium now, abolition next!