Help us reach our goal of 150 monthly sustainers

By: Rebecca Kurti

One hundred and two of you are members of the CEDP's monthly sustainers program. This means that every month you've designated a certain charge to your credit card to go the CEDP. And each month, we use those funds to keep the CEDP going: our phone, our rent, our one staffer, our mailings.

At our convention this year, delegates voted that we go should on a campaign to raise our monthly sustainers to 150 by our November convention in 2009. That means we need to grow by 48 new members. You can help us reach that goal by signing up if you're not already a member.

Some contribute $25 a month, some $5. We appreciate every donor. For more information, contact our new Monthly Sustainer Coordinator Rebecca Kurti at

A very small sacrifice

Derrel Myers lost his only son Jo Jo to gun violence in 1996. He has been unflinchingly against the death penalty and always emphasizes the importance of building a world without violence. For the past three years, Derrel has been an active member of the CEDP chapter in the Bay Area, as well as a CEDP Board member.

Derrel spoke movingly at the evening "Live from Death Row" panel that was held at convention about the need to boost our monthly sustainers program. Here is an excerpt of his remarks:

I'm always so humbled to speak with these wonderful human beings. I'm always so moved when I hear these voices and see these beautiful faces, it makes it difficult to speak. The first time I spoke at a "Live From Death Row," we heard Kevin Cooper, and I could barely speak, I was just so embarrassed and so moved.

That was the first time I'd heard a voice directly from death row. And it was such a beautiful voice--such a brilliant clear call for justice. And not just for justice for himself, but justice for everyone.

I joined the Campaign to End the Death Penalty about three years ago, even though I spoke publicly for it before. I felt it was important to become a member of the Campaign--important for me to not just be a speaker against an injustice, but to work for justice.

A week ago yesterday was my first visit to death row--after working against capital punishment for over ten years.

And I'm just so honored having been in the Campaign to develop that kind of courage, because of what many of you who are here are doing. And I just want to say that we need help. The Campaign needs help. We need money to bring these voices to you, to bring these beautiful faces to you, to bring these families together, which becomes a bigger family.

I lost my son, and I know how families feel when they are confronted with losing someone--even if they are still living, but they've lost them to incarceration. My family, too, was destroyed in very important ways. But it's together again now, in part because of the work we've all committed ourselves to.

In our family, we decided we would fight back against the injustices that create the violence--the injustices that create the kind of people who will kill other people. And I'm very proud to see that most of the folks in Jo Jo's family are now fighting back against capital punishment.

We heard Mumia's voice almost 15 years ago on KPFA radio. And we bought the tapes and put them in Jo Jo's Christmas stocking. He loved what Mumia had to say, and he shared that with his friends. And at Jo Jo's memorial, we told them about Mumia Abu-Jamal. We said, "We're telling you this because we want to honor Jo Jo's life. You can do the work that he was doing to save Mumia's life." Jo Jo's friends raised $20,000 over a few years to save Mumia Abu-Jamal's life.

I'm telling you that not to boast, but to tell you how important money is. Because I believe that even after his death, my son helped keep Mumia alive.

So I'm asking you tonight to help us. It takes money to bring these people together--to shine a light on these prison cells. When you hear Mumia, as you heard tonight, and you hear Troy Davis' sister, as you heard tonight, you hear what humanity is being wasted and is being deprived and is being segregated from us.

I hesitate to say this, but I think I will. I have a pledge of $25 a month. It's a small amount of work for me to earn that money. It's a very small sacrifice on my part. And tonight, I am going to increase that pledge to $100 per month. And I want to ask you to think about that. I can earn that in four hours, and I ask: Is that too much to ask to give to continue the struggle? Would you give half a day to save the life of Mumia? Would you give half a day to save the life of Troy Davis?

So sign up to be a monthly sustainer and buy some justice! Thank you!