The National Convention of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty

By: Noreen McNulty

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty will hold its third annual national convention in Chicago on the weekend of November 8-9. We hope you will join activists from across the country for a weekend of lively panel discussions and workshops. We aim to bring together both people who are new to the abolitionist movement, as well as more seasoned activists.

This year, the convention will hear from two Death Row 10 members -- Madison Hobley and Leroy Orange, who were pardoned last year by former Illinois Gov. George Ryan. We will also hear from veterans of the movement, like Shujaa Graham, the former Black Panther and exonerated California death row prisoner, and Darby Tillis, another former Illinois death row prisoner who was exonerated and freed. We will also hear from family members of those on death row--how they cope, how they fight and how the death penalty affects them.

We are also proud to feature Clive Stafford Smith, director of the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center, who will speak during the session on "Race, Class and the Case of Ryan Matthews." Plus Northwestern University's Rob Warden, executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, will also join us for a panel discussion titled "Inside the Police Interrogation Room."

Each session and workshop will be followed by a discussion for convention attendees to participate in. In addition to these discussions, we will have sessions on Campaign business. And keep in mind the convention's Saturday night dinner, which will be a great way to meet and chat with others in an informal setting.

"I have to tell you--it reminded me of the 1960s. I just couldn't believe the amount of energy in that room and all of the people who had come from all across the country to attend. I had no idea it was going to be so good. I was overwhelmed. It's like when you are invited to dinner, but you don't expect a feast."
--Ethel Robinson, anti-death penalty activist from Chicago

Session topics and featured events at this year's convention include:

  • Where We Are and Where We're Headed
  • False Confessions: Inside the Police Interrogation Room
  • Paving the Road Ahead
  • Race, Class and the Ryan Matthews Case
  • Sharing Chapter Experiences
  • Mothers, Daughters and Sisters of Those on Death Row Speak Out
  • Tribute to Costella Cannon
  • Live Call from Prison from Death Row 10 Member Stanley Howard