Death Penalty Opponents Stage Rally in Solidarity with US Supreme Court Vigil

Abolitionists call for end to state executions

Oklahoma Death Penalty Abolition Solidarity Rally
Saturday, July 2, 10:30 am – Noon
Oklahoma State Capitol, South Plaza

A number of groups opposing the death penalty are hosting a Oklahoma Death Penalty Abolition Solidarity Rally on July 2, to mark the anniversaries of two Supreme Court decisions affecting the use of the death penalty in the United States, and to advocate for the state and nation to end the practice. The event, which will take place simultaneously with an action at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, will be held at the Capitol’s South Plaza. Gathering and music will begin at 10:30 AM, with the program starting at 11:00 AM. The keynote speech will be by Sara Bana of The Ending Violence Everywhere Coalition. Other speakers will include former State Senator Connie Johnson, the Rev. Don Heath, and Rex Friend on behalf of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches. Rena Guay of Amnesty OKC will emcee.

All who share a desire to end state-sponsored killing are welcome to attend. Information about State Question 776, which will be on the ballot in November and, if passed, insert the death penalty into the state constitution.

“Mark Hendrickson, who represents death row inmates, was quoted in the paper saying that Oklahoma is at a ‘critical phase’ with the death penalty,” said rally organizer Rena Guay, who is the State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator for Amnesty USA. “I believe he is being quite kind in that assessment! With the past couple of years featuring botched executions. the wrong drugs, a scathing grand jury report pummeling just about everyone involved in the process, and a pending report from the special committee being led by former Gov. Brad Henry, which won’t be out before the election, there is no more room for making needless, reckless, expensive decisions like inserting the death penalty into the state Constitution.”

“So we are rallying to say to Governor Fallin, put a permanent moratorium in place, and, to the people of Oklahoma, vote NO on 776.”

Co-sponsors of the rally include Amnesty OKC, the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the Ending Violence Everywhere Coalition, Restoring Justice Oklahoma and the Center for Conscience in Action.

This year marks the 44th anniversary of the Furman v. Georgia decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated all death penalty laws in the United States, finding capital punishment to be applied in an arbitrary and capricious manner. July 2nd marks the 40th anniversary of the 1976 Gregg decision, which upheld new state death penalty laws and allowing the resumption of executions.

The action at the US Supreme Court is in its 23rd year.

Program (to date)

Emcee: Rena Guay, Amnesty OKC, Amnesty USA SDPAC
Music: Jonathan Marshall

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Sara Bana, representing Ending Violence Everywhere Coalition (Keynote)
  • Rex Friend, OKC Religious Society of Friends, representing Oklahoma Conference of Churches
  • Rev. Don Heath, representing Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
  • Former State Senator Connie Johnson, representing the Think Twice OK (No on SQ 776) campaign
  • Pastor Zach Gleason, Joy Mennonite Church, representing Restoring Justice Oklahoma

Invited:
Rev. Jesse Jackson, East 6th Street Christian Church, representing Occupy the Corners
Former State Rep. Ryan Kiesel, representing ACLU

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1559748414327130/