Local and national civil rights and racial justice leaders signed a letter to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, calling on him to halt the series of executions scheduled in the coming weeks. EJUSA Campaign Strategist Mona Cadena was on hand at the Capitol to deliver the letter (left), which outlined the concerns the group has with the death penalty’s racial bias and its disproportionate effect on communities of color.
“Racial bias in the criminal justice system, including the death penalty and its application, is undisputed,” the letter says. “From slavery to Jim Crow to the present day, the death penalty has long been a tool of injustice and discrimination in the USA and the State of Arkansas.”
The letter comes just 4 days before the first of 7 executions scheduled in 10 days. (One of the original “8in10” has been postponed.)
“When faith leaders, civil society, the private sector, and citizens of conscience unite behind a just cause, elected leaders should listen. The death penalty has a documented history of being applied arbitrarily, based on racial and ethnic bias, and too often used against the innocent. State-sponsored executions should not happen next week in Arkansas or ever again across our great country,” said State Representative, Ángel Cruz (PA), President of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, in a separate statement. “Latino legislators reiterate our call for an immediate and permanent ban on the death penalty, at the state and federal levels, to prevent the type of irreversible injustice that is the death penalty. We also stand firm behind our belief that the government should devote its scarce resources to prevention and rehabilitation, where taxpayers’ dollars will be more effective.”
Read the full letter: