Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty (CCATDP), a project of EJUSA, crisscrossed the country in April. CCATDP’s National Coordinator Marc Hyden made trips to Tennessee and Utah, while I traveled to Orlando for the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) Florida State Convention and then to Philadelphia for the Life/Peace/Justice Conference. Our participation in these conferences reflects the interest in CCATDP across a variety of different constituencies, including libertarian and pro-life groups.
YAL is one of the fastest-growing student groups in the U.S., with over 700 chapters. It has established itself as the premier libertarian organization on college campuses. CCATDP joined YAL as a strategic partner in 2013 and is privileged to have YAL’s founder Jeff Frazee as one of our supporters. Partnering with YAL has proven extremely valuable for CCATDP’s outreach efforts, and this year’s Florida YAL Convention was no exception. As CCATDP increases our work in Florida – one of last remaining bastions for the active use of death penalty in the U.S. – the Florida YAL Convention provided an opportunity to discuss the problems plaguing the state’s death penalty with students eager to learn more on the subject.
The Life/Peace/Justice Conference, sponsored by Life Matters Journal, is a gathering focused on a view embraced by the Catholic Church and other groups known as a consistent life ethic. This perspective calls for life to be protected at all stages and to end practices that unnecessarily threaten it, such as the death penalty. CCATDP exhibited, and I led two workshops at the conference: the first on the conservative case for ending the death penalty and the second on the current state of efforts nationwide against the death penalty. At each workshop, there were many questions and interest from attendees in getting involved in work against the death penalty in their states.
Leaders of the local anti-death penalty group joined me to speak with attendees about their work in Florida and Pennsylvania. Mark Elliot, the Executive Director of Floridians for Alternatives for the Death Penalty, and Kathleen Lucas (pictured, with me), the Executive Director of Pennsylvanians for Alternatives for the Death Penalty, provided tremendous help tabling and were able to directly connect with potential volunteers in their states.