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EJUSA Newsline

Finding common ground

Cherrell presents at GULDWhat role do the survivors of crime play in the discussion around criminal justice reform?

That’s the question that EJUSA sought to answer last week during a workshop entitled “Toward a New Paradigm: Victims’ Advocacy in the Criminal Justice Reform Conversation” at The New School in New York City. The conference – Growing Up Locked Down (GULD) – brought together criminal justice reform advocates and juvenile justice experts in discussions around the over-incarceration of youth.

A brand new audience mobilizes for action

Shane, Billy, and Heather“I’m sure that God meant for me to be here,” the seminary student told EJUSA National Organizer Heather Beaudoin (pictured, right). Heather had just finished a presentation on the death penalty at last week’s Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) conference when the student approached her. His mother had been raped and murdered when he was just 11 years old. He’d always supported the death penalty, and he wasn’t planning to come to the EJUSA’s workshop. But he told Heather that just being there helped him release some of his bitterness and anger and opened up a new avenue to finding peace.

The workshop featured Heather along with Billy Moore (pictured, center), a man who spent time on death row before reconciling with the victim’s family. Billy was ultimately released and became an evangelical pastor. His incredible story of redemption touched many others in the room as well. Some were moved to tears. Others stood to share their own experiences with violence, forgiveness, and redemption.

Kansas is getting ready for repeal

Crowd at Benedictine CollegeOklahoma death row exoneree Curtis McCarty is crisscrossing the state of Kansas this week to share his story about how the death penalty risks executing an innocent person. He kicked off the week on Monday night, joining EJUSA’s Ben Jones at Benedictine College for an event sponsored by the Benedictine College Republicans and Ravens Respect Life.

“The room was packed, with standing room only,” said Ben about the event. “The students had lots of questions and many came up to sign postcards for repeal afterwards. The message that the death penalty is broken and makes too many mistakes is resonating across the political spectrum, especially with young people.”

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