EJUSA Executive Director Shari Silberstein and EJUSA’s longtime friend and partner, Jonathan Gradess, are featured in the Winter 2014 issue of the Government, Law and Policy Journal from the New York State Bar Association. Jonathan is the former Board Chair of New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and now sits on EJUSA’s Board of Directors.
Shari and Jonathan’s article, “Pumping Oxygen into the Room,” shares the story of how New York became the first state in the modern era to abandon the death penalty and what New York’s abolition meant for the movement to end the death penalty in the United States.
New York’s elimination of the death penalty sparked a new vision for abolition entirely: more than the absence of the death penalty, it was also the presence of a new paradigm driven by those solutions that were previously stymied by the death penalty’s disproportionate pull of money, attention, time, and polarization, such as adequate victims’ services and effective crime prevention. This idea became a rallying cry for not only NYADP, but also for its national partner, Equal Justice USA (EJUSA), and abolition groups in other states.