Like many people around the country, the people of Delaware – especially African Americans – have grown increasingly frustrated with the criminal justice system. Reflection, education, and dialogue have led to an urgency for action, and the state’s death penalty has come to the forefront as the highest priority.
“People in Delaware, especially within the black community, see the death penalty as the highest form of racial injustice,” says Donald Morton, Director of Complexities of Color (CoC). CoC is a coalition of service and advocacy organizations that have come together to improve the conditions of the African American community. Morton and CoC have worked with EJUSA and a number of other organizations to coordinate Town Hall meetings about race and the criminal justice system in each of Delaware’s three counties. Out of the Town Halls has come a commitment to see an end to Delaware’s death penalty.
“More than 70% of our death row is comprised of people who are black or brown,” Morton continued, “and you are much more likely to get a death sentence if you are a black man who kills a white victim.”
Delaware has been on the brink of ending the death penalty for several years. The State Senate passed repeal in early 2015, as well as in 2013, but the legislation has been held up in a House committee.
Morton is a member of an expanded steering committee of the Delaware Repeal Project, which has lead previous efforts for repeal and has mobilized thousands of people in Delaware to call for and end to the death penalty. EJUSA is also on the steering committee, together with representatives from NAACP, ACLU, Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
Join EJUSA, CoC, and the Delaware Repeal Project for one more Town Hall, this time on Twitter!
Tuesday, December 15th
Participate using #RaceJusticeDE.
Next month, focus will again turn to the legislature. Given the deep and growing concerns about racial disparities in the criminal justice system and the discussions throughout the state, the Delaware Repeal Project will call on the legislature to take up a full and fair debate about death penalty repeal.
We will continue to support the campaign and look forward to celebrating a Delaware without the death penalty in 2016!
Photo: Tamika Mallory, credit Strikingly Odd Media.