New resource: Fact sheet on Latinos and the death penalty

Latinos and the Death PenaltyLatinos are disproportionately affected by the criminal justice and face a higher risk of wrongful conviction than their white counterparts. Increasingly, Latinos in the United States are skeptical of the death penalty, and community leaders and national organizations are calling for its end.

We are excited to publish a new resource with detailed information about Latinos and the death penalty. The resource is available in both English and Spanish and can be found on our learn pages. You can also download a formatted version (in Spanish too!) to hand out at your next death penalty discussion or while you’re tabiling.

Recommended this week

“Recommended this week” features highlights from the past week in news about the death penalty, crime survivors, and trauma-informed responses to crime.

Execution drop makes some think death penalty is fading awayAssociated Press
The end is near. Executions are on track to hit a 25-year low in 2016.

Colorado Rep Don Pabon on John Fugelsang’s ‘Tell Me Everything’, Sirius XM via YouTube
The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) recently passed a resolution in favor of repealing the death penalty. With the help of Equal Justice USA, they studied the issue and came to the conclusion that the system is broken beyond repair and must be ended. Colorado State Representative Dan Pabon joins John Fugelsang on Sirius XM’s “Tell Me Everything” to talk about the resolution and NHCSL’s commitment to ending the death penalty in the U.S.

Meet The Ex-Gang Members From Chicago, Baltimore Trying to Keep Blood Off The StreetsThe Real News on YouTube
A video primer on the Cure Violence model to prevent harm and treat violence like a public health epidemic.
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Latino lawmakers take stand against death penalty

NHCSL LogoThe National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) met last month as part of the annual conference of the National Conference of State Legislators. One of the items on their agenda was a resolution calling for an end to the death penalty. Though they had originally planned to take up the measure at their meeting in December, they agreed that it was past time to take a stand on the “civil rights issue of our time,” as one member put it.

The resolution was overwhelmingly approved with bipartisan support. “After carefully reviewing the clear evidence of anti-Latino bias in the application of the death penalty, the high costs of death row to tax payers, and the ineffectiveness of capital punishment in reducing crime,” the NHCSL said in a statement, “Latino lawmakers called on Congress, and all states and localities to immediately repeal the death penalty.”

EJUSA has been working with members of the NHCSL as they considered the resolution. In her press statement, the lead sponsor urged her colleagues to work with us for nationwide repeal.

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Recommended this week

“Recommended this week” features highlights from the past week in news about the death penalty, crime survivors, and trauma-informed responses to crime.

Evangelical Leaders Call for Halt to Texas Execution Demand New Sentencing Hearing for Jeff WoodThe Gospel Herald
Evangelical Leaders Call for Halt to Texas ExecutionEvangelicals for Social Action
Evangelicals urge halt to Texas executionBaptist News Global
Evangelical leaders: Texas has ‘moral obligation’ to stop execution of death row prisoner, Christian Today
Several stories about the almost 50 Evangelical pastors who called on Texas Governor Greg Abbot and the Board of Paroles and Pardons to commute the death sentence of Jeffrey Wood. Wood is scheduled to be executed on August 23, even though he never killed anyone, had no previous criminal history, and suffers from borderline intellectual functioning and mental illness. Although Wood was involved in a robbery, he didn’t plan to kill anyone and wasn’t even inside the gas station when the victim, Kris Keeran, was shot. He was sitting in a truck outside.

Even violent crime victims say our prisons are making crime worseThe Washington Post
According to a new  report from the Alliance for Safety & Justice,“A majority of crime victims prefer investments in treatment & prevention over prison spending.” The report, “Crime Survivors Speak,” includes the first national survey of crime victims’ views on safety and justice policy. It reveals their preference for prevention, health, and rehabilitation over more spending on prisons and jails. Continue Reading →

Recommended this week

“Recommended this week” features highlights from the past week in news about the death penalty, crime survivors, and trauma-informed responses to crime.

Supreme Court To Hear Cases Challenging Two Texas Death SentencesBuzzfeed
The high court agrees to hear the death penalty cases of Duane Buck and Bobby James Moore.

After nearly 40 years, murder charges dropped against Kerry Max Cook in East Texas caseThe Dallas Morning News
Kerry Max Cook spent 20 years on death row. This week the murder charges against him were dropped. One of the subjects of “The Exonerated” is finally exonerated.
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Leading Latino Coalition Calls for End of the Death Penalty in U.S.

Group’s landmark policy agenda addresses criminal justice for the first time

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of 40 prominent Latino organizations, has called for repeal of the death penalty. Collectively, the NHLA leads advocacy behind pressing civil rights and policy issues impacting the 58-million Latinos living in the U.S.

The NHLA Public Policy Agenda is issued only once every four years. This year it includes criminal justice reforms for the first time, as national scrutiny grows over race, the death penalty, and mass incarceration.

“Latinos are a growing part of the national trend away from the death penalty because they are directly affected by its injustices,” said Shari Silberstein, Executive Director of EJUSA, a national organization that launched a dialog with Latinos about the death penalty in 2012.

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Video from National Latino Evangelical Coalition Press Conference

Today the National Latino Evangelical Coalition voted unanimously to support an end to the death penalty. EJUSA’s Heather Beaudoin joined NaLEC’s President, Rev. Gabriel Salguero and other Latino Evangelical leaders for a press conference in Orlando, FL to announce the news.

Below are videos from that event.

In English:


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Major Evangelical Group Calls for Death Penalty Repeal

NALEC press conference

The National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) became the first national association of Evangelical congregations to join the effort to repeal the death penalty. NaLEC’s board of directors voted unanimously for the resolution and is urging its 3,000 member congregations to support efforts to end capital punishment across the country.

The President of NaLEC, Rev. Gabriel Salguero, said, “As Christ followers, we are called to work toward justice for all. And as Latinos, we know too well that justice is not always even-handed. The death penalty is plagued by racial and economic disparities and risks executing an innocent person. Human beings are fallible and there is no room for fallibility in matters of life and death.”

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National Latino Evangelical Coalition calls for a closer look at the death penalty

The National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC), a coalition of over 3,000 Hispanic evangelical churches, released a call yesterday for “Hispanic evangelical leaders to closely examine their stance on capital punishment and mass incarceration.”

President of NaLEC, Rev. Gabriel Salguero, says that the death penalty is “too broken to ensure that innocent persons are not executed.” He also sees how the system can “disproportionately and negatively impact people based on race, color and economics.”

EJUSA has been working together with NaLEC to sponsor more national conversations on the death penalty amongst Latino and faith communities. Last year, Rev. Salguero, joined 27 prominent evangelicals and Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty in raising concern around fair sentencing hearings in a capital punishment case in Texas.

Continue Reading →