On Saturday October 10, the World Day Against the Death Penalty, 80 abolitionists from Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Yellow Springs, Youngstown and beyond completed the last 2.5 mile leg of a 7 day 83 mile walk from the Lucasville prison where death row inmates are executed to the Statehouse in Columbus calling for an end to capital punishment. View the ABC report here. Check out photos on Facebook OTSE Report Columbus Dispatch Editorial Questions the Death Penalty and Op Ed piece from Stuart Smith based on his walk experience. On October 2o The Ohio Department of Corrections postponed all the executions scheduled for 2016 until 2017, providing a three year moratorium after the botched execution of Dennis Maguire in January 2014.
The Walk to Stop Executions was exceptionally successful in making our issue the topic of conversation throughout Ohio for over a week. WSYX had this terrific wrap-up, Ohio Public Radio broadcast this, and the Dispatch had this. We had top-of-the-fold front page headlines from Portsmouth to Columbus, including the Portsmouth Daily Times, the Chillicothe Gazette and the Circleville Herald. And that’s not all. See links to additional coverage, our own reports, photos, videos and more on the Walk Facebook page, here.
Twenty seven individuals participated in the walk prior to arrival in Columbus. Abolitionists from seven other states — California, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont — joined for all or part of the journey. Derrick Jamison, Cincinnati, exonerated after spending 20 years on death row, joined for the first five days, representing the 9 wrongly condemned released in Ohio and the more than 150 nationwide. Two journalists from France filmed and reported on the walk. Seven local churches — Catholic, Community of Christ, World Alive, Quakers — provided some meals, kitchen facilities and overnight floor space for walkers with sleeping bags and mats.
At evening programs in Portsmouth, Chillicothe, Circleville and Columbus walkers engaged residents of local communities in conversations about the death penalty. Featured speakers included Terry Collins, former Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, Derrick Jamison, Sam Reese Sheppard and Rev. Jeff Hood.
At the Lucasville prison, the Chillicothe Correctiona Institution death row, and at the Statehouse walkers participated in “For Whom the Bell Tolls” ringing out on behalf of victims of violence. The Associated Press and Ohio Public Radio picked up the story that resulted in front page coverage by four Ohio papers, as well as in San Francisco.
The closing 12 noon rally at Trinity Episcopal Church across from the Capitol featured speakers included Representative Dan Ramos, co-sponsor of bipartisan HB 289 to abolish capital punishment, Jocelyn Travis, Ohio NAACP, David Singleton, Ohio Justice and Policy Center, Jeff Hood, Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death penalty, Murder Victim Family member Sam Reese Sheppard, Arnav Somani, President, Denison University Amnesty International, Maggie Botts, Student, Miami University, Intercommunity Justice & Peace Center, and Howard Tolley, Executive Director, UU Justice Ohio. Well over one hundred shared a meal after the rally.
Planning Committee members from sponsoring organizations: Scioto Peace and Justice, Fellowship of Reconciliation Chair Lorry Swain, Road Manager Eric O’Neil, Treasurer Lee Blackburn, and Kunta Kenyatta, Footprints for Peace Route Planner Jon Blickenstaff and Webmaster Jim Toren, Ohioans to Stop Executions Media Liaison Abe Bonowitz, Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center Hospitality Coordinator Allison Reynolds-Berry, Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio Planning Coordinator Howard Tolley.
DONATE Tax deductible donations are still needed
- so that all participants can walk for seven days without payment of any required fee for expenses such as food, support vehicles, materials, and permits.
- in order to pay expenses for bringing death row survivors and murder victim family members to be spokespersons on the Walk
- for publicity and special event expenses to reach the largest audience