Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Journey of Hope: Montana

Temporary Note: We hope to have a photo for Jennifer and/or other Montana folk here soon--also a little more on the Montana Journey so please keep coming back! (Connie)

Jennifer Kirby is the Coordinator for the Montana Abolition Coalition. She will be the lead organizer for the Montana Journey of Hope. Jennifer is very excited about the Journey coming to Montana and hopeful that the outcome will be abolition of the death penalty in her state. The Journey of Hope...from Violence to Healing is very grateful to Jennifer and MAC for inviting the Journey to Montana. I met Jennifer in San Jose, California during the National Coalition Conference to Abolish the Death Penalty in January. Marietta Jaeger Lane introduced us. Marietta is on the board of directors of MAC and she is also a newly elected board member of the Journey of Hope. Marietta is also one of the five Journey of Hope co-founders.

Jennifer has written the following piece for the Montana Journey. Please feel free to copy it and post it to any list you may have.



From Jennifer...

In 2007, Montana made history when the Montana Senate voted to abolish the death penalty and replace it with life without the possibility of parole. Though the bill failed by a single vote in the House Committee, the success in the legislature showed that we are on the verge of victory. The Montana Abolition Coalition is seizing the opportunity and the momentum to abolish the death penalty in the 2009 legislative session.

The Montana Abolition Coalition is a broad based group of organizations and individuals committed to ending the death penalty in Montana. The Coalition includes faith groups, civil rights organizations, and murder victims’ families groups. The groups differ in their reasons, but all agree on the need to end capital punishment.

The Coalition recognizes the need to bring together murder victim family members, exonerees and death row families and have them share their stories with the public.

So that is why the Coalition has invited Journey of Hope to Montana. We hope the Journey will change minds and help expand the support for abolition. We know that the speakers have the power to win us votes in the legislature. The Coalition has determined a number of legislative districts that are key to winning in the next legislative session. These will be focused on during the Journey by having a number of venues in those districts and arranging for legislators and legislative candidates to attend Journey events. By having the Journey work in the targeted legislative districts, we will build grassroots support for abolition in these key areas. So in the 2009 session, we will have a strong organized group of constituents that will help move legislators to vote their conscience and end capital punishment in our state.

The Journey will take place October 2nd through October 11th, 2008. Events will be held throughout the state in a wide variety of venues.

Montana made national headlines in 2007 with the State Senate’s vote to end capital punishment. Today, abolition is closer than ever. With the help of Journey of Hope, we can have victory in 2009!

Jennifer Kirby
Coordinator, Montana Abolition Coalition

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