Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Impressions from Geneve
by Bill Pelke

I am still in Switzerland and leave in about 5 hours. It has been a very busy week, but a very fruitful one I believe.

I had dinner one night with the Germans, one night with Swiss, one night with murder victims family members so who could ask for anything more. You ask me to say a few words about the World Congress so first I would like to say that to me it was a real inspiration.

Not only am I pumped up and inspired, but it seems it is the same with everyone I have talked too. For the Journey of Hope it was a great success. It is time for the Journey of Hope to truly go international. Great contacts were made and strengthen. The attitude of the European community is wonderful, there are way ahead of the USA I talked with several Europeans who are well established in the Worldwide movement in different areas about the possibility of them becoming Journey board members.

I am excited that we might get some help for the Journey of Hope DVD Step By Step. We need to raise $5000 to the producers can pay off royalties. I think we can do it in Europe. I am also hoping that the next big tour we do will be here in Europe.

I'm excited because I got to spend time with Sister Helen, glad I got to spend a little time with the "Kids against the Death Penalty" and I am glad I got to spend some time with my friend Curtis McCarty and also other exonerees from death row like Ray Krone, Delbert Tibbs and Joachim Martinez. I roomed with Bill Babbitt. Bill is a wonderful man and good friend. We talked into the wee hours of the morning talking about many subjects including his brother Manny' execution. We talked about Paula Cooper, we talked about forgiveness and we talked about the Journey of Hope.

One highlight for me was meeting Jo Berry. What a powerful story of forgiveness. What a lady. To know that a member of the IRA planted the bomb that killed her father and then still to not only forgive but to reconcile and travel and speak with him. Very powerful healing kind of stuff.

It was great joy to see and spend a little time with Sandrine Ageorges. I was so happy she was able to be there. Her husband was supposed to be executed on the opening day of the conference, but thank God there was a stay and she was able to come. Sandrine has done more work from Europe to abolish the death penalty in America and worldwide as I know. Her husband Hank is still alive, but the state of Texas still wants to kill him in about a month.

It was a gigantic thrill at the Congress to meet facebook friends for the first time in person. Kim, Angela, Jasmine, Brunhilda and the list goes on. And of course the master of facebook in abolition, Gilles Denizot. Gilles Denizot is a name that will be well known in the movement in a short time. Gilles was very excited to meet Sister Helen and they both hit it off.

I had an opportunity to talk about the Journey of Hope and my personal story during a workshop. Joachim Martinez told his story of how he was sent to deathrow. Both our stories touched deeply into forgiveness. The next day I saw Sister Helen, walking with Steve Crimaldi and he had been telling her how powerful the session had been.

It was very nice to spend the last evening with the board and staff of the Murder Victims Families for Human Rights. I have been on that board since MVFHR was founded and about one year left to serve. Renny Cushing has taken the lead, inspired by the World Coalition in Montreal in 2004, founding MVFHR and taking it rapidly to a high visibility and force in the movement. It was great to see Renny and meet his daughter for the first time. Seeing Bud Welch in always a wonderful joy, bud is a firm believer in the power of the Journey. Marie, Kate, Susannah, Bob Curley, Toshi, Bill Babbitt, Jeanne Bishop, Priscilla. What a great group of people. And a special thank you to MVFR for providing my lodging, flight and food.

I got to hear some elegant talks, once again from Sister Helen, and others as the Prime Minister of Spain who wants to host the next congress in Spain, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and too many others to name.

I learned some things buy missed some sessions doing networking. The Journey of Hope had great support at the 4th World Congress. I am so glad I went.



The congress would not have been the same without you Bill. Long live the Journey of Hope!

Mourrtii said...

It was a great joy for me to meet you in Geneva. I believe in the power of the Journey of Hope. Together in Heart, Soul and Action we can put an end to the Death Penalty.
Have a safe trip home, Bill
warm greeting from France

Jo Berry said...

Hi Bill
Thanks for your supportive words, and for me a honor and blessing to meet you!
it was a amazing experience to be there with Pat. I am so pleased to be invited.
Journey of Hope is very close to my heart and you have all my support, and if there is ever anything I could do to contribute.
I look forward to have that long chat, hopefully soon!
With deep respect and all my love
Jo xxx

Susanne said...

Hi Jo,

glad to read from you here! :-)

I wanted to talk with you in Geneve but missed you somehow. I did give Pat my business card though so he can pass it on to you. :-)