Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Support the Swim! A Message from Death Row Survivor Freddie Pitts

Dear Advocates for Justice:

My name is Freddie Pitts, and I survived 12 years on Florida's death row for a crime I had nothing to do with. Now, I am Chairman of the Board of Directors at Witness to Innocence, an organization of those exonerated from death row, and you can read my story on our website. My nightmare took place a long time ago, and since then, the list of those exonerated from death row has grown to 138.

I am writing because I am so impressed with what my friend and colleague Lynn Greer is doing to recognize the pain and struggle that each of us death row survivors endured. This Sunday, July 18, Lynn will swim from "The Rock," the old prison at Alcatraz in the San Francisco Bay, to Golden Gate Park in the annual Alcatraz Aquathlon & Swim, a USA Triathlon-sanctioned event. She is using her participation in that event to invite sponsorship in support the organization upon whose board she sits - Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (VADP). I am writing to urge you to become one of Lynn's sponsors.

Lynn's goal? To draw attention to the problem of wrongful death sentences and executions by raising $100 for each of the 138 of us who survived death row. That's $13,800, and at this writing, Lynn is close to 20% of the way towards her goal.

I want to challenge each of you, my Abolitionist friends, to support Lynn's effort today by visiting her FirstGiving page, and making a donation to support VADP. If you think about it, if only 138 people gave $100, we're there! Or, it would take 276 people giving $50. You get the idea. If everyone reading this message gives what they can, Lynn would be so excited she would fly across the water! And she would surpass her goals.

Lynn is braving the freezing cold, choppy waters to raise money for VADP's work, and to increase public attention to wrongful convictions and executions. She's doing the hard part. My fellow members of Witness to Innocence and I have lived the harder part by surviving the horrors of life on death row, facing execution for crimes we did not commit. I am asking you to do the easy part - today.

Please go to and give as much as you can. Every dollar you give and every stroke Lynn swims gets us closer to abolition. Thank you for supporting Lynn's effort. It warms my heart.

Yours for Abolition,

Freddie Lee Pitts
Witness to Innocence

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