Saturday, October 09, 2010

Dallas, Home of a Mensch

By texasjourney2010

Leaving Houston, the Journey will head to Dallas, the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. On October 21 at 7:00 PM, Journey of Hope…From Violence to Healing will be featured in the SMU’s Death Penalty Matters Fall 2010 Series at McCord Auditorium, Dallas Hall 306.

There is one person in Dallas I especially look forward to seeing again: Rick Halperin, the Director of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program, and one of our Journey of Hope board members.

Rick Halperin’s website was bookmarked on my computer for a couple of years before I had the chance to meet him in Washington D.C., during the 2010 Fast & Vigil to abolish the death penalty. There, in front of the US Supreme Court, Rick Halperin gave a remarkable speech that made me wish I could move to Dallas to study in his class. In my intervention, on the last day of the event, I paid him homage and said that he was the perfect definition of a Mensch: a person of integrity and honor.

In his own words:

My entire life has been spent defending and advocating the idea that there is no such thing as a lesser person, and that all persons, regardless of whatever they have done, still have and remain worthy of their inherent dignity and must not, for any reason, be tortured or be put to death.

Very recently, Rick Halperin published Why don’t people in Texas talk about the death penalty? in the Dallas News death penalty blog. Again, this article encompasses in an outstanding, yet concise way, everything there is to know and to understand about capital punishment. Specifically that the larger issue surrounding the death penalty is violence in our society.

Rick Halperin has witnessed this state-sanctioned violence in Huntsville and recounts it in the video below. I wonder how many pro-death penalty people have had the courage and the integrity to stand behind the death chamber’s thick glass while a man was being put to death. His testimony is as articulate as the killing of a human being in 1998 was methodical. Death was at 6:23…

SEE THE VIDEO and original post here

SMU’s Embrey Human Rights program presents “Death Penalty Matters,” a fall series of programs that is free and open to the public. Speakers include former Texas prosecutor Sam Millsap, Sister Helen Prejean and selected Texas Journey of Hope members. For more information, visit the website or call 214-768-8347.

Gilles Denizot
Journey of Hope…from Violence to Healing board member & Secretary

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