Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tell us More, Bill!

I'm behind, Bill, & would love to know more on your speaking tours & events? Maybe Randy or Esther or somebody else has heard more? If so, let me know... And, by the way, FB has some new ones out from Angela (just 3 hours ago) and another a short wile back from Charity. Ms. Kearns also keeps 'em coming. Great consistent work, Journey family! Bill, plz call me Tuesday if possible?


From: Bill Pelke or if you get this on The JOurney blog, my might want to GO to FB to see comments, more links maybe?

Journey of Hope with Bill Pelke in Roanoke | Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty
Bill Pelke told the story last week of the brutal killing of his sweet, white haired grandmother and how her death made a life change for him...
Like · Comment · February 22 at 9:34pm · .Randy Gardner and Esther Brown like this..

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Father Forgives Murderer of Daughter -- Desmond Tutu and others on Forgiveness

photo found at (onbeing listener/reader from Tennessee)

From the producer Shubha Bala: In response to last week’s show, Hector Black pointed us to this StoryCorps interview. The listener from Tennessee tells the story of his daughter being murdered in her home and his process of seeking vengeance and granting forgiveness:

“I’d never been in favor of the death penalty, but, I wanted that man to hurt — the way that he had hurt her. I wanted him to hurt the way I was hurting. But after a while I wanted to know who it was…”

The father narrates the events in detail — from the murder of his daughter to the process of wanting revenge, and ultimately to granting forgiveness. The heinousness of the crime makes me think of Desmond Tutu speaking about forgiveness during the South African truth and reconciliation process. He said you would think there are things that are unforgivable, like the horrendous violence of apartheid. And yet, he says, they saw many people who ought to have been bristling with bitterness and anger but actually embraced their perpetrators when they met face-to-face.

In some small way, it’s a good lesson reminding me that it should take much less mental work to forgive the person that steals your parking spot or cuts in front of you in line.

To hear this short interview GO here for 24-25 February 2012 -- look for Desmond Tutu and the God of Surprises -- then see the full story which includes other episodes.

You may find a bit more on this much earlier story at StoryCorps NPR Features Story of a Father Who Forgave His Daughter or GO here

Be sure to hear the Bishop Desmond Tutu interview as well. Desmond Tutu, South African archbishop emeritus and Nobel laureate, spends intimate time and joyous conversation with Krista Tippett and the radio/podcast audiences.

Desmond Tutu says here that despite all the evil and suffering in the world, human beings are "remarkable things" who are "made for goodness." On Being with Krista Tippett explores how his understanding of God and humanity has unfolded through the history he's helped shaped.

Blogger's note: Just this AM Saturday, 25 February 2012 I was re-reading Bishop Tutu's remarks in the classic book on forgiveness (stories and dialogues) "The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness" help demonstrate his eloquence, compassion for fellow writers' various perspectives and his deep indomitable heart. Here are some excerpts from that brief page and a half by the Bishop:

"There is another side (to the cruelty)--the story of the victims, the survivors who werre made to suffer so grievously, yet despite this are ready to forgive. This magnanimity, this nobility of spirit, is quite breathtakingly unbelievable. I have often felt I should say, 'Let us take off our shoes," because at this moment we were standing on holy ground."


"It is clear that if we look only to retributive justice, then we could just as well close up shop. Forgiveness is not some nebulous thing...Without forgiveness, there is no future."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rais Bhuiyan's Mission for a World Without Hate

Rais Bhiuyan (An American citizen who survived a confused attacker's 39 pellets, lost use of one eye and turned the man who might have been called his enemy into his friend.)

For much more see World Without Hate website here

"You have brought a wonderful opportunity for dialogue. This could very well open the door to people of all faiths, nationalities, and colors to communicate."
- S.Chambers, Canada (In support of the movement: World Without Hate)

Very Short Plea for an end to hate by Rais Bhuiyan here

Plz see this newly-uploaded YouTube Video and Presentation IANT Winter Conf-6-Rais Bhuiyan - Peace & Forgiveness here

Also see a blogpost by Reprieve member Tineke Harris here

More Comments from (World Without Hate) Supporter:

"It’s amazing, not only do I have…friends fighting to stop this but I have a lot of the Islamic community joining forces…this is bigger than me or Rais…. BUT it starts with Rais’ forgiveness…and I see this as a chance to join a lot of people from many walks of life together…to be able to Stop the Hate."
- Mark Stroman

"Your actions reflect on you as a good human being and on the ability of Islam. You are a credit to the capacity to do good. "
- A. Scheinman

"Faith demands much, but when it is real it rewards us with peace."
- L. Rivas

"And I should say that I respect you immensely for what you have done, and no doubt for what you will do. It seems strange to me that, when virtually every mother in the world teaches us compassion, so many of our mothers' children end up being taught by the government that they should cry for revenge".
- Clive Stafford Smith Director, Reprieve, UK

"We are a praying people and an action-oriented people, and our clergy have been so very moved by your leadership, depth, piety and vision. It would be the honor and pride of All Saints to have you teach to us"
- Rev. Carissa Baldwin, All Saints Church, CA, USA

"Your story brought me to tears. I am encouraged by your spirit of forgiveness and patience - and to hear there really are people in this troubled world capable of such bountiful love. Thank you for the work you do - raising awareness can be a tough slog - blessings to you and your companions"!
- Janet Leeder, Calgary, Canada

"Thank you for the way you show the world your compassion. It is so wonderful and powerful to feel it. You are a great model for me and very inspiring".
- Peter Waalkens, Neitherlands

"I am a college student studying international relations and religion at American University. I have become so moved by your story. You have demonstrated a rare kind of compassion and strength. Through this website and your interviews, people can hear your story and realize the importance of tolerance and forgiveness. My life has been changed by reading your story".
- Emily Fleitz,Ohio, USA

"Your response to a horrific situation is so inspiring. Know that you are an excellent example to millions of people".
- Kevin Michelson, Tennesy, USA

"You are the kind of person this world needs more of. I am not a spiritual believer but I do what is good in my heart and it is people like yourself that inspire me to treat my fellow man greater than I expect to be treated".
- Mathias Jonsson, Sweden

"I am humbled by your capacity to forgive... I haven’t come across many people who can forgive that way. Your attacker is an easy man to hate and yet you were able to let go of that and even fight for him to keep his life. The world needs more people like you and the few minutes I took to read the article on CNN truly would provide me with a lifetime of enlightenment".
- Katrina Matias, Philippines.

"A world without hate is the world I dream of." - R. Neal, England

Journey Links for Updates

FB Wall: where Debbie Kearns keeps current connections going & stays on top of many concerns. Also folk sometimes stop by for a comment or extra note - go here (OK to simply read/copy paste/ as a non-member without fearing pressure to sign-on.)

Where Bill Pelke has been offering an occasional heartfelt diary entry and plans to add more soon here

A good page for more links with great photo of "the other Bill" and the kids. GO

RANDY's page with video and his mission site here

CHARITY's The Ella Foundation see this amazing story of healing and mission in progress. Go here

Find ANGELA's links in various posts much earlier, just below Aba Gayle's & in Comments here and on FB -- SEE ALSO Bill's comments on his diary during the time of his trip to Uganda.

Be sure to also peruse the links offered to the lower right of our blog posts - especially Dr. Rich Halperin's "Death Penalty News and Updates" which (if he's not traveling) are often daily - much more available and noted most of the time than on most the other links.

Again remember the JOURNEY's FaceBook page (don't have to be a member of FB nor even to sign in to READ) Simply GO here

Find an older page of links and GREAT photo of "the other Bill" here

Also FIND items on a new friend's campaign World Without who worked extensively with Dr. Rick Halperin, another Journey friend, and with Reprieve in US and Dallas. Rais "calling" is all about our Journey theme of FORGIVENESS...

Be sure to check in often with the links provided in lower right page of this site...
Especially OFTEN to Dr. Rick Halperin's Death Penalty News and Updates.

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Love is Just a Matter of Practice"

Can we make this LOVE DAY one of compassion and forgiveness, a love day for all?...

See more at World Without Hate here and here

*** See the full post about Rais speaking with High School Students here

From Rumi: Mature yourself and be secure from a change for the worse. Become the light. Only from the HEART Can you touch the sky.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

NC Racial Justice Act (RJA) is getting attention worldwide

Here's one of the latest -- Published: 01:51 AM, Wed Feb 08, 2012
by Fayetteville Observer

Ruling blocks judge's answer in Racial Justice Act hearing

Paul Woolverton of Retired Superior Court Judge E. Lynn Johnson, who presided over the 1994 trial of Racial Justice Act claimant Marcus Reymond Robinson, testified Tuesday afternoon at Robinson's Racial Justice Act hearing at the Cumberland County Courthouse.

Staff writer
Retired Superior Court Judge E. Lynn Johnson, who presided over Marcus Reymond Robinson's 1994 murder trial, was repeatedly blocked on Tuesday afternoon at Robinson's Racial Justice Act hearing from testifying on whether he observed racism in the trial.

In a related issue, lawyers for the news media on Tuesday morning argued successfully to prevent the courtroom from being closed to the public during Johnson's testimony.

Robinson's is the first racism claim to be considered before a judge under the controversial Racial Justice Act of 2009, a law that provides death row inmates a mechanism to have their sentences converted to life without parole. His case is expected to set precedent on how more than 150 other Racial Justice Act claims will be handled.

Robinson, who is black, was convicted of killing Erik Tornblom, who is white, during a 1991 robbery. He asserts that prosecutor John Dickson illegally prevented black potential jurors from serving on his jury, which had nine whites, two blacks and one American Indian.

Further, Robinson's lawyers have a study of 173 of North Carolina's capital trials that suggests a pattern of racial discrimination against blacks in the selection of jurors throughout the state.

Prosecutors Cal Colyer and Rob Thompson argued that Johnson was in a key position to say whether there was racism in the selection of the Robinson jury. They contend Dickson had legitimate, nonracial reasons when he used peremptory challenges to dismiss some jurors who happened to be black, and wanted Johnson to say so.

"Sir, based upon your observations as the trial judge, was race a significant factor in the state's peremptory strikes against black jurors in the case of the state of North Carolina vs. Marcus Robinson?" Colyer asked Johnson.

Robinson's lawyers objected to the question; Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Greg Weeks sustained the objection. Colyer then objected and announced he took exception to the ruling, and Weeks noted it for the record.

The lawyers and judge repeated the litany dozens of times through the afternoon on various details of Robinson's and another capital murder trial.

Robinson lawyers Malcolm "Tye" Hunter and James Ferguson II didn't want Johnson on the stand in the first place. Citing law on judges' conduct, rules for conducting court and prior court rulings, they said neither Johnson nor approximately six other judges who have been subpoenaed should be allowed to testify.

Judges are normally precluded from publicly discussing their decision-making and opinions outside of the proceedings they preside over, Hunter argued. And he said the trial transcripts and other court documents serve as the official record of what happened, not any statement that a judge might make now.

They suggested that Weeks could take written statements on the judges' thoughts and seal them or allow their testimony, but close the courtroom to the public. This would allow Colyer and Thompson to get the judges' testimony into the record for review by an appeals court even if Weeks determined it would be inappropriate to consider their testimony when deciding whether their was racism in the Robinson murder trial.

Thompson initially opposed the idea of secret testimony, but Colyer later reluctantly agreed to it.

Reporters for The Fayetteville Observer and WTVD ABC11 objected to the proposal to close the courtroom to the public and summoned their lawyers.

"There are very few issues currently in this state that are in greater interest, that there is greater interest, and greater public interest and you hear greater comment on and discussion, than the Racial Justice Act," said lawyer Gerald Beaver for The Fayetteville Observer. He noted that the General Assembly recently attempted to repeal it and was blocked by the governor's veto. "It is a matter of vital public interest," Beaver said.

The issue is of extraordinarily high public concern, argued lawyer Amanda Martin for WTVD. At question is not only the Robinson case, "but the very integrity of the North Carolina judicial system and the way our courts operate," she said, so it is necessary for the public to know the judges' testimony.

Weeks decided to hear the judges' testimony, allow Robinson's lawyers to object to many of the questions, and to allow the prosecutors to later submit written copies of the judges' answers to the blocked questions. Those written answers will be part of the public record.

Staff writer Paul Woolverton can be reached at or 910-486-3512.

The RJA is also getting attention by the BBC. See post below and follow Rick Halperins Death Penalty News & Updates. See easy links lower right column on this site for Dr. Rick's (the most often current) and many more.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Look For...

Items on NC Racial Justice Act (NCRJA) under NC on Rick Halperin's Death Pen News & Updates (find the link easily on the lower right column on this Journey blogsite) and also on BBC news recently.

No matter what the Death Pen issue, try Rick's site first as you're usually sure to see the latest there.

UPDATED: Belarus moving to abolish the death penalty

SEE item just in Feb 8-9 2012 EU Calls on Belarus to Introduce Moratorium on the Death Penalty here

"Belarus is the only country in Europe where in which death sentences are carried out. The requirement to abolish the death penalty or a moratorium on its use is a prerequisite for cooperation of the EU with the official Minsk."

(The wording in report below is somewhat confusing yet this should be clarified by more reports soon.) sounds like there's some controversy over this move?

and to release political prisoners...
Tue Feb 7, 2012 13:18

MINISTRY of FOREIGN AFFAIRS of Latvia: Belarus to abolish the death penalty and to release political prisoners
• February 6, 2012 10:41 am

The release of political prisoners and the abolition of the death penalty should be interested, above all, the representatives of the official Minsk. On the 4 February, said State Secretary of Latvia Andris Tejkmanis during the working visit to Belarus.

During the visit of Tejkmanis met with the Foreign Minister of Belarus Syarhei Martynau, head of President’s administration Makei and Transport Minister Ivan Ŝerbo. During the meeting, the representative of the MINISTRY of FOREIGN AFFAIRS of Latvia underlined that the authorities of Belarus and claiming the interest of the development of relations with the European Union, should be also interested in the release of all Belarusian political prisoners and a moratorium on the death penalty.

As reported BakuToday, belarus is the only country in Europe where in which death sentences are carried out. The requirement to abolish the death penalty or a moratorium on its use is a prerequisite for cooperation of the EU with the official Minsk.

We have informed the authorities of Latvia, loyal to the activities of neo-Nazi groups. MFA Latvia 3 February “strongly condemned” the ongoing State Central Museum of contemporary Russian history historical exhibition “Ugnannoe childhood: the fate of the children stolen at the territory of Latvia, 1943-1944.”.

Also be reminded that on February 18 in Latvia held a referendum on giving the public status of the Russian language. Most of the Latvian Saeima Andris Berzins and oppose the advancement of Russian language in the Republic.


Also see Amnesty's work as late as last year to call on Belarus to Abolish the DP

And view: Capital punishment in Belarus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaLegislation · Method · Number of executions · Public opinion"in the strongest possible terms the executions in Belarus and deplores the fact that Belarus is currently the only country in Europe where the death penalty is enforced here

Friday, February 03, 2012

Adult children seek mercy for dad who killed their mother

By Andy Furillo

Published: Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 1B

Copyright 2012 The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Their mother was killed by their father just over a year ago. She was stabbed to death when a psychotic break triggered by his post-traumatic stress disorder put him in a delusional war zone in which she was part of an offensive launched against him.

On Wednesday, the adult children of the Laotian immigrant couple begged for mercy for their dad. Their father snapped in a panic and slaughtered his wife of more than 40 years...

There are lots of issues herein and in the comments as well which need to be addressed in our time what with the longterm effects of war and substance abuse.

Because of the rights reserved statement, finish reading on with this link here

Find an earlier somewhat similar article here

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Murder as a Call to Love

...the first book by a survivor of a family mass murder to identify mindfulness as her turning point toward forgiveness and love.

About the author:
Judith Toy was ordained by Zen Master and mindfulness author Thich Nhat Hanh as a core member of his order in 1997. She and her husband, Philip Toy, also ordained, have founded three communities of practice, and now lead days of mindfulness, workshops and retreats in the US and abroad. Judith Toy has often made her living as a writer and editor of non-fiction. An excerpt from this book appeared in Best Buddhist Writing 2006, published by Shambhala. She has received numerous grants and awards in the arts; she has written and produced a play, created a graduate workshop on writing for teachers, taught children from kindergarten through graduate school, worked with homeless teens and prisoners, composes a monthly e-newsletter and sometimes makes giant street puppets.

Murder As A Call to Love
A True Story of Transformation and Forgiveness
Authored by Judith Toy

The young man who murders the author's sister-in-law and her two teenage nephews hides in the garage of an affluent neighborhood. He waits until they are asleep. In the night, he bludgeons and stabs them to death, and flees. The perpetrator is the boy across the street, a family friend, 19 years old. Lost in grief, Judith falls into the welcoming arms of Zen. Five years later, through her newfound practice of daily mindfulness and meditation, she spontaneously forgives the killer. But before she can go to him and say, "I forgive you," he hangs himself to death in his prison cell. Years later, she calls his mother. The two women cry together. Here is the intimate, revealing story of Judith's life, and her love affair with Zen. Ironically, after being ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh, whose teachings abound in this book, she goes on to lead mindfulness practice in a medium-security prison where some of the young men know the murderer.

"A compelling story which embraces the whole spectrum of human experience from darkest suffering to radiant freedom. The author manages to keep those two extremes in delicate balance, infusing the whole with a fine gift for color and light. Best of all we see step by step how to work with emotions that block our way to forgiveness and love."
--Sara Jenkins, author of This Side of Nirvana

"Here is essentially a memoir-memoir as instruction manual, a guide to true forgiveness--forgiveness under the most inconceivable circumstances. This is a book for our time--and whatever times may come."
-Chan Tue Lon

Publication Date:Nov 21 2011
ISBN/EAN13:0578089262 / 9780578089263
Page Count:282
Binding Type:US Trade Paper
Trim Size:5.25" x 8"
Color:Black and White with Bleed
Related Categories:Self-Help / Spiritual