By Kathryn Hamoudah, Board Member, GFADP
– May 15, 2013 –
Founded in 1996, Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (GFADP) is a statewide coalition of organizations and individuals working to end the death penalty, build power in communities targeted by the criminal justice system, protect the rights and dignity of those on death row and their families, and transform Georgia’s broken public safety system. In our 17 years we’ve successfully passed resolutions in three Georgia cities in opposition to the death penalty, blocked legislation (several times) at the state level that would have allowed non-unanimous juries, and restored contact visits for lawyers, clergy and families for folks on the row among other victories. For much of the last decade we worked tirelessly to free Troy Davis and to expose the systemic problems in his case. The campaign to stop his execution compelled tens of thousands of Georgians to take action and sparked an international movement. This movement exposed the unfairness, racial disparities and unethical law enforcement practices inherent in Georgia’s current system.
In the 18 months since Troy’s death, GFADP’s membership continues to grieve but has worked hard to rebuild and re-energize those who came out for Troy. In January 2012, GFADP hosted a Death Penalty Summit at the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church (Martin Luther King Jr.’s home church), which brought together more than 200 people. In September 2012, in Davis’s hometown of Savannah, we came together on the anniversary of his execution. “From Troy to Trayvon: Empowering Communities to Change Criminal Justice Policies” brought together community members, advocates and organizers from New Orleans to New York to reflect on the previous year and to re-imagine the future of our movement, especially for those working in the South.
Currently, GFADP is working to pass legislation that changes the burden of proof standard for defendants with intellectual disability in capital cases. Georgia is the only state in the nation that sets the highest burden and legal experts say is nearly impossible to prove. This standard has come under new scrutiny as a result of the impending execution of Warren Hill, an intellectually disabled man whose case has again brought international scrutiny and shame on Georgia’s criminal justice practices.
For more information on GFADP please visit our website.
This article first appeared in CMN’s May 2013 Newsletter.