By Father Pat Delahanty, KCADP Executive Director
– June 17, 2013 –
The Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (KCADP) is gearing up for a big push for abolition over the next two years.To help accomplish this goal KCADP now employs a full-time Outreach Coordinator, Shekinah Lavalle, who began working in mid-May. This allows the Coalition to have contact, not only with new potential supporters, but to engage our organization partners at a new level.
One concrete step already taken is to solicit volunteers for the annual 11-day Kentucky State Fair in August that draws nearly 600,000 people – of which 100,000 or more wander through the exhibit area. Instead of KCADP assuming full responsibility to recruit the nearly 100 volunteers needed to work at the booth, we have turned to our partners and asked them to assume responsibility for one day at the State Fair. Each partner organization supplies a contact person who must attend our training and recruits those needed for the booth. The Kentucky Council of Churches, the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, the Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, Murder Victims’ Family Members, and others are now at work finding the necessary volunteers.
In 2013, two tours featuring persons exonerated with take place. This summer, Randy Steidl will spend about three weeks in Kentucky visiting targeted communities where members of the General Assembly who are leaders and members of the Judiciary Committees live. While there, KCADP will set up meetings with local faith groups, members of the media, editorial boards, and legislators to make the case for abolition. This will be followed by another tour later this year, in other communities represented by key legislators.
New KCADP resource materials in development include three booklets, each featuring a different set of opponents of the death penalty: murder victim family members, those exonerated in Kentucky, and persons associated with law enforcement. Our recently amended by-laws allow for a larger board and with the addition of several new members, the diverse KCADP Board now includes several victim family members and people of color. This diversity will help us reach communities especially affected by the criminal justice system and the death penalty.
KCADP has sought money from several sources and if these funds become available we will implement a new media campaign that will help Kentuckians understand how broken this system is and will more readily support repeal of the death penalty.
This article first appeared in CMN’s June 2013 Newsletter.