By Kristin Froehlich
When my brother David and four of his friends were murdered in Connecticut in 1995, I was traumatized and depressed. I lost my beliefs that life was predictable and that people were trustworthy.
In 2001, I attended Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation’s “Healing the Wounds of Murder Conference” in Boston. I recently re-read the essay I wrote after that conference. It was titled, “A Life-Changing Experience.” It described some of the tools the conference gave me to regain my sense of power and hope. I learned that grief and pain can be transformed into compassion and strength.
After the conference, I returned to Delaware and joined Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty. There, I joined with others to find more effective responses to murder. I learned more about the death penalty and how it fails as a response to violence. The death penalty doesn’t heal murder victims’ families and society. It doesn’t keep us safe. Rather, the death penalty perpetuates violence. It perpetuates disrespect for human life.
Since the MVFR Conference, I have learned that sharing my story can help others see the death penalty from a new perspective. Twelve years later, I still work against the death penalty. This year, I serve as Board President of Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty. We are closer than ever to getting rid of the death penalty in Delaware. Senate Bill 19 to repeal the death penalty passed the Delaware Senate this year and we are working to get it voted on the Delaware House this session. Although the work is challenging, I am full of hope.
This article was first featured in the October 2013 CMN Newsletter.