CMN Director of Advancement’s Journey to End the Use of the Death Penalty

July 14, 2015

Daniel starvin for justice

Daniel Flynn speaks at the annual Starvin’ for Justice Fast and Vigil in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC.

CMN is pleased to welcome our newest staff member, Daniel Flynn, as Director of Advancement. For Daniel, the movement to repeal the death penalty is a long-time personal passion. Within a week of his arrival, the CMN team attended the annual Starvin’ for Justice: Fast and Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty at the steps of the Supreme Court. Daniel sat down to reflect on this year’s vigil and the mission of CMN.

I attended my first Fast and Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty in the summer of 2006. The energy of the movement and the depth of commitment were evident to me as a first time participant. The passion for change demonstrated throughout the four days drew me back year after year, and eventually I took on a coordinating role.

My interest in death penalty repeal started during my undergraduate years at Xavier University when I was introduced to the concept of the consistent ethic of life. I started to learn more about numerous prolife issues—especially the death penalty–and began to ask what my Catholic faith was calling me to do in the face of legal degradation of human life. I attended two execution vigils and became a supporter of my local state campaign, Ohioans to Stop Executions. Since then, I have been a passionate advocate, devoting much of my free time to reading about capital punishment and participating in various events like the Fast and Vigil. This has been an important yearly event in my life because of both the powerful action and the inspiring participants.

This year was a bit different for me because as an employee of Catholic Mobilizing Network I had the opportunity to speak as formal representative of the repeal movement. Every night during the Fast and Vigil there are various activists, organizations, academics, exoneeres, murder victims’ family members, and attorneys speaking about their experience in the movement. Usually I am one of many audience members, but this year I was on the opposite side of the microphone. I was honored to share the work of CMN and the stance of our Church against capital punishment.

I am excited to continue to share the mission, work, and impact of CMN in my role as Director of Advancement. CMN has a mission that resonates with people. There is recognition that to stand for the dignity of life, we must stand for the victim of violence and the prisoner. We have a great opportunity to invite people to be a part of that mission and fulfill our responsibility to Catholic Social Teaching. CMN and Catholics are leaders in death penalty and criminal justice reform movements nationwide, and I am looking forward to inviting others to be a part of CMN’s important and prophetic work.