Young people are the future of the Catholic Church, tomorrow’s community leaders, and the nation’s next decision makers.
These emerging leaders are critical to the death penalty abolition movement. They consistently oppose capital punishment at higher rates than their older counterparts and understand that the death penalty perpetuates racism, targets vulnerable populations, and risks innocent lives.
Recognizing this, Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN) will pilot three “Next Gen for Justice” Catholic college speaking tours in Fall 2023.
“Next Gen for Justice” will utilize educational presentations and storytelling to galvanize this next generation of advocates to enact systemic change in their communities — today, and for years to come.
The 2023 speaking tours will focus on three states with active death penalty status that are of great importance to the death penalty abolition movement.
Louisiana | Loyola University New Orleans
September 12, 2023
Louisiana retains the death penalty by law but has not executed anyone in over 10 years. Legislators have put forth consistent attempts to formally abolish the practice, though none have been successful yet. Just this year, Governor John Bel Edwards announced during a speech at Loyola University his firm opposition to capital punishment — a position strongly rooted in his Catholic faith and belief in the dignity of life.
CMN will collaborate with the Jesuit Social Research Institute and renowned anti-death penalty advocate Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ to host a series of on-campus events.
Texas | University of the Incarnate Word
October 10, 2023
Texas is among the small minority of states in the U.S. that still actively pursue the death penalty. In fact, Texas leads the charge, consistently carrying out the most executions each year.
October 10 is internationally recognized as World Day Against the Death Penalty. It is also the same day Texas has scheduled the execution of Jedidiah Murphy.
CMN will collaborate with staff and students at the University of the Incarnate Word, including Dr. Arturo Chavez and Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, CCVI, to host a series of on-campus presentations with individuals directly impacted by the system of capital punishment. The San Antonio community is also invited to attend.
CMN plans to hold vigil on the day of Jedidiah’s scheduled execution to honor the dignity of his life, his victim, and to pray for all impacted by the violence of capital punishment.
Ohio | Xavier University
October 22-24, 2023
Ohio could very well be the next state to abolish the death penalty, joining the 23 states who have done so already. Ohio has not carried out an execution since 2018. In 2020, Ohio became the first state to outlaw the execution of people with serious mental illness. In the spring of 2023, the state legislature introduced a new bill to abolish the death penalty. Both local and national advocates are optimistic that it will pass.
CMN will be hosted by Xavier University staff and faculty from the Eigel Center for Community-Engaged Learning, the Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice, the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, and the Jesuit Bellarmine Chapel. They will welcome Debra Milke, an Arizona death row exoneree; Randal Padgett, an Alabama death row exoneree; and Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., Board Chair of Journey of Hope — From Violence to Healing, Executive Director of the Ohio Council of Churches, and brother of a murder victim.
The event will feature powerful stories of innocence and shed light on the urgent need to end the death penalty in Ohio and beyond.