Sunday, June 15, 2008

An inspiring start

We began our Pilgrimage of Remebrance today, June 16.
It was a busy day! We started at Central Prison with silent prayer
and a short greeting to the prisoners on Death Row.

We walked through the streets of Raleigh, passing to remember a murder victim at the sight of a murder on South St. We were fortunate to be joined by the parents of a death row inmate and by John Comer of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation. MVFR is one of the Pilgrimage's endorsers.

Our next stops were the courthouse in downtown Raleigh, where capital cases are tried. We remembered the anguish suffered by all who must endure a capital trial. A few short steps north brought us to the old Capitol building an the heart of Raleigh. Gov. Mike Easley's office is located here. Each time there is an execution, many come to the Governor's office to plead clemency.

We continued through Bicentennial Plaza, past the NC Legislative Building, and on to the Governor's Mansion. Gov Easley has only granted clemency in a death sentence two times, in 2001 and 2002.

Our march then continued north. We stopped at the site of another murder in Raleigh before picking up the pace in order to get north of the 540/US1 exchange by 6:00. We crossed Raleigh's 440 outer beltline on the Capital Boulevard bridge.

(Some of the younger set took a ride in the sag wagon to get around the busier traffic areas, or simply to rest and cool off on this 90 degree, sunny day in Raleigh.)

This evening, we were welcomed to the Church of the Nativity in Raleigh for a gathering of prayers, some dinner, and fellowship. We are very grateful for the hospitality granted by Mother Diane Corlette, Rector of the Church of the Nativity. Diane is a former president of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty (PFADP).

Stephen Dear, current and tireless executive director of PFADP, was there with his family to greet us and give the core walkers fresh PFADP shirts to wear on our journey. (You can order your own "Fry okra, not people" shirt at Folks from Rutpa house in Durham, Leah from the Capital Restorative Justice Project and Marcia Timmel provided food/and and support. PFADP and the Capital Restorative Justice Project are also endorsers of the Pilgrimage.

Rev. William Barber, president of the NC state NAACP, spoke to the group, to provide Strength for the Journey. Rev. Barber spoke, "We in the civil rights movement know the value of walking." He also voiced his - and the 20,000 members of NC NAACP - endorsement of the Pilgrimage. "As predident, I have some authority in such matters." We appreciate his kind and inspiring words, and we will contemplate them in the 290 remaining miles of our journey.

Rev William Barber accepts a PFADP shirt which reads "I have a brother on death row. So do you." From left to right: Marcia Timmel, Scott Bass, Roberta Mothershead, Steve Dear, Dwane Atkinson, Rev. William Barber, Patrick O'Neill.

1 comment:

thestatelottery said...

Way to go! This is an amazing act of justice and courage that you all are exhibiting.