Last night was terrible and long, and this morning it was challenging to get myself out of bed. I’m sadder and more ashamed than I’ve felt about the U.S. in a long time—it just takes a lot to put holes in my optimism. But there’s work to do, and it’s some combination of anger and hope that we need to generate now.
This morning, I’m going to be giving away some money. It’s not the only thing I intend to do to help abolish the death penalty in this country, but it is the first thing. I hate to be crass, but, frankly, there’s no better moment for raising money in the life of a movement than one of shock and disappointment. It takes heart to do this work, and it also takes cash. Please join me in giving whatever you can to help these organizations, or others of your choice, do their work. These are all national organizations, but if you prefer something local, they can lead you to many groups across the country.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Thirty-four states still have capital punishment. NCADP works to reduce that number, with their most recent victory in Illinois earlier this year. In part, it’s important to drive that number down so that the death penalty can be proven not just cruel but also unusual punishment.
The NAACP: President Ben Jealous used to work at the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and his long commitment to this issue, and to the family of Troy Davis, has shone throughout this long orderal. Now would be an excellent time to join or renew your membership.
The Innocence Project: These are the folks who use DNA technology to get falsely convicted people out of prison. Enough said.
The Advancement Project: Just to get to the root of this problem, support the Advancement Project’s work to end the School-to-Prison pipeline. This isn’t about how education will make everything better (although it is a human right), but about breaking the social control of communities that people have been taught to fear.