By Lillian Siman (TCASK Student Caucus Co-Chair)
We’re on the road to abolition- and I mean that literally.
This afternoon, as part of our public awareness campaign, we marched from the TCASK office to the TSU game- only to discover that it wasn’t actually happening. Like true abolitionists, we refused to be let down; instead we turned around and marched right back. We stood on the corner of 5th and Main for the next couple of hours, weaving through traffic to distribute flyers to remarkably receptive East Nashville folks. With our “Honk for Justice” sign inciting both honks and cheers, we were feeling pumped about abolishing the death penalty and about justice in general. As Alex noted, “Everybody likes justice!” (Thank you, Alex.)
We decided to focus the campaign on mental illness and the death penalty. A huge black sign stated our demand: Treat the Illness, Don’t Kill the Person. Several people asked questions about the case, and many expressed outrage at the murder being committed on Tuesday with their tax money. Hopefully, a refined version of this anger will be expressed to the governor on the phone sometime this weekend.
On a personal note, it was great to see some students out there on the streets. I’m starting to feel like the moratorium campaign is something Nashville is ready for. But while the afternoon was overwhelmingly positive, there were definitely some people who stopped 30 ft before the line to avoid being handed a flyer. It’s a perfect metaphor for their mental response- people stop way before the point where they have to actually think about it. They read the headlines about Holton but skip the article. (If they did, they would be appalled!) Here’s my proposition: instead of going out of our way to avoid the situation, let’s go out of the way to fix the situation. As a result, not only will there be less tragedy in our lives, but also in the lives of our children.
So how do we do it? We already are. We did it at the corner of 21st and Blakemore yesterday. We did it at 25th and West End this morning. We did it by the office this afternoon. And we’ve got more coming tomorrow with the phone bank and Monday at the capital.
I’ll see you there.
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