by Kathryn Lea (TCASK State Board of Directors, Hillsboro High School)
Today a group of death penalty opponents stood on the corner as Vanderbilt football fans passed us. They may not be our normal crowd of supporters, but considering the hour and the crowd the response was surprisingly good.
For the most part I held signs saying “Honk for Justice” and “Do Not Execute Daryl Holton.” Although there were the normal responses of people trying to ignore us, the passengers of the cars were often sympathetic. And there’s nothing quite like a car of college students honking and cheering to make abolitionists feel appreciated.
Some pedestrians were less friendly to our message, telling us they supported the death penalty and would even pull the switch. We did manage to pass out around two hundred fliers to the people who showed the slightest signs of support or apathy. Two people actually made calls to the governor’s office on the sidewalk, opposing the execution of the mentally ill. (And if you haven’t made a call to Bredesen yet, now is the time. Just let him know that his constituents don’t agree with deliberate murder, no matter what it’s called.)
There were also some great pedestrians who stopped to let us know how much they supported the issue, including Dennis, a ticketseller who made a call to the governor, Rick, who joined us holding signs, and Brian, a Scientologist who’s active in the human rights movement.
This afternoon we’ll be out by TSU for their game, and with any luck we’ll find more great people who don’t think we have the right to kill anyone. There will probably be more death penalty supporters who think electrocuting a human being is acceptable. But it doesn’t matter: the point is that we’re getting the message out. As Harry Simpson said today, at least they’re thinking about the issue. Because you can support executions, and you can oppose them halfheartedly, but it’s hard to ignore them when a group of dynamic abolitionists is standing on the corner drawing attention. So honk for abolition-let’s get the message out!
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