I haven’t been blogging much lately, in part because we have been planning the Voices of Hope, Agents of Change Tour, a statewide odyssey across Pennsylvania with death row survivors and murder victims’ families. These voices of experience will topple the death penalty. It’s a two week adventure, covering 20 events in 11 towns, and over the course of the two weeks, I plan to post here what we’re doing.
Yesterday the tour kicked off in Philadelphia and touched more than 130 people. Over the lunch hour, we stopped at Temple University School of Law for pizza and stories of death row with exoneree Harold Wilson. About 50 law students heard Harold’s story of spending 16 years on death row, only to be acquitted at retrial in 2005. At the second trial, DNA evidence from the scene indicated the presence of another person, the likely perpetrator.
I missed the Temple event but made it in time for an event with the National Lawyers Guild chapter at Drexel University School of Law. It was standing room only at Drexel, as nearly 90 people filled the room to hear from Harold and from Lorry Post, Executive Director of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation. Lorry started his talk in dramatic fashion by holding up a photo of his daughter Lisa, who was killed by her husband in 1988. The man received a 20 year sentence. Lorry went on to talk about his involvement in a Florida case in which a man’s head was set on fire during his execution in the electric chair. As Lorry asked, how is that one man who was definitely guilty gets 20 years while another man, who may well have been innocent, gets his head set on fire?
As at Temple, Harold kept the audience’s rapt attention.
Throughout the next two weeks, I’ll be sharing our adventures and photos from the tour here at SF. Stay tuned. See you in Harrisburg on Monday.
Andy in Harrisburg in Philly