Today and every day, Amnesty members stand together to defend the full body of human rights that Dr. King so bravely and eloquently espoused.
As we gear up for our Death Penalty Action Weeks (Feb. 27-March 11), we are inspired by Dr. King’s vision of a day without the death penalty. A day when revenge is not offered as justice and society turns to humane and constructive ways of dealing with violent crime.
Dr. King deeply opposed the death penalty, calling it “society’s final assertion that it will not forgive.” His widow, human rights activist Coretta Scott King, agreed. “Morality is never upheld by legalized murder,” she said.
We are moving closer to abolition in the United States. 2011 saw amazing victories: Illinois passed a law ending the death penalty, Oregon’s governor put a moratorium on executions and death sentences, and executions across the country were at an all-time low. However, it was also the year that the state of Georgia executed Troy Davis, who came to symbolize all that is wrong with the death penalty.
As you read this message, eight more men are scheduled for execution in the next 60 days. More killing is not the answer.
Dr. King described violence as, “a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”
Dr. King lived his life in service to others, speaking out against suffering, inequality and injustice. In his memory, with his words, we march together toward the end of the death penalty in the United States.
Director, Death Penalty Abolition Campaign
Amnesty International USA