Death Penalty in the US: Implications for Canada and Canadians (March 24)

As a lawyer, I know first-hand and from bitter experience that the justice system does not always get it right. When one takes a moment to reflect, this is not surprising. No system is ever going to be right all the time. South of the border, a wrong decision can have catastrophic consequences for the accused where the death penalty is still in effect in many states.

Magdaleno Rose-Vila is a tireless advocate for the abolition of the US death penalty. My great friend Tom Sandborn and I want to invite you to hear him speak when he visits Vancouver in March. It will be particularly relevant to Canadians who want to learn more about the issue, or who want to look for ways to support abolition. I strongly encourage you to come out for this important event. All the details are below — please forward to anyone you think might be interested!

  • ‘The Death Penalty in the US: Implications for Canada and Canadians’
  • Magdaleno Rose-Avila Executive Director of Witness to Innocence
  • Mar. 24, 7:30pm @ St. James Community Square (3214 W.10th Ave.)

One of America’s premier anti-death penalty campaigners, Magdaleno will be visiting Vancouver the week of March 21, holding meetings with activists from many feminist, anti racist, trade union and social justice struggles here and giving a public talk on March 24th.

Witness to Innocence (WTI) is the only national organization in the United States composed of and led by exonerated death row survivors and their family members. The mission of WTI is to abolish the death penalty by empowering exonerated death row survivors and their loved ones to become effective leaders in the abolition movement. WTI actively challenges political leaders and the public to grapple with the reality of a fatally flawed criminal justice system that sends innocent people to death row. Founded in 2003 by Sister Helen Prejean and Ray Krone — the 100th person exonerated from death row in the United States — Witness to Innocence is one of the most powerful anti-death penalty organizations in the United States.

For more than twenty years, Magdaleno has worked to abolish the US death penalty, working closely with Sister Helen Prejean – the heroine of Dead Man Walking. Sister Prejean has written the foreword to Magdaleno’s autobiography, Looking for My Wings. See for more information about Magdaleno’s career fighting for social and environmental justice.

Here is a brief preview of what Magdeleno will be addressing:

Should the most powerful country in the world be allowed to take the lives of its least powerful citizens?

Canadians have a historic opportunity to make their voices heard on this critical issue facing the United States of America. Europeans for years have been a leading international voice on this human rights issue and over the years individuals and groups of Canadians have also spoken out. There is a renewed and rejuvenated effort within the USA to abolish this horrific practice. Canada is in a unique position to influence this country to the south of you border. We urge the citizens and government to speak out and help us change this practice of ritual killing.

Sponsors: BCCLA, Amnesty International, Tim Louis Law, Vancouver District Labour Council


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