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End the death penalty

By Jenna Woloshyn | April 19, 2002 | Page 15

SAN QUENTIN, Calif.--Forty people picketed at San Quentin State Prison to build support for the California moratorium on the death penalty.

Bay Area activists routinely gather at the prison to hold candle light vigils on nights when an inmate is scheduled to die. But protesters came for a different reason on April 6.

"We would like to start a new tradition of protesting the death penalty well in advance of an execution date being set," said Campaign to End the Death Penalty organizer Elizabeth Terzakis. "We want the inmates to know that we are out here, supporting them, and encourage the family and friends of death row inmates to stand with us."

"You know that if the state really cared about public safety and personal security they would be spending money on education and health care and not on building prisons," said Campaign member Michelle Simon.

Harry Souza, whose son Matt is on death row, spoke about the ways in which the prison degrades and humiliates inmates and their families. "They make us visit in cages--they do everything they can to make the visiting room like a dungeon."

Abolitionists are planning a march in Sacramento on May 1 to call for a moratorium. The protest was organized by the Campaign to End the Death Penalty. Also attending were members of Death Penalty Focus and the ACLU.

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