Protesting the Texas death penalty
HOUSTON--The annual March to Stop Executions has become a place for death penalty opponents from all over Texas to meet and connect. This year's ninth annual march was no exception, with 150 people--a good percentage of them family members of death row and other prisoners--marching and rallying in Houston on October 25.
Activist Ester King opened the march by reading a statement written by former Texas death row prisoner Kenneth Foster, who expressed his solidarity with Georgia death row prisoner Troy Davis:
Rise up and be heard, and if needed...rise up and be FELT (there is a difference). Rise up for Troy Davis. Rise up like it's your first and last fight, because when we do...the last will finally be first. FIGHT!!!
The multiracial march began and ended in Houston's Third Ward. Participating in the march were the Kids Against the Death Penalty, a group of young people that are related to, and friends of Jeff Woods, who is wrongly imprisoned on Texas death row. These young people, ages 10 to 14, have become very outspoken against the death penalty and brought a new spirit to the march.
Clarence Brandley, an exonerated Texas death row prisoner, was a featured speaker at the rally.
Many family members were present, and at one point, all the family members gathered at the podium. Delia Perez Meyer, sister of Texas death row prisoner Louis Castro Perez, gave a short speech on behalf of the gathered family members. Delia said of the event:
Standing among the other family members was really an awe-inspiring and emotional time--while it's good to see that we're not the only ones suffering from this horrific nightmare, it was so sad to see so many family members affected by the death and destruction that the death penalty imposes on all of us.
We have each other to lean on, to share our stories with, to cry with, to hope with, and to ultimately stand next to each other to hold each other up as our loved ones are taken by this monster we call justice in Texas. God willing, some day it will end!