Student Week Against the Death Penalty

NLG Student Week Against the Death Penalty

What will you do for the abolitionist movement this year?

Each year, NLG students all over the country come together to celebrate Student Week Against the Death Penalty. By hosting events and planning actions, students raise awareness of the unjust capital punishment system in the United States. This year's SWADP will take place from March 3-7, 2014.

SWADP Organizing Materials

Past events have included:

  • Letter writing campaigns
  • Panel discussions
  • Film screenings
  • Collecting petition signatures
  • Hosting speakers like death row honorees or public defenders
  • Distributing posters, flyers, black ribbons, or buttons

Background

 

Those of us who have long expressed moral indignation at our nation's capital punishment laws have recently been joined by individuals and groups who are attacking the death penalty on theoretical, financial, and practical fronts. Yet challenges still remain. Some recent developments include:

  • The death penalty is becoming limited to a few regions: All 80 death sentences in 2013 came from about 2% of the counties in the country (with more than half occuring in Florida and Texas), while 85% of U.S. counties have not had a single execution in more than 45 years.
  • More states are abolishing the death penalty: In October 2013, Maryland's repeal of the death penalty became law, making it the 18th state to abolish the death penalty and the sixth state to end capital punishment in the last six years.
  • Other countries are exerting pressure on the United States to end the death penalty: European companies have cut off supplies of certain execution drugs because of opposition to capital punishment in Europe.
  • Public support for the death penalty is at its lowest levels in four decades: 40% of people surveyed by Gallup say that they do not believe it is administered fairly. 

While these developments represent the tremendous momentum that is gathering behind abolition, the bleak reality is that 3,108 people are still on death row. The situation is gradually improving, but the need for action has never been more urgent.