Capital punishment not only fails to advance justice, it allows systemic racism and classism to be enacted through execution. This system is why Billie Allen has been facing his execution for 23 years for a wrongful conviction.
Proponents of the death penalty will say that it deters crime. However, crime and murder rates before and after abolishing capital punishment show no evidence to support this. What the evidence does show is that innocent people are consistently sentenced to death.
Since 1973, over 169 death row inmates in the US have been exonerated. Over 169 innocent people sitting in a cell for years, knowing they will be killed by the State for something they didn't do. And that's just the ones who have been exonerated. How many more innocent people have we murdered through our "justice" system?
Decades of research also shows that the poor and marginalized are more often sentenced to death. Almost everyone on death row was unable to afford to hire an attorney. When you have a criminal justice system that is based on capitalism, then you have a system where justice and rights are commodities for sale. Poor people can not purchase presumed innocence, the right to freedom or even the right to life.
And just BEING Black makes a death sentence 4x more likely than for a white defendant with the same charges. 13% of the population of the US is Black but 42% of death row inmates are Black. AND OVER 50% OF EXONERATED CASES ARE BLACK.
In Billie Allen's case, his attorney failed to disclose evidence and never called his alibi. Plus, proven false testimonies were provided against him. Due to this, 23 years have been stolen from Billie and his life still hangs in the balance. Devastatingly, his story is just one of too many.
WE ARE MAKING A MOCKERY OF JUSTICE WITH OUR SYSTEMIC KILLING OF INNOCENT BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA.
Capital punishment not only fails to advance justice, it allows systemic racism and classism to be enacted through execution. After everything that our government has done, continues to do in the face of our anger, action, and despair, what is the point in continuing to call, protest, petition, rally? Why does it matter if it achieves nothing?
Because injustice CANNOT be allowed to stand unopposed. Because Dustin Higgs should not have stood alone in his struggle for the last day of his life. Dustin, and every victim of injustice, deserves to have our voice added to theirs. They deserve to have us all stand with them. On Dustin's last day, we made damn sure he spent it knowing we were fighting for him with everything we had and that we will keep fighting to abolish this barbaric practice.
So send yet another email. Pick up the phone and spend another ten minutes of your life demanding for others. Donate what you have to spare. Show up to the rallies. Vote for those that will ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY.
SHOW UP even when you don't think it will change anything, because it's the FUCKING RIGHT THING TO DO.
The injustice of the death penalty is so clear. It has not place in our society. And it has to end. We're all more than the worst thing we've ever done, because all human beings are capable of change. If our criminal justice system is to change, it should be designed not just to punish, but also to rehabilitate those who've committed crimes.
There should always be the opportunity for rehabilitation, redemption and grace. We have the capacity to hold people accountable and separate dangerous people from society without foreclosing that opportunity.
Texts by Emelie Yonally Phillips
Alex Albadree divides his time between DC and Istanbul where he creates art for social justice. The pieces Alex creates aim to engage with current and historical events to raise critical consciousness and call individuals to take action for social transformation. Alex applies an intersectional approach to the issues he amplifies, highlighting the ways that oppressive systems rooted in white supremacy and capitalism degrade our empathy, dignity and environment. Through beautifully crafted digital illustrations, Alex invites us to take a hard, honest look at our world and at ourselves. And then to imagine a better world. And, most importantly, to fight for it.