For Immediate Release
‘Rally for Redemption’ Brings Hundreds to Support Bills to End LWOP
“Capitol Conga Line” brings message with song and dance
HARRISBURG, PA (October 24, 2017) On October 25th, hundreds of people will rally at the state capitol in Harrisburg to demand an end to Death By Incarceration (also known as Life Without Parole) in Pennsylvania. The rally comes just two days after Senator Sharif Street introduced SB942, a bill that would allow for parole eligibility for those currently serving Death By Incarceration (DBI). The bill is a companion bill to HB135, introduced in the House by Representative Jason Dawkins.
“Death By Incarceration is the ultimate anti-human sentence,” said Felix Rosado, a member of Right 2 Redemption who is serving a DBI sentence at SCI Graterford. “It states that in no amount of time and with no degree of effort can 50,000 people across the U.S. — and over 5,000 in PA — ever rise above their worst moment and become worthy of life outside towered walls and razor-wired fences. To be deemed forever irredeemable goes against what it means to be human."
Participants will arrive on the front steps of the Capitol at 11:30 am, after which the group will travel inside to bring their message directly to lawmakers. The rally will start in the Capitol Rotunda at noon. Featured speakers include Sharif Boyd, who recently came home after being resentenced from serving Juvenile Life Without Parole; Brenda Harris, a CADBI representative whose son is serving Death By Incarceration; Kimberly King, who has lost one brother to gun violence and has another serving Death By Incarceration; and Sen. Sharif Street, who introduced the Senate Bill.
Rally organizers are bringing buses from Philly and Pittsburgh, and expecting attendees from Harrisburg, Reading, York, Trainer, and other cities and towns across the state. “Death By Incarceration is bad for people serving it, but it’s also bad for Pennsylvania,” said Hakim Ali, a member of the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration. “This extreme sentencing practice does not make us any safer. What it does do is tear apart families and communities, disproportionately targets people of color, and funnels millions of dollars into locking people up rather than investing in the wellbeing of our state.”
Rally participants will come with enlarged photos and words of people serving Death By Incarceration, in honor of those who are part of the movement from behind bars. They will also be getting creative with how their message is delivered, and have planned a “lobbying conga line” to snake through the capitol delivering their message.
“This issue is life and death to us,” said Lorraine Haw, a member of CADBI. “But that is all the more reason why we must embrace life in our activism. The Conga at the Capitol will hopefully be one visit our legislators don’t forget. We’ve come to tell them everyone deserves a second chance.”
The Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration is a coalition that is working to end Death By Incarceration (aka Life Without Parole) sentences in Pennsylvania. The coalition includes Decarcerate PA, Fight for Lifers, The Human Rights Coalition, and Right to Redemption (an organization of people who are incarcerated at SCI Graterford). Learn more at http://decarceratepa.info/CADBI