“People’s Senate Vote” Shows Popular Support for SB942
HARRISBURG, PA (September 27, 2018) On October 2, hundreds of people from across the state 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 will feature a “People’s Senate Vote” to showcase statewide support for Senate Bill 942, a bill introduced by Sen. Sharif Street that would allow for parole eligibility for those currently serving Death By Incarceration (DBI).
“The General Assembly has a chance to help reunite families and rebuild communities by passing a common sense bill that would give more than 5000 people a chance at returning home,” said Marcie Marra, a member of the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (CADBI), the grassroots group that organized Tuesday’s rally. “The ‘People’s Senate Vote’ will show lawmakers that they have every reason to vote yes on Senate Bill 942.”
The rally and “People’s Senate” will start in the Capitol Rotunda at noon. Participants will hear testimony from those who were sentenced to Juvenile Life Without Parole who have been resentenced and come home; family members who have loved ones serving DBI; people who have lost loved ones to violence; and lawmakers who support the bill. One speaker who is currently serving a DBI sentence will call in from prison to address the crowd.
“There is an urgent need to abolish DBI sentences in this state, because they are fundamentally unjust and anti human,” said David “Dawud” Lee, a CADBI member who has been serving a DBI sentence for over 30 years. “All human beings should be afforded the opportunity to transform themselves into better people, and to redeem themselves by giving back to the communities they have harmed.”
After the mock Senate vote, protestors will take their message directly to Governor Wolf to ask him to commit to signing the legislation. “We’re coming to Harrisburg to tell Governor Wolf he can no longer afford to be silent on this issue,” said Lorraine Haw, a CADBI member from Philadelphia. “We are asking Wolf to actively and vocally support parole eligibility for those serving life sentences.”
Rally organizers are bringing buses from Philly and Pittsburgh, and expecting attendees from Harrisburg, Reading, York, Trainer, Chester, Allentown, and other cities and towns across the state.
“Imprisonment is society's way of saying, ‘you are being punished for a particular crime,’ explains Ronna R. Davis, a CADBI member from Pittsburgh. “Death By Incarceration is society's way of saying that ‘you are not human and do not deserve a chance to right your wrongs.’ People do change, if given a chance to do so.”
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