By Dave Avolio, WCADP Board Vice-President
The Starvin’ for Justice Fast and Vigil is an annual event in Washington, DC. This event takes place on the sidewalk in front of the U.S. Supreme Court from June 29 to July 2 each year. These dates are particularly significant because the Supreme Court handed down the Furman v. Georgia decision on June 28, 1972, which made the death penalty unusable. Then, on July 2, 1976, the court ruled in Gregg v. Georgia that executions could resume. This year also marks the 35th anniversary of the first execution of the post Gregg decision.
Dozens of anti-death penalty activists come regularly from across the U.S. and Canada to join together for public education and outreach at the steps of the Supreme Court. “This is a great experience and training ground for people who want to practice, or become very adept, at talking about the death penalty,” says WCADP Board Vice-President Dave Avolio, who attends this vigil every year as well as takes a leadership role in organizing the event. Tens of thousands of tourists, from all over the U.S. and the world, pass by our vigil and table, so the opportunity for public witness and dialogue at a real grassroots level is invaluable to the movement. And, this is an excellent opportunity to meet other abolitionists and to “recharge your batteries.”
The vigil starts with a “last supper” on July 28 and a walk to the Supreme Court at midnight for a brief opening ceremony. Attendees gather each morning for a day of greeting the public, followed by an evening “teach in” (fasting is not mandatory, but most do in some form). There are several hotels in the area, but many take advantage of dormitory accommodations at a local homeless shelter with a nominal, optional cost.
For more information and application forms go to: www.abolition.org. Please be sure to register and let us know you are coming.
We’re looking forward to Starvin’ with ya!