National Coalition to

Abolish the Death Penalty

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Race, People of Faith and the Death Penalty


In this video, produced by the Odyssey Network, the nation’s largest multi-faith media coalition dedicated to telling stories of faith in action, Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, Steve Dear, Executive Director of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, and Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, Senior Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, discuss the legacy of racial discrimination in the death penalty and the importance of the faith community’s role in galvanizing public opposition to capital punishment.

“The death penalty is the last failsafe of white supremacy,” remarks Rev. Dr. Warnock.  “It says that white life must be valued above black life.” The American Bar Association, and countless other academic studies, has demonstrated grave racial disparities in sentencing in capital cases.  This is especially true when the victim is white and the defendant is a person of color.

Stevenson urges that, “in the criminal justice system in particular, we need more hope, compassion and mercy,” and that people of faith can be leaders in bringing about that transformation by contributing their voices, resources and perspectives to ending capital punishment, thus moving the larger public on this issue.

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