Washington, DC - 1/15/15 - On Thursday, January 15th, the states of Oklahoma and Florida are scheduled to conduct their first executions of 2015 by putting to death Charles Frederick Warner and Johnny Kormondy, respectively. Although the national observance is the following Monday, January 15th also marks the birthday of renowned nonviolent civil rights activist and anti-death penalty advocate Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his efforts in combating racial inequality through nonviolence. Dr. King said of the death penalty, “I do not think that God approves of the death penalty for any crime, rape and murder included. Capital punishment is against the better judgment of modern criminology and above all, against the highest expression of love in the nature of God.”
Said Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and Barbara Arnwine, Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:
“The death penalty has no place within the moral framework of a more peaceful and just society, for which Dr. King gave his life Oklahoma and Florida mar the remembrance of this great man by choosing his birthday as the day for executions. All who honor the memory of Dr. King must be jarred and disturbed by the sad spectacle of two executions on the day that marks his birth. We are appalled by the lack of sensitivity and poor judgment being demonstrated here.”
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is the nation's oldest organization dedicated to the abolition of the death penalty. We are comprised of an extensive network representing more than 100 state and national affiliate organizations and thousands of advocates and volunteers. Our members include families of murder victims, people across the political and religious spectrum, past and present law enforcement officials and prominent civil and racial justice organizations working to end the death penalty forever.
In January 2014, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty launched the 90 Million Strong Campaign to partner with and mobilize a growing number of national organizations and individuals who believe that it is time for the death penalty to end.