Monday, October 20, 2008

Families Affected by Mental Illness and the Death Penalty Gather in San Antonio

On Friday, October 3, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights (MVFHR) launched a groundbreaking new project, Prevention Not Execution (sound familiar?!), which brings together victims' families and families of the executed, all of whom had been affected by mental illness, murder, and the death penalty.

After a private gathering involving the participants, who travelled from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and elsewhere in Texas, the organizations held a press conference that featured Nick and Amanda Wilcox, Lois Robison, Kim Crespi, and Bill Babbitt. Ed Dickey, the head of NAMI San Antonio, and Ron Honberg, the Legal and Policy Director of NAMI, also spoke about this collaborative effort from the perspective of the nation's leading mental health advocacy organization.

The press conference included a powerful ceremony during which all of the participants placed a rose in a vase and lit a candle in remembrance of their loved ones, the victims' of these crimes, and the perpetrators.

You can view photos from the event and read the moving statements of each speaker at

In addition, WITNESS, a global human rights organization that uses video and online technologies to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations, is featuring online video from the event launch. The video appears on the home page of The HUB, the first global platform dedicated to human rights media and action. It includes portions of statements by Nick and Amanda Wilcox, Kim Crespi, and Bill Babbitt, as well as a portion of the remembrance ceremony that concluded the event. Here is the link to the video: (you might need to install flash to view the content).
MVFHR will be conducting interviews with other family members who were not able to attend the San Antonio event and will release a report on this effort next summer.

No comments: