Working as a staff attorney for the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, I can honestly say, has been one of the most personally and professionally enriching experiences of my life. Diann Rust-Tierney, the Board, and the rest of the staff are passionate, hard working, and incredibly honest. I am privileged to know each and every one of them.
I have been a legal advocate for death row inmates for over 30 years. When I was representing Teresa Lewis in her unsuccessful post-conviction efforts to avoid execution in Virginia, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and its Virginia affiliate reached out to provide both support and encouragement. Since then, I have grown to understand the critical role that NCADP plays in the national debate over the death penalty. It provides a forum and a focal point for national and local civic, nonprofit organizations, victim families, death row families, and political groups to discuss in a meaningful way alternatives to state-sponsored killings. I now am proud to serve as its Board Chair. I highly recommend this organization for those interested in searching for a developing grass roots support for enlightened justice in our country.
I contribute both money and my time to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. When asked to serve on the board of directors three years ago, I was struck by the passion, competence and commitment of the executive director. Since then my respect for Diann Rust-Tierney continues to grow, as she gracefully manages the highs and lows of the always-changing nonprofit environment. NCADP has a visionary leader and with our continued support, this organization will see us through to our goal of ending capital punishment once and for all.
I have worked with Diann Rust-Tierney for almost 10 years, and the collaboration and partnering we have done with NCADP has always advanced our state work. From leading the charge nationally to abolish the death penalty in our country to providing trainings for states on issues such as media, strategy, policy and litigation, they always come through in a professional and helpful way. A true partner to many organizations across the country, NCADP is a smart, organized and strategic organization with a wonderful staff.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty was the first national organization formed in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to approve new state death penalty laws in the aftermath of Furman v. Georgia, which had ruled as unconstitutional prior state death penalty laws as arbitrary.
For 40 years, NCADP has provided information and leadership at the state and national level through its state-based coalitions.
I have personally been involved with the organization since the early 1990's, and have seen the resources it has provided to state coalitions. As a convener of regular national meetings and conference calls, it has provided essential information, organizing strategies, and a chance for attorneys and activists to exchange ideas.
I am currently a Board member of the organization, but I have also been helped by the organization as a state-based advocate, and I have been a presenter at national meetings on media tactics and strategies.
This is an essential organization - with a 40 year history - working for social justice and a better criminal justice system in America. It has consistently had excellent leadership at the Board, Executive Director, and staff levels. Over the course of its history, it has been led by an excellent volunteer Board; past Board members have included Sr. Helen Prejean, who continues to have a relationship with the organization.
NCADP is a worthwhile, hardworking, resourceful organization dedicated to reforming our justice system. I served as a supporter, then a consultant, and back as a supporter marveling at the dedication of the staff - particularly their executive director Diann Rust-Tierney - and how much they've been able to do with little resources.
NCADP is well deserving of volunteers, donations and additional hard-working board members.
Here's to halting all executions!