originally by: The Workers World
published: 15 November 2012
They chanted, “Executions? Shut ‘em down! Racist courts? Shut ‘em down! Lying cops? Shut ‘em down! Sleeping lawyers? Shut ‘em down! The death penalty? Shut it down! The whole damn system? Shut it down!”
Close to 500 death-row families, exonerees, friends and activists rallied at the Capitol and marched through downtown Austin Nov. 3 for the 13th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Mark Clements kicked off the march by instructing the crowd that when he said, “Death row,” they were to respond, “Hell no!” Clements was arrested at the age of 16, brutalized by Chicago police, and spent 28 years in prison before finally being released for a crime he didn’t commit.
Chants echoed off the Capitol and downtown buildings, while signs and banners were held high. Shujaa Graham, Albert Burrell and Ron Keine, three death-row exonerees with Witness to Innocence, led the march, along with Clements and former Black Panther Lawrence Hayes, who spent almost 20 years on New York’s death row.