Monday, November 29, 2010

Art Laffin Speaking is Germany Against Death Penalty.

Dear Friends,   
For the last three years, I have been invited by the Rome-based Community of Sant'Egidio (CSE) to take part in the "World Day of Cities for Life/Cities Against the Death Penalty Campaign" and speak about my experience as a murder victim family member. In 2007 I visited Italy, in 2008 I went to Spain and in 2009 I travelled to Mozambique. These trips were extraordinary faith-filled experiences. This year, from November 27 - December 4,  I have been invited to speak in Germany. I am especially grateful to my wife, Colleen, and son Carlos, to community member Kathy Boylan, and to all the extended Dorothy Day Catholic Worker community, for their support of me being able to make this trip at this time. And, as always, I am grateful to each of you for your heartfelt prayers. 
I can't believe that eleven years have passed since brother Paul was murdered. As I travel to Germany I carry Paul with me. I also ask you to continue to pray with me for healing for Dennis Soutar, who remains in a Connecticut prison hospital for killing Paul. 
Tragically, over 2,000 people were executed worldwide last year, and over 17,000 people currently await execution in various countries. Last year there were 52 executions in the U.S. I have been invited to Germany to share my story as a murder victim family member who opposes the death penalty and speak about Gospel Nonviolence.  I will be sharing with different groups, including young people, in several cities, including Munich and Berlin, and participate in a big "Cities for Life" event on November 30. There will be events in nearly 1,300 cities, including 62 capitals and 83 countries this November 30 to call for worldwide abolition of the death penalty. (See below info about the Cities For Life Campaign and sites for events in the U.S.) Thankfully, 95 countires and 15 states in the U.S. no longer have the death penalty. The Cities for Life Campaign is but one of many efforts to help bring about total worldwide abolition of state-sanctioned murder.

At this time of Thanksgiving, and as we approach the holy season of Advent, let us give thanks to God for the miracle of life, for the gift of one another, and for the countless blessings we have been given. And let us pray for each other, that we can deepen our commitment to stand for life wherever it is threatened. Let us seek to make the Word flesh in all we do as we strive to be Jesus´peace and justice makers in our violent yet still beautiful world.

With all my love,
 Cities For Life: throughout the world 1200 CITIES FOR LIFE, light a monument as a symbol against death penalty. They thus declare their participation to the initiative "NO JUSTICE WITHOUT LIFE"

Cities For Life

30th november

On November 30, 2009, more than 60 capitals and about 1200 cities in 81 countries of the world gave life to the eighth World Day of Cities for Life, with mobilizations, rallies, sit-ins, shows, public gatherings in schools and universities, and official commitment by municipalities and citizens councils. Each city that joins in this initiative makes available, as a “live logo,its main monument which comes “alive” because of different lighting, and as the subject of film shows which underline the engagement and the dialogue with the citizens for a world without capital punishment.

 The International Day, Cities for Life/Cities Against the Death Penalty, represents the greatest worldwide contemporary mobilization to point to a higher and more civil form of justice, capable of definitely renouncing capital punishment. It is an important opportunity to establish a dialogue with the civil societies and to promote the participation of the administrators in a process of abolition of the death penalty, capable of becoming a constant practice and an identifying character of the city that joins and of its citizens. In this way, opportunities of participation are also opened to vast layers of the civil society in areas where the death penalty is practiced, strengthening the initiative of activists and local organizations within an international network.

The invitation to the various cities to join the Cities for Life initiative and the responsibility for the initiatives is open to the collaboration of all the abolitionist subjects in the world. In addition to the Community of Sant’Egidio, the initiatives can be enlivened by the humanitarian organizations and by the most committed activists city by city. It is an opportunity to awaken all the people in general and more specialized groups (students, teachers, jurists, opinion leaders, administrators, witnesses and  the press).

The organization of the event for the ninth time, November 30, 2010, is under way. The general, global title has been consolidated over time in the message “No Justice Without Life.” The initiatives are concentrated on November 29-30 with the objective of fostering a permanent and organic participation of all the administrations of the city. The cities which participate in “Cities for Life” have at their disposal in the website a space where they can put on-line their initiatives for the campaign (lighting of monuments, public events, lectures, theater shows, etc.) and link their pages with those on other sites. In order to have one’s own city invited to participate in Cities Against the Death Penalty, it is possible to contact the coordination secretary (; and have access to the already existing materials for mobilization and communication (films, declarations and invitations to international witnesses) and be informed about the various initiatives in the world in order to be able to suggest a list of initiatives and actions to those who want to get involved and to those in charge of cities.



No comments: