After seven days of walking this visit is exactly what I needed; it was very empowering for me. I was not just introduced to everyone vigorously fighting against the death penalty I was given important material to use while on my personal quest to educate and enlighten people on the injustices going on here in America. I urge everyone that is against the death penalty to contact the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and register as an opponent no matter where you are located. Organizing in such a way is exactly what we need. I remember in the fight to abolish the death penalty in New Jersey I would receive e-mails letting me know exactly when to take action and what actions to take. From writing to local news editors, to writing senators. These organized actions is what defeated the death penalty in New Jersey. Even if you are not sure if you are for or against the death penalty contact the National Coalition I am positive they will supply you with information that is accurate and free of charge.
After proper introductions I was met by Bill Pelke of the Journey of Hope From Violence to Healing who would join me on the road for the next few days. Before hitting the streets Bill presented me with two checks to help fund the Walk 4 Life. The first was a donation from The Journey of Hope and the second from Alaskans Against The Death Penalty. I was just about ready to walk across the entire country after this meeting. Being only a couple miles from the Virginia border I was joined by Abe Bonowitz an honor in its self.
The crew at the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Thank you all!
Before setting out to cross the Potomac River, Abe presented me with something that without question was one of the biggest honors in my life to date. He loaned me a walking stick for the next few days. This wasn't just an ordinary walking stick, this walking stick had a very significant history.
This walking stick belonged to Sam Reese Sheppard. SAM REESE SHEPPARD is the son of the late Dr. Sam H. Sheppard and Marilyn Reese Sheppard. In 1954, Dr. Sheppard was accused and wrongfully convicted in the brutal murder of his pregnant wife, Marilyn. The Sheppard murder case, now more than 54 years old and never officially closed or properly investigated, is one of the most well known criminal cases of this century. It was the basis for a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision (Maxwell v. Sheppard), as well as numerous film and television programs, including "The Fugitive."
I had no prior knowledge of Sam Sheppard before meeting Abe Bonowitz. See Sam did some amazing walking himself. I am walking for life, Sam walked for justice. You can learn more about these walks for justice at the following site: http://www.samreesesheppard.org/index.html
I will tell you that walking stick gave me a lot of power. I prayed for Sam non stop as I carried this stick. Thank you Abe, and thank you Sam.
The walking stick that Sam Reese Sheppard used to walk from New Orleans to Boston to promote nonviolence.
Getting ready to cross the Potomac into Virginia with Abe Bonowitz, my comrade, my mentor my friend.
On this 8th day I walked for Mark Scott Thornton.