Earlier this month, IJPC staff and intern (Allison, Andrea, Maggie and Mel) joined with other abolitionists to walk 83 miles from the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, where Ohio conducts executions, to the Statehouse in Columbus, calling for an end to capital punishment. The walk ended in Columbus, OH on October 10th, the World Day Against the Death Penalty.
The walk was structured with 13-15 mile legs each day with breaks to ensure hydration and food consumption for walkers. Many nights featured evening programs – a chance for community members throughout towns on the walk to come in and participate in conversations about the death penalty with special guests and walkers who had unique “voices of experience”. Andrea reflected on the ways people let the walkers know they were in support and in opposition. Each day, Maggie took something new from the experience.
Walkers appreciated hospitality from a variety of churches and community groups who provided a place to sleep along the way and delicious meals. People joined the walk for one day, half the week, the last 2.5 miles with a rally in Columbus, and the full walk. While walkers continued up Route 23, Allison visited her pen pal on death row.
Each person came to the walk with their own backgrounds and motivations for a common purpose – to provide witness to the broken system of the death penalty and call for abolition. From academics to actuality, Mel found her voice in the movement.
This event was jointly organized by Scioto Peace & Justice Fellowship of Reconciliation, Footprints for Peace, Intercommunity Justice & Peace Center, Ohioans To Stop Executions, and Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio.