Sister Helen Prejean: World renowned leader against the Death Penalty and author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States. Sr. Helen's second book, The Death of Innocents chronicled the problems with wrongful convictions in the United States, and her newly published book, River of Fire, examines the spiritual journey which led her to a life of working for social justice. Join us also for An Evening with Sr. Helen Prejean, Friday, Oct 11 at 7pm.
Dr. Chris Brown: grew up visiting his father on death row. The author of Child of Grace: A Death Row Story, Dr. Brown writes from his extensive experience of loving someone through failure and finding grace in the midst of difficult trials.
Bill Pelke: Author of Journey of Hope...From Violence to Healing and founder of the organization by the same name, Bill's life was changed when he begged God for love and compassion for Paula Cooper, a 15-year-old girl sent to death row for the murder of Bill's grandmother. Bill's prayer was answered, and he has been a leading voice for the healing power of forgiveness and alternatives to the death penalty ever since.
Rev. Sharon Risher: Catapulted into the limelight after the Charleston, S.C. church shooting in 2015 when her mother was killed along with eight others, including two cousins and a childhood friend. Since that horrific tragedy, Rev. Risher and her community have set powerful example for how communities might respond in the aftermath of the unthinkable.
Shane Claiborne: Christian Speaker, Activist, and Bestselling Author of titles including Executing Grace: How the Death Penalty Killed Jesus and Why it's Killing Us, Shane speaks regularly at denominational gatherings, festivals, and conferences around the globe.
Kwame Ajamu: Ohio Death Row Exoneree and Board Chairman of Witness to Innocence, an organization composed of and led by exonerated death row survivors and their family members. Its mission is to abolish the death penalty by empowering exonerees and their loved ones.
Charles Keith: (Pictured left). Through unwavering commitment and belief in the innocence of his brother, former death row inmate Kevin Keith, Charles was instrumental in causing Kevin's death sentence to be commuted to life in prison by then-Gov. Strickland weeks before his scheduled execution in 2010. Charles is still fighting for Kevin's freedom.
8am: Registration and Resources Open
9am: Welcome Plenary
9:45am: Keynote Plenary: The Healing Power of Forgiveness – moderated by Bill Pelke with Rev. Sharon Risher. Response by Sr. Helen Prejean.
11:30am: What do Murder Victim Families Need? – with Rev. Sharon Risher, LaShawn Ajamu, and Melinda Elkins-Dawson. Moderated by Abraham Bonowitz.
12:45pm: Break - Food provided
1:30pm: The Other Victims: Families of the Executed & Those Facing Execution – with Dr. Chris Brown, Charles Keith, and Shane Claiborne, Terri Steinberg, and Rhonda Labroi.
3pm: Surviving the Death Penalty: Exonerees & Advocates – featuring exonerated Ohio death row survivors Kwame Ajamu, Derrick Jamison and Joe D’Ambrosio.
4pm: Ohio Death Penalty status report, Advocacy next steps and call to action, Closing Reflection and Send Off.