Testimonials

Derrick Jamison

Derrick Jamison speaking in Colorado on a tour sponsored by Coloradans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

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Praise from abolition groups across the country for the work of Witness to Innocence – and we think they are awesome, too!

"Working with Witness to Innocence was one of the real bright spots for our organization in 2012. WTI's administrative staff was professional and easy to work with, and we continue to hear positive feedback about the exoneree’s talks months after his visit to the state. We could not have asked for a better experience with WTI, and I look forward to working with them again."
– Sam Kooistra, executive director, Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

"One of the most compelling arguments against the death penalty is the risk of executing an innocent individual. Pointing to figures in one thing. Actually hearing a member of Witness to Innocence speak is quite something else. We of PHADP rely heavily on the support of exonerees in our fight against the death penalty in Alabama, and are very grateful to Witness to Innocence for organizing these very important voices."
– Esther Brown, executive director, Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty in Alabama

"Witness to Innocence is an invaluable partner of Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (TADP), allowing us to share the stories of the exonerated with citizens statewide. Because of WTI, the stories of Juan Melendez, Shujaa Graham, Randy Steidl, and Ray Krone have been shared from Memphis to Knoxville, inspiring more people to get involved in the work for abolition. WTI also works with TADP to ensure that the stories of Tennessee's own exonerees, like Paul Gregory House, are also told."
– Rev. Stacy Rector, executive director, Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

"WTI speakers are well prepared, compelling, sobering, and delightful to work with. Our coalition builds consensus to end the death penalty in Indiana through education, collaboration, and activism, and they encourage us to work together towards this goal. IAC also needs to bring youth into the abolition movement. In holding an event on a college campus, we were able to reach many students. (The speaker) had them in the palm of his hand."
– Doris Parlette, acting president, Indiana Abolition Coalition

"When people hear the stories of wrongful conviction from the men and women who survived unimaginable injustice, they begin to think differently about the death penalty. This is why Witness to Innocence is such an important organization to the death penalty abolition movement. The staff at WTI are dedicated and helpful, and the exonorees are truly the most brave and heroic people you will meet. This organization succeeds in changing the hearts and minds of people all throughout the United States, and it is always a pleasure to work with them."
– Ana Zamora, program director, Death Penalty Focus

"Having the speakers here, visiting four university settings, helped to broaden the education of the electorate of a major issue with the death penalty, that being the chance of executing an innocent person. This is one of the three top issues that our OADP research points out is important to respondents to our polling. And it is a goal of OADP to engage more young people in our mission and work. That was advanced with this tour. I would recommend that other state organizations try this approach. When the geography works well, it is an efficient way to reach a number of people and get exposure in media in multiple communities." - Ron Steiner, chair, board of directors, Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

"Witness to Innocence is a remarkable organization of death row exonerees that plays an important role in the campaign to abolish capital punishment. WTI has sent its members to Virginia on a number of occasions for programs that have helped us broaden our base of supporters, by highlighting the risk of executing an innocent person as a critical reason to end the death penalty."
– Steve Northup, executive director, Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

"(The WTI speaker) motivated audience members to become active in our efforts to repeal the death penalty….He gave a powerful speech that moved many to tears…For most of the talks, the audience responded with a standing ovation."
– Ben Jones, former executive director of the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty and chief organizer extraordinaire of the successful effort to end the death penalty in that state in 2012

"We absolutely loved hosting (the WTI speaker). He was great to work with and his story is incredibly moving."
– Jennifer Kirby, coalition coordinator, Montana Abolition Coalition

"(The WTI speaker) was simply awesome! He is extremely comfortable with the most intimidating legislators, doesn't lose his cool and is very likeable. And WTI staff was very responsive and easy to work with."
– Sue Johnson, Alaskans Against the Death Penalty

“Witness to Innocence members helped to change hearts and minds at every level – from the average New Mexican on the street, to power brokers in the legislature, to the final decision maker in the Governor’s office.”
– Viki Elkey, (former) executive director of the New Mexico Coalition to Repeal the Death Penalty

“The decline in death sentences and executions, and the turning away from the death penalty by some states, are due in large part to the public’s exposure to people who have been freed from death row….Witness to Innocence provides empowerment and a strong organization to the ever-increasing group of people who have been freed from death row.”
– Richard C. Dieter, executive director, Death Penalty Information Center

"The speaker was very engaging…easy to follow and accessible, but also went into a level of depth appropriate for our audience. He was inspiring to our volunteers AND to us!"
– Rebecca Katz, Death Penalty Representation Project, American Bar Association, Washington, DC

 

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