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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

1999 Tennessee April 11-

The first official day of the Tennessee Journey was Sunday April 11th.  It was a warm sunny day that was filled with much joy as old friends rejoined and new friends met for the first time.  The day featured 6 speaking engagements in Churches all across Nashville, the audiences ranged from Adults to High School students to Sunday School classes.
At 8 PM the all Participants of the journey gathered together for the first time to share in a welcoming ceremony.  Members of TCASK who worked so hard to organize the
Journey spoke first sharing their excitement at the start of a new journey.   Then several board members from the Journey of Hope...From Violence to Healing thanked everyone who had come, and asked everyone to remember those who could not come but were there in spirit.

Day Two:
The second day began at a very early 6 AM for some Journeyers.  The first event of the day began at 7:45 AM at a nearby Catholic High School.  The featured speakers were Bud Welch whose daughter Julie was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing and Sister Helen Prejean author of Dead Man Walking.  Their audience was a large gymnasium of students who listened attentively for over an hour, and when the speaking was finished many stayed to meet with Bud and Sister Helen.  One member of the audience revealed that they had lost a relative to murder recently and had not been sure how to express their feelings.  However after hearing the words of Bud this person no longer felt alone, and was able to express those feelings of confusion and grief.  As a Murder Victim Family Member, Bud was able to relate and offer support to this young person.  This was but one example of the impact that the Journey had that day

In all there were 15 events on Monday, and each had its unique impact on the many people who were met.  However, one event in particular stood out from the rest.  At 8 PM the Journey of Hope...From Violence to Healing Concert began.  This concert happened before a sold out crowd of 3,000+ people and featured artists Steve Earle, Jackson Browne, EmmyLou Harris and the Indigo Girls.  Half way through the show Sister Helen Prejean addressed the audience and told them of her involvement against the death penalty.  She then invited out all of the Murder Victim Family Members and Death Row Family Members who were in attendance.   The crowd cheered each and every member for their courage and dedication in sharing their stories.  The concert concluded with a reception attended by members of the audience, Journeyers and the Artists who had just performed.  Late in the evening, well past midnight everyone returned to rest, exhausted but excited from the busy day