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Saturday, December 14, 2019

10-06 Ashville Citizen-Times


The Journey of Hope is about teaching people to forgive. Bill Pelke, 54, of Anchorage, Alaska, lost his grandmother to murder 16 years ago. He has forgiven his grandmothers killer and now regularly corresponds with the incarcerated woman convicted of the crime.
"She's not the same girl she was when she was 15 (which is how old she was when committed the crime). She is very remorseful to what she has done," he said.
Pelke is the president and co-founder of Journey of Hope to Healing Inc., which is coming to Asheville for the 1st time today. They will hold a rally at 2 p.m. in Pritchard Park.

The Journey of Hope is a non-profit organization led by slain people's family members and family members of death row inmates who support alternatives to the death penalty.
The victims' family members tell stories of losing their loved ones and explain why they have forgiven those responsible for the crimes and why they are opposed to the death penalty. They also suggest alternatives to capital punishment.
The Journey of Hope travels to different states for 6 months of each year, and has also traveled through Canada and Europe.
Local organizer Pam Beattie of Candler said the purpose of the Journey of Hope is to help people heal from tragedy.
"This is to help heal people from violence. Violence is a vicious cycle," she said. "The Journey is teaching people to forgive, because that's the only way they can heal."
The 1st Journey of Hope was held in Indiana in 1993, and is a public education tour.
Sam R. Sheppard will be one of the speakers. His father was the subject of the TV series and movie "The Fugitive."
"Just because someone lost someone to murder doesn't mean they support the death penalty," Beattie said. "How is that going to help you heal? It just causes pain to another family."