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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

2008 Montana October 2-12

Jennifer Kirby left pictured with Journey Cofounders Bill and Marietta

Montana came close in their most recent legislative session. They almost beat New Jersey in becoming the first state to repeal the death penalty.

Montana Abolition Coalition (MAC) Coordinator Jennifer Kirby stated, “In 2007, Montana made history when the Montana Senate voted to abolish the death penalty and replace it with life without the possibility of parole. Though the bill failed by a single vote in the House Committee, the success in the legislature showed that we are on the verge of victory. The Montana Abolition Coalition is seizing the opportunity and the momentum to abolish the death penalty in the 2009 legislative session.
The Coalition recognizes the need to bring together murder victims’ family members, exonerees, and death row families, and have them share their stories with the public. So that is why the Coalition has invited Journey of Hope to Montana. We hope the Journey will change minds and help expand the support for abolition. We know that the speakers have the power to win us votes in the legislature.”

Notice she said, “The speakers have the power.”

Each of the speakers and others will be addressing the common claim that there should be a death penalty because of the pain suffered by the victims’ families. Audiences, after hearing these powerful stories of forgiveness, will have a new answer to the questions, “How would you feel if someone killed your loved one? Wouldn’t you want the death penalty?” They will be able to respond by saying, as Susan Sarandon did after hearing Marietta’s story, “I would want to have the attitude of a Marietta Jaeger."
Many of our speakers have been told at one point or another, “You must not have loved your family member very much if you don’t want the ultimate penalty for the killer.” That is painful to hear, but we know we are saying and doing the right thing. We know our stance honors our lost loved ones.
There is real power when people see forgiveness in action. There is real power in these voices calling for non-violence and healing. The healing power of forgiveness is God’s grace in action.
But that is only one part of the Journey. Five of our speakers were sentenced to death in states around our country for crimes they didn’t commit.
These are five powerful stories. We do make mistakes. Make no mistake about it. When it comes to the death penalty there is no room for mistakes. To date 129 men and women across this country have been exonerated after being sentenced to death for crimes they didn’t commit. Thank God they were able to prove their innocence before they were executed.
Some people say these exonerations prove the system works. Each of the exonerees will tell you that they were not saved by the system but in spite of the system.
We have four journey speakers who have stories to tell about a family member on death row.
These personal stories put a human face on the issue of the death penalty. People become aware of the humanity of death row inmates and realize that they are not the monsters the media portrays them to be. They realize that executions create another grieving family.
Several major organizations like the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Amnesty International, and Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation, and Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights – have been Journey supporters for many years.

Sister Helen Prejean:

“The Journey of Hope witnesses get on the road and tell their stories. That is what changes hearts. That’s why the Journey of Hope is so needed all across this land.

The movement to end the death penalty gained special credibility and life when murder victims families began to be the witnesses. You have people on this Journey of Hope led by Bill Pelke, Bud Welch, and others who have been there. The great thing that they give us is that they expose the illusion and deep political manipulation by those who have pressed murder victim’s families for the death penalty.

We tell the stories because people’s hearts have to change and be moved, but unless we bring them over to the other side to open up room for compassion, those feelings of outrage are so strong and so insistent that they beat down every other kind of argument or fact that you try to bring them because they keep thinking “What about the victims?” “What about the victims?” That is why we have victim’s families take you through their journey. Nothing can be stronger than that.

How do we change hearts? We have a Journey of Hope and we get people on the road. It is a very sacrificial thing to do something like this. It is hard. It takes dedication and it takes love from the victims family members to keep telling their stories over and over again.

Let us put our energies with theirs, it’s the least we can do. Everybody should become an associate of the Journey of Hope and do whatever you can to support the Journey financially. Your contribution is appreciated to help turn death states into life states.”


October 2nd HELENA 7:00pm: Carroll College— O’Connell Hall, Room 107
October 3rd LIVINGSTON 7:00pm: Center for Arts & Culture (119 South Main Street) / BIG TIMBER 5:30pm: Carnegie Public Library, meeting room (314 McLeod Street)
October 4th ENNIS 8:00pm: St. Patrick Parish (Highway 287) / BOZEMAN 4:30pm: Bozeman Public Library (626 East Main Street) / Special Topic: Race and Economic Inequality and the Death Penalty / BOZEMAN Flagship Event
7:00pm: Montana State University, Ballroom A
October 5th DEER LODGE 10:00am: St. Mary’s Center (600 St. Mary's Avenue) / KALISPELL Noon: St. Matthew’s Catholic Parish (601 1st Avenue West) / ANACONDA 2:00pm: Anaconda Catholic Community Parish Center / DILLON
8:30pm: UM-Western, Lewis & Clark Room (710 S. Atlantic Street) / BUTTE Flagship Event 6:00pm: Immaculate Conception Parish (Caledonia St and N Western Ave)
October 6th CHARLO 6:00pm: Mission Valley United Methodist (70715 U.S. Highway 93) / THOMPSON FALLS 7:00pm: St. William Parish (416 Preston Avenue) / PLAINS 7:00pm: First Lutheran Church (604 South 5th Street) / EUREKA 7:00pm: Our Lady of Mercy (500 Dewey Avenue) / KALISPELL Flagship Event 7:00pm: Museum at Central School (134 2nd Avenue East)
October 7th SUPERIOR Noon: United Methodist Church (205 1st Street) / HAMILTON 1:00pm: 1st Presbyterian Church (1220 W. Main Street) / 6:00pm: St. Paul's Episcopal (600 S. 3rd Street)
October 7th MISSOULA 11:30am: U of M Center for Ethics (1000 E. Beckwith Avenue) / Noon: Jeanette Rankin Peace Center (519 S Higgins Avenue) Special Topic: The Peace Movement and the Death Penalty / MISSOULA Flagship Event 7:30PM: University of Montana - University Center Ballroom
October 8th ARLEE 6:30pm: Sacred Heart Mission (747 Hi Francis Rd) / CHESTER 5:30pm: Our Savior Lutheran Church (10 East Madison Avenue) / HAVRE 7:00pm: Saint Jude Parish Center (440 7th Avenue North) / GREAT FALLS Noon: Great Falls Public Library (301 2nd Avenue North) / Special Topic: Race and Economic Inequality and the Death Penalty / GREAT FALLS Flagship Event 7:00PM: Holy Spirit Parish - 201 44th Street South
October 9th KALISPELL 12:30pm: Risen Christ Church Parish Center (65 W. Evergreen Dr.) / WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS 6:00pm: Senior Citizen’s Center (101 1st Avenue) / HELENA 7:00pm: St. Mary’s Catholic Community (1700 Missoula Ave) / BOULDER 7:00pm: United Methodist Church (201 West Centennial)
October 10th EAST HELENA 1:30pm: Sts. Cyril and Methodius (120 W Riggs St) / HELENA Noon: Lewis & Clark Public Library (120 Last Chance Gulch) / Special Topic: Race and Economic Inequality and the Death Penalty / World Day Against the Death Penalty / 7:00PM: HELENA Flagship Event / Helena Middle School Auditorium (1025 N. Rodney St)
October 11th MILES CITY 6:00pm: Miles Community College, Room 106 (2715 Dickenson St)
October 12th BILLINGS  10:30am: Holy Rosary Parish (521 Custer Ave)