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Monday, July 22, 2019

Journey of Hope caravans across Missouri

More than 15,000 people in 15 cities and towns across the state heard the compelling and compasssionate words of speakers with the Missouri Journey of Hope from Violence to Healing, March 25- April 3. A few million Missourians in addition, likely learned about the speakers personal healing "journeys," via media coverage. The project, coordinated by Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty, featured more than 100 talks predominantly by murder-victim family members, folks who poignantly spoke of their loss and their refusal to embrace the death penalty as an appropriate response to violence.
The Journey culminated on April 3 with what was the state’s largest death-penalty demonstration in decades. About 500 people gathered at the Capitol in Jefferson City for a rousing rally featuring a keynote address by Sr. Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking.
Immediately after Prejean’s talk, Rita Linhardt with MADP and the Catholic Conference, noted miracles do happen, thanks in part to people power. Just minutes before, she joyfully announced, the Senate passed SB 267, which included the bill to prevent death-sentencing mentally-retarded individuals. Sometime this summer we hope to have available for public viewing a videotape of the Jefferson City rally plus interviews with several of the Journey speakers. Stay tuned for details and join efforts by the FOR to increase supportive outreach to area families traumatized by a loved one’s murder. Call Jeff at 449-4585 for more information. We also encourage you to reach out to someone in your community suffering such a loss.

Bill Pelke, initiator in 1993, of the Journey of Hope from Violence to Healing, , is pictured with Doris Macha at one of two dozen Journey events in mid-Missouri. Pelke’s grandmother Ruth was murdered in Indiana. Macha, a Methodist minister from Lee’s Summit, lost her husband Glen to murder three years ago. She’s the coordinator of the newly-formed Kansas City chapter of Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation (MVFR) and will be working with the FOR to facilitate a statewide gathering in the next few months, leading to the forming of a Missouri MVFR support group and/or other regional branches. You may reach her at 816-524-4966 or