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Thursday, May 28, 2020

6th Annual Fast and Vigil 1999

Starvin' For Justice '99: A First-Timer's Perspective - by Tim Stanton

The 6th Annual Fast and Vigil at the Supreme Court ran from June 29 to July 2 this year, as it has since 1994. I participated for the first time this year, and it won't be my last.
The event begins on June 29, the anniversary of Furman v. Georgia in 1972 which ruled the death penalty (as then proscribed) unconstitutional, and ends on July 2, the anniversary of the restoration of the death penalty (Gregg
v. Georgia, 1976). The four days consist of leafleting and talking to passersby.

Also included in the four days was a noontime rally on the first day, and a nighttime concert by musican and recording artist Steve Earle on the third night. But the highlight really is getting to know and work with abolitionists from around the country, and sharing the experience with
them–an experience that the fasting helps to foster. I was able to put faces and personalities with the names I'd heard often in this movement–such as Earle, Journey of Hope from Violence to Healing founder Bill Pelke, Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty director Abe Bonowitz and
really got to talk in depth with each.
Workers from Amnesty International, the ACLU, NCADP, and other local organizations visited frequently. Also taking part were VADP Board members, Joan Betz and Henry Heller as well as other VADP members who dropped by periodically.

Fasting is not required, but I did, and found it remarkably easy WHEN I got enough sleep - I learned quickly that the body doesn't like the combination of no food and no sleep. But four days without food can be done in this setting, with no food around and lots of people who can empathize with you.
I recommend the event to you for next year. I plan not to miss it, if at all possible.