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Monday, May 29, 2017

Our board (as of March 2014)

Marietta Jaeger Lane is Honorary Board Member and co-founder of Journey of Hope…from Violence to Healing. Her 7-year-old daughter Susie was kidnapped from the family’s tent during a camping vacation. For a year, the family knew nothing of Susie’s whereabouts. On the first anniversary of Susie’s disappearance, the kidnapper telephoned Marietta and inadvertently revealed sufficient information to enable the FBI to identify and then arrest him. Marietta asked that the mentally ill man be given the alternative allowed in capital cases: a mandatory life sentence instead of the death penalty. Only then was the kidnapper willing to confess to Susie’s murder, as well as to the deaths of three other young persons in the same county. He committed suicide just hours later. Marietta speaks about the death penalty in numerous venues throughout the United States – most recently at a Montana Senate hearing on an abolition bill. In addition, Marietta has given interviews to Vatican Radio, testified before the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, and spoken for Amnesty International’s Worldwide Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty in Japan and South Korea.

Bill Pelke is President and co-founder of Journey of Hope…from Violence to Healing. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP), Murder Victims Families for Human Rights (MVFHR) and Alaskans Against the Death Penalty (AADP). Bill is Cofounder of the Abolitionist Action Committee (AAC) and an incorporator of Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation (MVFR). He is a retired steelworker, a Vietnam veteran, and a college graduate with a BS degree in Pastoral Theology. He authored of a book, Journey of Hope…from Violence to Healing, that details the murder of his grandmother Ruth Elizabeth Pelke, his transformation to love and compassion for all of humanity, his journey of forgiveness and his subsequent work for worldwide abolition of the death penalty. Bill is a strong advocate of Restorative Justice.

Jo Berry’s world was turned upside down in 1984, when the IRA bombed the ‘Grand Hotel’ Brighton, England, killing her father Sir Anthony Berry. Jo made a personal commitment to bring something positive from this tragedy and to understand those involved. She chose to give up blame and instead start a journey of healing. Jo met Patrick Magee, the bomber, in 2000 and from that initial 3 hour meeting came a life long journey together speaking and demonstrating their ability to see each other’s humanity, dignity and respect. Jo has worked over 10 years with Pat sharing this incredible story in prisons, schools and Universities, International peace conferences as well as being a subject for an award winning documentary ’Everyman: Facing the Enemy’. Jo has founded the Charity, Building Bridges for Peace and is Chair of the International Network for Peace. Jo has dedicated her life to transforming her pain into action for peace, believing we all have our humanity. She shares her insights and wisdom all over the world, showing how we can all contribute to creating a more peaceful world.

Randy Gardner is the brother of Ronnie Lee Gardner, who was executed by the state of Utah on June 18, 2010, by firing squad, a first in the USA in 14 years. Randy bought 160 acres of property in northwest Box Elder County in 2002 and started Back to Basics Farm & Ranch. Its mission is to teach youth about farming, ranching and organic gardening — something Ronnie Lee had taken great interest in prison. Randy helps young people to give back to their communities and in turn to gain dignity and self worth.

Rick Halperin‘s entire life has been spent defending and advocating the idea that there is no such thing as a lesser person, and that all persons, regardless of whatever they have done, still have and remain worthy of their inherent dignity and must not, for any reason, be tortured or be put to death. Since 1972, Rick has been actively involved in the effort and struggle to abolish the death penalty in the United States. Rick works with many anti-death penalty (abolitionist) organizations, capital defense attorneys, representatives of various communities of faith, newspaper editorial boards, victims’ rights groups, members of the families of the condemned, and many death row inmates throughout the country. In 1998, Rick witnessed an execution in the death chamber in Huntsville, Texas. SMU’s Human Rights Education Program Director, he now conveys that experience both in his classroom and to human rights audiences, which he regularly addresses. His passion for activism has led him to participate in numerous non-violent civil disobedience demonstrations, some of which have resulted in his being arrested and jailed.

George White is co-founder of Journey of Hope…From Violence to Healing and over the years has served the organization as Chairman/CEO, Executive Director and – presently – as Journey Ambassador and Board Member. He is a surviving victim of a violent crime during which his wife, Charlene, was murdered. Shot three times himself he endured a more than seven year nightmare during which he became a suspect, accused, convicted murderer, and ultimately innocent man exonerated. He shares his personal story all over the world in a continuing commitment to end the death penalty. “What began as a horrible act of violence should not be memorialized by an act of vengeance. Her children, grandchildren, and I know that no amount of retaliatory violence will heal the wounds of our loss. Charlene White loved life, let that be her legacy. Not in our names, our hearts have bled enough.”

Rais Bhuiyan joined the board in 2011. Rais was shot in the face by Mark Stroman, who was on killing spree after 9/11 due to a vision of he was seeking revenge. When Stroman was facing an execution date Rais helped collecting signatures on a petition asking the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute Stroman's sentece into life in prison without parole.

Esther Brown is the Executive Director of Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty, an Alabama death row organization and chair of the Death Penalty Moratorium Committee of the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP. She has been in active opposition to the death penalty for 29 years.

SueZann Bosler, Journey of Hope...from Violence to Healing cofounder has rejoined the Journey boards of directors after a 5 year break in 2012. SueZann and her father, Rev. Billy Bosler, were attacked in the church parsonage by an intruder in Florida in 1986.  SueZann’s father was killed, and SueZann was seriously injured. In June of 1996 her father’s murder’s sentence was commuted to three consecutive life terms.  SueZann has told her story on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and to audiences around the country.

Reece Robert, Dale Kelley and Anne Feczko joined the board in 2012

Therese Bartholomew brother’s 2003 death drastically changed her path. Therese was a high school teacher when her younger brother Steve was shot and killed. The event became the catalyst for her pursuing a Masters in criminal justice, becoming an outspoken advocate for restorative justice, writing a book, and making a documentary film.