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Help us abolish the death penalty in Kentucky: donate now

In April 2008, KCADP’s newsletter featured a front-page article announcing the beginning of The Next Big Step Campaign and invited death penalty opponents to make a pledge to support the campaign for three years.
The primary objective was to employ a full-time staff person who could dedicate time to building on our past organizing successes and to conduct an educational campaign that would bring more opposition to the use of the death penalty in Kentucky.

The Next Big Step Campaign is drawing to a close. It is clear from the list of accomplishments after the jump that those who generously donated to the campaign have had a significant impact on stopping executions in Kentucky.

When the campaign began, KCADP employed Don Vish as a full-time director. At that time Kentucky was on the cusp of five executions. During this past three years three death warrants were signed and one execution was actually scheduled—nonetheless, no executions were carried out and now the resumption of executions in Kentucky is mired down in legal and logistical complications.

Donors to the Campaign helped create the conditions that prevented these executions.

But, the death penalty is not gone for good. There remains much to be done to end the use of the death penalty in the Commonwealth.

KCADP Board Members believe now is the time to seize this new day and move Kentucky even closer to complete abolition by carrying our campaign directly to the legislature and prosecutors.

To be successful KCADP needs to keep employing staff. Right now we have one full-time person, Don Vish, and one part-time person, Kaye Gallagher, who works ten hours per week. We need to maintain the full-time position and increase our part-time position to 20 hours per week.

Please review the list of accomplishments produced by past generous contributions of members. If you pledged to  The Next Big Step Campaign, consider making a new pledge to The Full Court Press Campaign at the same or greater level than before.

If you have not pledged before, please consider doing so now. There is no amount too small.

If possible, we encourage you to make your first payment in the current tax year, that is before December 31, 2011.

Costs to employ staff and fund an office continue to require about $80,000 annually so the goal of The Full Court Press Campaign is $240,000 over a three-year period with the first payment due before Dec. 31. As in the past, we work with you to make it convenient for you to contribute. We will help you set up monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual contributions. We accept checks, money orders, and donations of stock. Donors can mail donations or use our secure PayPal account.

The Next Big Step Campaign contributions provided the resources necessary to find new allies throughout Kentucky and bring our case against the death penalty to a broader audience.

Your gift to The Full Court Press Campaign will enable KCADP staff, board members, volunteers, and allied organizations like the Kentucky Council of Churches, the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, the ACLU of Kentucky, and others to take full advantage of the informal moratorium imposed on the use of the death penalty brought about by court actions and the stateís inability to find the drug it needs to kill prisoners, we are in a unique position to press for full abolition of the death penalty.

In addition, it appears that the American Bar Association will be issuing a report in Kentucky much like those issued after studying the death sentencing process in other states. The pattern has been to look at the process in a state and point out its strengths and weaknesses.

KCADP believes this provides an opportunity educate the public about Kentucky’s process, highlighting any weakness and flaws that might be identified and urging citizens to call upon legislators to fix the process or, if it canít be fixed, abandon its use and repeal the law that allows it.

Your generous gifts over these last three years have brought us to this new threshold. Your continued support is necessary to translate the case for abolition into action.

Thank you again for your past support and know we are grateful for your gifts.

Next Big Step Campaign achievements

  • Signed up 1,000 new supporters for our mailing list at the 2011 Kentucky State Fair and asked the governor to stop signing death warrants.
  • An important study rebutting the thesis that victims survivors get closure from executions was proposed and supported by KCADP and is now being cited by Time magazine (September 2011).
  • The number of contributors and the amount contributed attracted the attention of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and the annual conference was held at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville in January 2010. NCADP honored KCADP Board Member Carl Wedekind with special recognition for his long service on the Board and his leadership in advancing the abolition movement in Kentucky.
  • Organized citizen influence on new lethal injection protocols now enjoined in the Franklin Circuit Court (that is,  there is no current legal way to carry out executions in Kentucky).
  • Contacted the manufacturer of lethal injection chemicals used in Kentucky requesting discontinuance of sale for use in executions.
  • Contacted European Union officials to encourage a ban on exports of lethal injection drugs.
  • Worked with interns at Chase and Brandeis Law Schools to oversee research on execution protocols and legality of death penalty under Kentucky Constitution.
  • Submitted serial and targeted petitions to the governor to declare a moratorium on executions.
  • Recruited volunteers and trained them in messaging for use in letters to the editor and for speaking engagements.
  • Prepared two guest editorials for WAVE3 TV in Louisville and various guest editorials for newspapers including the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald Leader.
  • Developed a strategic plan that includes outreach to faith communities to culminate in a training for100 pastoral leaders in November 2011.
  • Placed the death penalty on trial in more than 70 videos on the KCADP YouTube channel. Family members of victims and condemned inmate have contributed to this effort, as have many other Kentuckians.
  • Promoted videos by four victim family members from one Catholic parish that led to a major three-part series in The Record, the weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville.
  • Redesigned web resources resulting in a state of the art website with access to all the significant social media: a YouTube channel, Facebook fan page, and a Twitter feed.

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