Last Friday, the Emerging Leaders of the MD-Chapter of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators meet with Cherrell Brown of Equal Justice USA. Cherrell is currently organizing in Maryland to galvanize support for a bill that repeals the death penalty in the state. In the wee hours of Friday morning, the bill cleared the Senate panel, which tends to be a graveyard for bills seeking to get addressed on the floor.
I’ve known Cherrell since 2008 when we worked on the Barack Obama campaign together in Greensboro, North Carolina. At our first encounter, I saw her passion and her love for community. Since that time, she has been an advocate (and inspiration) of not just being vocal about injustices, but being active.
My opposition to the idea of the death penalty has always been based as a spiritual and moral injustice. How can we sanctify the murder of another human being, without first denying and ignoring our own misdoings? From a young age, there seemed to be something so flawed with the concept.
As Cherrell told us, there is still much work to be done in the state. A large portion of the bill that Equal Justice USA was pushing for was appropriations for victims families, however that aspect was removed during the Senate panel. Maryland Citizens Against State Executions has spearheaded the conversation in the state and will be collaborating with communities long after a final vote has been made.