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Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break
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Volunteer for Five Days of Activism and Education to Stop Executions

March 12-17, 2005 in Austin, Texas

Alternative Spring Breaks are designed to give students something more meaningful to do during their week off, rather than just spending time at the beach or sitting at home catching up on school work. The specific purpose of this Alternative Spring Break is to bring students to Austin for five days of anti-death penalty activism and education. We will provide participants with workshops that will teach them skills they can use to go back home and set up new anti-death penalty student organizations or improve ones that may already exist. The skills participants will learn can also be used in other issues besides the death penalty. Activities include a Death Penalty Issues Lobby Day on March 15th and a direct action day on March 16th.

Students will gain valuable training and experience in grassroots organizing, lobbying, preparing a direct action and media relations. They can apply what they learn against the death penalty or in their activities involving other issues. Workshop presenters include Walter Long on "The Death Penalty in Texas"; Abe Bonowitz on "Organizing a Direct Action"; Brenda Bowser of the Death Penalty Information Center on "Working with the Media"; Dr Michael Young of UT-Austin on "How Movements Make an Impact"; Les Breeding on "Influencing the Texas Legislature" and perhaps one other workshop to be determined.

Alternative Spring Break Schedule
Scroll down to register

  • Saturday, March 12
    • 1- 3:30 PM Housing Check-in
    • 4:00 – 5:00 PM "The Death Penalty in Texas", talk by Walter Long, a nationally known expert on the issue of banning executions of juvenile offenders. Walter is an attorney who represented Napoleon Beazley and Karla Faye Tucker, among others.
    • 5 - 6 "How Movements Make an Impact: Lessons From The Past" Dr. Michael Young of the University of Texas at Austin Sociology Department will provide a survey of the impact of American social movements throughout history. He will focus in particular on the movement to abolish slavery and the civil rights movement and possible lessons for the anti-death penalty movement.
    • 6 PM “Live from Death Row” event organized by the Austin chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty featuring a live phone call from an inmate on California’s Death Row in San Quentin Prison. Calling in via speakerphone will be Stanley “Tookie” Williams, who was nominated in 2001 for a Nobel Peace Prize for his series of children's books and efforts to curtail youth gang violence.
      Free Pizza and soda served at first night's events. Location of all events will be announced later.
    • Evening Time on your own for enjoying Austin, including the SXSW film festival.

  • Sunday, March 13
    • 9 AM - Noon Petition Signature Gathering at Churches
    • 2 - 3 PM Training on Door-to-Door Canvassing (Rachel Penticuff)
      Held at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, 4800 Convict Hill Rd in South Austin.
    • 3-6 PM Door-to-Door Canvassing collecting signatures on moratorium petitions in the district of State Representative Terry Keel, who is chair of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence.
    • Evening Time on your own for enjoying Austin

  • Monday, March 14 Location for Monday's workshops is room 3.101 of the Sid Richardson Building (SRB) at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. Click here for directions
    • 10:00 AM – Noon Workshop: "Working with the Media" with Brenda Bowser, Communications Director of the Death Penalty Information Center.
    • 12:00 – 2 PM Lunch on your own
    • 2 – 4 Workshop: "Influencing the Texas Legislature" with Les Breeding, former legislative director for a member of the Texas Legislature. During the workshop, participants will learn how to interact effectively with legislators or legislative aides. This workshop will also cover how to convince student governments, city councils, churches and other organizations to pass resolutions calling for a moratorium on executions.
    • 4 -6 Preparation for next day's "Day of Innocence" Lobby Day. This time is reserved as a work period to finish preparing signs and the boxes representing the misplaced evidence from the HPD crime lab that will be used for the rally tomorrow. Participants should have already made appointments to visit their respective legislators before arriving in Austin.
    • More time on your own for enjoying Austin

  • Tuesday, March 15: Lobby Day and "Day of Innocence"
    Special Guest for "Day of Innocence": Kerry Cook, who spent over 20 years on death row in Texas before being released and exonerated. "Day of Innocence" is sponsored by State Representative Harold Dutton and co-sponsored by TMN, TCADP, CEDP, TDPAM and other groups. If your group would like to be listed as a co-sponsor of Lobby Day, just let us know.

    • 9:30 to 10:30 AM, Lobby Training Workshop for anyone coming to Austin just for lobby day. Location: William P. Clements Building, Room 103. 300 W. 15th Street, Austin. Parking is available either at meters along the streets or a short walk away at the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage at 1201 San Jacinto located between Trinity and San Jacinto Streets. Parking is free for the first two hours and $.75 for each half hour thereafter (maximum daily charge: $6.00). Map of the Capitol Complex.
    • 9:00 AM - 11 AM Morning lobbying appointments. There are committee meetings in the afternoons, so legislators are often more available in the morning. Legislative aides can be met with in the afternoon.
    • 11 AM Press Conference with among others Walter Reaves, the attorney for Cameron Willingham, who was executed on February 17, 2004. The Chicago Tribune wrote an article saying Willingham was probably innocent. It was a murder case involving arson that was very similar to the case of Ernest Willis.
    • Noon - 1 PM Rally on South Steps of Capitol with 280 boxes representing lost evidence
    • Afternoon: More lobbying at the Texas Capitol. Committee hearings in Senate Criminal Justice Committee and House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.
    • More time on your own for enjoying Austin

  • Wednesday, March 16: Direct Action Day
    • 10 AM - 12 PM Workshop: "Organizing a Direct Action" During the morning workshop, participants will conceive, plan and prepare to carry out a media stunt/direct action in the afternoon. The presenter for the direct action workshop is Abe Bonowitz of Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
    • Noon to 1:30 PM Lunch on your own
    • Afternoon: Continue Preparation and Carry Out Direct Action at Governor's Mansion. Pablo Melendez, Jr is scheduled to be executed on March 16, so the direct action will be designed to protest his execution. Melendez was 18 at the time of his offense.
    • 7 PM Review of Lobby Day/Direct Action and entire ASB (possibly over dinner somewhere)

  • Thursday, March 17: Departure Day
    • Students leave Austin when they get up if they didn't leave Wednesday night

Housing is available for a fee of $25. We will house participants in double rooms at a dormitory near the University of Texas at Austin. You will share the room with another person.Click the logo to pay the $25 housing fee by paypal.

You can also send a check for $25 to:

Texas Moratorium Network
602 West 7th St, Suite 202 B
Austin, Texas 78731

There is no participation fee for the Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break except for those people who need housing. If you do not need housing, because you live in Austin or you are making your own housing arrangements, then your participation is free, however you must still register, so we know how many people to expect. Participants are expected to travel to Austin at their own expense and pay for their meals and incidental expenses while in Austin.

If you can not attend the Alternative Spring Break yourself, you can still make a donation to sponsor a student who can attend.

Housing spaces are limited, so please register soon. Participants who register for housing need to bring towels, sheets and pillows.

If you would like to write a blog about your experiences at the Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break, just go to, create your own blog and start blogging. We can link to your blog from our website.

Registration Form for 2005 Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break

For more information, email us or call us at: 512-302-6715. If you would like to participate, but the $25 housing fee is too much for you (we know students have tight budgets), just email us. We can waive the fee for participants for whom it is a financial burden.

Click here to load this Caspio Bridge DataPage.

Co-sponsors of this event are:

Texas Moratorium Network
and Campaign to End the Death Penalty - Austin Chapter

Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break is supported by generous donations from the following organizations:

The Tides Foundation

Resist, Inc.

The National Coaliton to Abolish the Death Penalty.

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Texas Moratorium Network, Austin, Texas Phone: 512-302-6715