I've spent nearly 30 years - most of my adult life - organizing, educating, advocating and rabble-rousing to help create the change that we are soon to see - the abolition of the death penalty in the United States. I've been on the front lines, behind the scenes, in the court rooms and the back rooms. I've even been to jail a few times - on both sides of the bars!
Now I'm going to tell the stories the way *I* know them - from a unique insider, organizers perspective. In doing so, I will preserve the history of our movement and those I have worked with most closely so that our contributions are forever a part of the story of how the death penalty ended in the United States. More than that, I'll share the experiences, skills, organizing knowledge, and the hard lessons I learned along the way with the next generations working to create change on similarly tough issues.
My plan is this: Over the next period of months I will
- Develop my book proposal & secure a publisher and an editor;
- Gather and curate my writings from over the years;
- Spend time sorting through my photographs and other documents at my archive collections (with Amnesty International USA at Columbia University in NYC and with the National Death Penalty Archive at SUNY Albany);
- Travel to collect new oral/video histories with many of the amazing individuals I've worked with;
- Experiment with various ways of sharing the stories;
- Undertake other activities as necessary to document the history of our movement; and
- Keep doing the work in the various hats I wear until the job is done. (The hats I currently wear include Amnesty International, Ohioans to Stop Executions, the Abolitionist Action Committee and Death Penalty Action)
As I collect these materials, I will create short essays and video vignettes which I will share exclusively with YOU - my Patrons - on a regular basis. I will shape these into a book and a web-based document to accompany the book so that I can share good stuff that doesn't make the final print edit. I also expect to create a program of audio and visual clips to accompany me when I share my stories in-person following publication.
I can only do this with YOU, and I thank you for joining me on this journey as my Patron.
With you and a few others backing me, I can keep doing the work I am known for as a leading abolitionist while taking on the many tasks necessary to create a compelling book that people want to read. My ultimate goal is to build a post-abolition phase of my work that allows me to earn a living sharing our stories while inspiring and training future organizers working to change the world on other issues.
Thank you. Your investment as my Patron is a real gift to me. You enable me to stay with this work until it is done, and to ensure our legacy. Please check out the different tiers of suggested investment levels, and the accompanying ways I plan to bring you on this journey with me.
Yours in the Struggle,
PS: Confession: Some days I am tempted to walk away from the work I have been doing for nearly 30 years. Especially as compensated work in the death penalty abolition movement grows more scarce, launching a new career feels like the only responsible path for a man with a family to help take care of. However, I can't see myself not finishing the job. And really, someone has to tell the story!. I can only do that if I can find a patron or two. (Or in these days of crowd sourcing, 75 or 100!)
PPS: Want to help, but not get into the whole monthly commitment thing? Here's a link where you can send one chunk of change and be done! I won't bug you, but I will send the book when it's done. Thank you! One & Done to help Abe keep going!