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Civil Rights Advocates: Don’t Kill on Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday

For Immediate Release January 15, 2015

Media Contact/Inquires:
Christy Setzer
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
[email protected]

Stacie Royster
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
[email protected]

Washington, DC—On Thursday, January 15th, the states of Oklahoma and Florida are scheduled to conduct their first executions of 2015 by putting to death Charles Frederick Warner and Johnny Kormondy, respectively. Although the national observance is the following Monday, January 15th also marks the birthday of renowned nonviolent civil rights activist and anti-death penalty advocate Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his efforts in combating racial inequality through nonviolence. Dr. King said of the death penalty, “I do not think that God approves of the death penalty for any crime, rape and murder included. Capital punishment is against the better judgment of modern criminology and above all, against the highest expression of love in the nature of God.”

Said Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and Barbara Arnwine, Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

“The death penalty has no place within the moral framework of a more peaceful and just society, for which Dr. King gave his life Oklahoma and Florida mar the remembrance of this great man by choosing his birthday as the day  for executions. .  All who honor the memory of Dr. King must be jarred and disturbed by the sad spectacle of two executions on the day that marks his birth. We are appalled by the lack of sensitivity and poor judgment being demonstrated here.” 

About The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Lawyers' Committee, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The Lawyers' Committee celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 as it continued its quest of "Moving America Toward Justice." The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending, community development, employment, voting, education and environmental justice.

For more information about the Lawyers' Committee, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.

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