Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Loyola advocates against death penalty

Anna Hummel
Sr. Helen Prejean speaks about her activism journey at Catholic Students event on Sept. 12. The department hosted a culmination of events to raise awareness against the death penalty.

The Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola, in association with the Catholic Mobilizing Network, organized a week of events to promote advocacy for death penalty abolition, in honor of death penalty awareness week.

A series of events were held both at the main campus and the law school, featuring a variety of speakers and educational programs dedicated to the idea that the death penalty has no place in modern society.

Kicking the week off on Sept. 7, there was a showing of the film “Dead Man Walking,” a movie based on the book of the same name by Sister Helen Prejean, one of the nation’s leading advocates against the death penalty.

The following Tuesday, after the movie’s showing, Prejean came to speak to students at a faith, work, and ethics luncheon, and at the Catholic Studies dinner.

“Can a family who is grieving and has lost someone to violence, actually be healed by sitting in a front row and watching as the state kills the one who killed their loved one, they witness this act of violence, and that’s supposed to heal them,” Prejean said, while speaking to the attendees at the Catholic Studies dinner.

Following Prejean’s talks, Shareef Cousin, who served years on death row following a false murder conviction, came to speak to two Catholicism classes, and on a panel with law school professor Andrea Armstrong and Executive Director of Promise of Justice Initiative Samantha Kennedy.

PJI is an organization committed to helping create positive change for people in the criminal legal system.

“For us, at Promise of Justice Initiative along with all the others who are fighting for people on death row, we believe this is a critical issue because the death penalty harms everyone in the system,” Kennedy said.

During the panel, Kennedy mentioned that 80% of death penalty decisions in Louisiana have been reversed.

“There is no one that wins, and Louisiana has shown itself to have a really egregious rate of reversals and isn’t reliable in terms of its prosecution and we have innocent people on death row,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy believes Louisiana is one of the states most affected by the issue of the death penalty, and its abolition is an urgent need.

“The Death Penalty is a barbaric act and it’s unreliable and we need to change,” Kennedy said.

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About the Contributors
Mark Michel
Mark Michel, Op/Ed Editor
​Mark Michel currently serves as The Maroons Opinion and Editorial Editor. He is a History Pre-Law sophomore. Mark can be found sitting in Audubon Park reading a copy of The Maroon. Mark can be reached at [email protected].
Anna Hummel
Anna Hummel, Photo Editor
Anna Hummel is excited for her position as Photo Editor. Anna is a senior mass communication major with a concentration in public relations and a minor in business analytics. She is passionate about telling stories through photos. In Anna’s free time she enjoys swimming, reading and art.

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