North Texas Daily

Death penalty march comes to Denton

Death penalty march comes to Denton

September 06
22:42 2010

By Taylor Jackson / Staff Writer –

A crowd took to Oak Street on Saturday to show opposition to the death penalty.

The group of about 50 marched along the path from the Denton Square to Wooten Hall, yelling chants from hand-written notes.

“It’s barbaric, racist and classist,” said Brit Schulte, an art history senior, about the death penalty.


The rally in Denton was in support of one specific death row inmate, Rodney Reed, who was found guilty of killing his girlfriend. His case is up for appeal.

Rodney’s brother, Roderick Reed, spoke after the march and documentary about updates on his brother’s case and his personal feelings about the death penalty.

Shulte is part of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty organization at UNT. She listed the main stances of the organization.

The case has been documented in “State vs. Reed,” a documentary that premiered at the 2006 South by Southwest Film Festival and was shown by the organizers after the march in Wooten Hall.

“Those without the capital get the punishment,” Reed said.

The event was organized by the International Socialist Organization, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and Amnesty International groups at UNT.

It began at the Square, where organizers sat in circles on the pavement writing slogans as they thought of them on picket signs and talked about what kind of turnout they could expect.

It was the first of what the supporters hope will become an annual march in Denton.

Reversal and abolition of the death penalty comes down to grass root movements and student awareness, Schulte said.

“This isn’t going to sit on some politician’s desk,” she said. “It has to be a grass roots effort.”

Deathpenaltyinfo.org has statistics about the history of the death penalty. According to the site, the death penalty was once abolished nationwide in 1972 but was reinstated in some states in 1976. Since then, Texas has executed 463 people, more than four times as many people as the next closest state. There are 337 people on death row in Texas at the moment, and 10 of them are women. Forty-two percent of people on death row are African-American.

Joe Cartwright and Jacob Jackson, who have served in the Marine Corps, disagreed with the protest.

“If you can’t live by society’s rules, you basically gotta take ‘em out of society …,” Jackson said. “Why should we pay to cage them up for the rest of their lives?”

Cartwright also asked how justice would be served in the case of someone who “murders innocent people.”

Rally attendees heard from Rick Halperin, SMU’s human rights education program director, and Lily Hughes from Austin. Hughes organizes an annual march, which will have its 11th event on Oct. 30.

The death penalty, Halperin said, is “the human rights issue.”

The speakers took issue with Rick Perry, who is “executing at a greater rate” than President Bush did as governor, they said.

Jack Gillis, a political science junior, supported the cause because the death penalty is “classist and racist.”

For more information, visit www.nodeathpenalty.org.

By the Numbers

  • 1972 Year the death penalty was ended
  • 1976 Year the death penalty was reinstated
  • 463 Number of people executed in Texas since 1976
  • 337 Number of people on death row in Texas
  • 10 Number of women on death row in Texas
  • 42 Percent of people on death row who are African-American

Info courtesy of deathpenaltyinfo.org

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