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Walk to Stop Executions: A Preflection from Ohio

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“…tell the Gissendaner family that I am so sorry. That amazing man lost his life because of me…” Just after midnight on September 30, 2015 after her final words of apology, the State of Georgia began to execute Kelly Gissendaner for the murder of her husband Doug. After the process started, Gissendaner began to sing. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see. The confluences of Gissendaner’s remorse scramble around my brain like ants running around their home.

 

Tomorrow morning, I will start walking 83 miles from the Ohio Execution Chamber in Lucasville to the Ohio State Capitol in Columbus. A few months back when abolitionists in Ohio asked me to help lead their Walk to Stop Executions, I couldn’t say no. Placing one foot in front of the other is the only path to abolition. Jesus walks too.

 

When I pilgrimaged 200 miles across Texas in 2014, the executed haunted me. This week will be no different. I will hear Kelly Gissendaner. I will feel Troy Davis. I will touch Kimberly McCarthy. I will experience Willie Trottie. I will speak Dennis McGuire. I will know Cameron Todd Willingham. I will experience them all. Like a fierce wind they will rage around me, speaking the words of God, “Prophesy to our breath!” I will…

 

While I am walking, my friend and fellow Texan Juan Garcia is to be executed on October 6. I clutch his picture right now. We only met once. I will never forget our powerful conversation. For two hours, we talked about the enormity of the love of God. I know that we deny the love with every execution. We got to get saved.

 

One day, we will stop our murderous rampage of vengeance…in Texas…in Ohio… and everywhere else. Until we do, I’m going to keep on walking.

 

Amen.

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