I want to share with you an email I received this week:
Dear Sister Helen,
My name is Ron Keine. I don’t know if you remember me but I
was exonerated from death row in New Mexico. We met at the Witness to Innocence
seminar in Atlanta in 2005. I was the only one who stood up when you addressed me as we
all sat in a circle. You recognized my Catholic school "upbringing"
and commented on it.
I am writing this letter to relate to you the unsung hero that
is Kurt Rosenberg.
Kurt is undoubtedly one of the hardest working people in our
abolitionist crusade. I have been on several speaking tours with Kurt and can’t
help but to notice that even after we have all retired for the night, he stays
up till the wee hours of the morning working. He is relentless in his pursuit
of the cause. He has been key to getting our exonerees together and creating a
brotherhood and harbor light for us.
Kurt has built Witness to Innocence to be a formidable force
in the war against the Death Penalty. Kurt is far too humble to claim the honor,
but Witness to Innocence has been solely responsible for the phenomena in
Wisconsin of the educating the masses and changing enough minds of the populace
to see a drastic change in the polls. This can only be attributable to Kurt. He
planned our recent W.T.I. Seminar there to double as a base camp where he
dispatched our speakers to key speaking events at colleges, fundraisers, talk
shows, news conferences and media interviews. I don’t know the exact number of
events we did but I did about 10 myself.
The powers that be in Wisconsin had all but conceded the
battle as recent polls showed that the people were greatly in favor of the
death penalty. W.T.I went there and "rocked their socks". W.T.I. has gained the respect of the world of abolition.
Thanks for the "on the field report from Wisconsin" about our hero Kurt, Ron. I
could not agree more that he does massive work, real work, work that counts –
just look at what is happening in Wisconsin.
I have known Kurt since 1985 when we served together on the board of the National Coalition to Abolish
the Death Penalty. I love working with
him because of his zany sense of humor, wonderfully expressive eyebrows
(clearly an abolishionist’s eyebrows), generosity beyond the call of
duty, and his steady, passionate, year-in, year-out work to end the death
penalty. Not to mention the real, down-to-earth way he respects every person he
works with. And he makes it all
fun. I love this guy. What’s not to love?
If you are not familiar with the work of Witness to Innocence, take a look at its Web site. The Project, of which Kurt Rosenberg is the coordinator, provides a truly powerful voice against the death penalty. Here we have a group of former death row prisoners, who spent countless years locked up in death rows around our country, and who were finally exonerated of their crimes and released. Having survived that, these brave souls now speak up to end the
death penalty. These are voices we can’t ignore: through their own stories, they illuminate the unfairness, the capriciousness, of capital punishment and bear witness to how fatally flawed the system is.