As Ohio prepares to resume executions after a nearly three-year hiatus, Amnesty International and Ohioans to Stop Executions are collaborating to educate and mobilize Clevelanders to reject the death penalty. Cleveland State University students and the public will hear a panel of experts Thursday evening (Nov 17 at 6pm), including Ohio death row survivor Kwame Ajamu and Murder Victim Family Member LaShawn Ajamu. The two will discuss what it is like to deal with the aftermath of murder from personal experience. Kwame Ajamu is one of three men exonerated in 2014 after a recantation by the witness whose testimony sent the three to Ohio’s death row in 1976. LaShawn Ajamu’s brother James was murdered in Canton in 1997. She now co-chairs OTSE’s victim outreach program.
“This event gives people a way to put a real face on an issue that is completely foreign to most of us,” said Marissa Beller, coordinator of the Amnesty International chapter at Cleveland State University. “The legislature is looking at aspects of this issue in their lame duck session, and our state might be resuming executions in January. We wanted to make sure people at CSU and in the Cleveland area are standing up to say that we don’t need to do this. We can be safe and hold dangerous criminals accountable without killing them.”
The panel also features noted Cleveland attorney Terry Gilbert and Abraham Bonowitz, State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator for Amnesty International USA and a staff member with Ohioans to Stop Executions.
WHAT: Voices of Experience: What would you do if it happened to you?
WHEN: Thursday, Nov 17 from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
WHERE: Mather Mansion Ballroom at Cleveland State University (2605 Euclid Ave)
- Kwame Ajamu – Wrongly convicted and sent to Ohio’s death row in 1976. Exonerated in 2014.
- LaShawn Ajamu – Sister of James, who was murdered in 1997
- Terry Gilbert – Noted Cleveland Civil Rights and Criminal Defense Attorney
- Abraham Bonowitz – State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator for Amnesty International USA
The panelists are available for advance interviews by calling 561-371-5204.