Monday, March 19, 2007

Students spend spring break opposing death penalty

By: News 8 Austin Staff

Most think spring break is a time for relaxation. But instead of the usual R&R, a few teenagers came to Austin for the week to learn about the death penalty.

The Texas Students Against the Death Penalty sponsored the event as their alternative spring break.

One student was on the fence about capital punishment, and came to make up her own mind.

"I always heard it was a human rights violation, but I wanted to get to know the facts, and thought it would be interesting to get a different perspective," Katy ISD sophomore Zainab Alam said.

Their alternative spring break was literally a working vacation. They learned about organizing protests and setting up nonprofit chapters.

Some of these students intend to keep the ball rolling once they get home.

"This gives me a lot of personal stories and equipment to go back to my school and start my own chapter of Texas Students Against the Death Penalty," San Antonio ISD junior Sam Kohn said.

The TSADP is made up of both high school and college students across the state. Texas executed 24 people in 2006, 45 percent of the 53 total executions in the U.S. last year. Texas has executed eight people so far in 2007.

Pictures - top: "Day of the Innocence Rally" below: Sam "Innocence and The Death Penalty", a talk and question and answer discussion with Sam Milsap, former Bexar County District Attorney. Mr Milsap prosecuted Ruben Cantu, but now believes that Cantu may have been innocent. Cantu was executed in 1993.

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