Take action: Gov DeSantis plans to kill schizophrenic man in two weeks

Governor DeSantis is planning to kill a mentally ill man two weeks from today.

Duane Owen, the man DeSantis wants to kill on June 15, was first diagnosed with schizophrenia over thirty years ago. Two weeks ago, an expert concluded Duane Owen was incompetent to be executed. Nonetheless, a commission appointed by Governor DeSantis found that Duane Owen has no current mental illness and is eligible to be executed.

Actions to take:
•  Sign a petition and read details about Duane’s casehere, urging the Governor to stay the execution and grant clemency for Duane.  This link also has a petition for faith leaders.

•  Read threeaward-winning 250-word essays urging common sense on the death penalty by three of Hillsborough County’s top high school seniors.

•  Join Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP) and other death penalty opponents for the Tampa Bay area vigil to stay the execution of Duane Owen and to oppose the death penalty
   – Time: 5:00-6:00 PM on Thursday, June 15
   – Location: the northwest corner of Ulmerton Road and 49th Street North in mid-Pinellas County, a busy intersection near the Pinellas court and jail complex.
   – Park in the vacant lot behind Checkers.  We will provide signs, or you can bring your own.

•  Contact Governor Ron DeSantis at (850) 488-7146 or email the Governor (flgov.com). Prepare for your call or email with the essays cited above, with FADP’s excellent Florida Death Penalty Fact Sheet, and with the details of Duane’s case.

• For the latest updates and powerful analysis of the death penalty, sign up for Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty’s excellent email

From FADP Executive Director Maria DeLiberato:

Sadly, Duane’s pending execution serves as a reminder that Florida has a disturbing history of executing people with serious mental illness. FADP, in conjunction with journalist Alan Johnson, has compiled a booklet of stories shining the light on Florida’s shameful past. Read the first of these tragic stories here.

Every execution is a devastating reminder that Florida is on the wrong side of history.  But to repeatedly execute the most ill and the most vulnerable in our society is simply unconscionable. Help us continue to expose this truth about Florida’s fatally flawed death penalty system. 

Reminder: Vigil against execution at 5 tomorrow (Wed) at Ulmerton and 49th

People will gather in over a dozen vigils and protests around Florida to oppose the execution of Darryl Barwick on Wednesday.

•  The Tampa Bay area vigil will be at the northwest corner of Ulmerton Road and 49th Street North in mid-Pinellas County at 5:00-6:00 PM tomorrow (Wednesday, May 3).

Park in the vacant lot behind Checkers.  We will provide signs.  Those who are interested will gather for dinner after the vigil.

•  Please make sure you have signed and shared Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP)’s petition to stay the execution of Darryl Barwick.  This petition provides details of Barwick’s horrific, abusive childhood. For faith leaders, please sign and share FADP’s Faith Leader Sign-on Letter for Darryl.

•  You can also contact Governor Ron DeSantis at (850) 488-7146 or email the Governor (flgov.com). Prepare for your call or email with FADP’s excellent Florida Death Penalty Fact Sheet, a summary of reasons to oppose executions in Florida.


Jane Goodall Peace Dove Soars for Earth Sunday

Some years ago, Jeff and Kim Wells went to hear Jane Goodall speak at the University of South Florida.  Among other things, Goodall talked about a youth program she was sponsoring with groups around the world.  The program is like scouts with an environmental focus.  

One of the projects of the youth groups is to make these large Peace Dove puppets for parades and demonstrations.  At the USF talk, Goodall described how to make the dove.  After the lecture, Jeff found the instructions online and decided to make a dove for LUCC to display at the St. Petersburg International Day of Peace Celebration in Straub Park downtown.  The dove has been flown on several other occasions including at Circus McGirkus.

This year the peace dove was stirred from its rest in the rafters of the church garage and flown around the church lawn before the service for Earth Sunday April 23.

Poor People’s Campaign Rally Postponed

Poor People’s Campaign Rally Postponed
Excerpted from a message received from Rev. Chance Martinez-Colon:
The march and rally that the Coordinating Committee has been working hard to plan for this week has been postponed. There is a legal challenge in the works and I invite you to join the Florida Poor People’s Campaign and Rev. Dr. William Barber (tonight, April 26th) at 8:15pm via Zoom to hear more about the legal challenge and next steps. 

The very important work of the Florida Poor People’s Campaign is still ongoing and this legal challenge will help us continue to move forward together. 

To join the Zoom Meeting on Wednesday, April 26 at 8:15pm, please see the zoom id and password below:

Meeting ID: 897 7479 5728Passcode: 877540

I hope to see you there! Thanks for all of your support and your patience/understanding. 

Toward Building the Beloved Community,
Rev. Chance Martinez-Colon
Pastor, Spring Hill UCC