By Wayne Allen
A number of organizations are coming together this fall to organize a walk to stop executions. The walk will begin at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in Lucasville on Oct. 4 and end at the Ohio Statehouse Oct. 10.
According to released information the 90-mile, 7-day walk is being organized in an effort to abolish the death penalty in Ohio. The walk is starting at SOCF because it’s the only facility in Ohio that executes death row inmates.
Scioto Peace and Justice, the local chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation coordinator Lorry Swain, said those walking include, Eric O’Neil, a retired laborer from South Shore, Jim Toren, from Anderson Township, Ohio among others.
O’Neil said in a released statement he plans to walk the entire 90-mile distance. He says his reasons for participating have to do with his close friendship with a man who has been sentenced to die in Ohio.
Toren said he became active in opposing the death penalty after becoming familiar with the case of Leonard Peltier, the American Indian Movement activist who was sentenced to two consecutive life terms.
According to released information, over the course of the walk, walkers will participate in nightly programs in communities along the route.
Nightly programs are anticipated to feature voices of experience such as the family members of murder victims, former death row prisoners who were found to have been wrongfully convicted, and others who have been close to death penalty issues.
Swain said anyone can join the walk for a short distance or for the entire 90-miles as long as they agree to the guidelines of the Walk. Those guidelines include a commitment to nonviolence in tone as well as action and abstinence from alcohol and other drugs throughout the walk and all associated events.
At the end of the walk on Oct. 10 a service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church at Broad and 3rd Streets in Columbus. The service is anticipated to include, presenters on topics related to judicial and extrajudicial executions.
For more information, contact Scioto Peace and Justice by e-mail at [email protected].
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT