Saturday, May 31, 2008


On Thursday, May 22, noted authors’ Dennis Fritz and Sister Helen Prejean, teamed up together in Chicago, Illinois, to speak at the Saint Vincent Catholic Church at DePaul University—against the arbitrary use of the death penalty.
This long-awaited event represented a powerful combination of these two people (along with other key, death penalty abolitionists), whose sole objective(s) are to bring about the much-needed, greater awareness against the use of the death penalty.

Sister Helen Prejean is the author of Dead Man Walking, which was turned into a major motion picture in the middle 90’s. Her later released book, The Death of Innocents, is a powerful and poignant masterpiece, that exposes the in-depth atrocities of the death penalty.
Sister Helen is a true-to-heart abolitionist, and is speaking all over the county about her unyielding convictions against the unfair use of the death penalty. Sister Helen so eloquently combines her powerful presence with a witty sense of humor and directness that radiates her southern charm and intelligence. Her determination, dedication, and fortitude are deeply embedded in her plight to abolish the death penalty.

Dennis Fritz, who is the author of Journey Toward Justice—the co-companion book to John Grisham’s The Innocent Man— has been touring the country and speaking out about wrongful convictions, and the unfair administration of the death penalty. A major motion picture under the direction of George Clooney, is now underway about Dennis and Ronnie Williamson’ case. Both men were falsely convicted of 1st Degree Capital Murder, and spent 12 years behind bars before DNA testing finally freed them.

To meet Dennis, you would never think that he had suffered through a 12 year, never-ending nightmare, as such. His strength, fortitude, and courage are Dennis’ blessings to everyone around him. Today, his zest for life and liberty is greater than it has ever been. Dennis lives each and everyday of his life to the fullest, with a positive attitude and caring for other people—that is very rare in today’s society. Now, he finally gets to meet Sister Helen Prejean!
After Sister Helen and Dennis were picked up at the O’Hare International Airport by Elliot Slosar and Jennifer Bishop ( bulldog abolitionist’s for the State of Illinois ), they immediately had lunch at Giordano’s Pizza.
The excitement could be felt throughout the restaurant, as each of the dynamos for justice conversed and celebrated their long-awaited meeting. After lunch, the group traveled to the historic site of the St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church, where Sister Helen and Dennis would speak that evening to an overwhelming crowd of supporters.

While Sister Helen was speaking to a group of DePaul University students, Dennis got a wonderful tour of Chicago by the one-and-only, Jennifer Bishop. Afterwards, everyone met for dinner at a local nearby restaurant.

Dennis got to meet other powerful abolitionists such as Andrea Lyon and her son, Will, Jennifer’s sister, Jeanne, Private Detective, Mort Smith, Dominick Fortunato, and Bill Bishop—Jennifer’s husband.

The speaking event was a total success. Dennis spoke first, describing the horrifying events of his false incarceration. His very vivid accounts of the very painful experiences that he received in prison captured everyone’s attention—bringing tears to everyone’s eyes.
First and foremost, Dennis gave special credit to the Lord, and then (to his family ---- Mother, Aunt, and Daughter ) for giving him back his precious freedom that had been so unjustly stripped from him. Dennis said, “I am a happy man who has grown so much in the past year or so. I feel a renewed confidence and composure when I share my story with everyone.

Life is short, but we must live every day as if it were our last.” With that said, Dennis introduced Sister Helen Prejean, who immediately touched everyone’s heart through her powerful presence and speaking abilities.
Sister Helen described her monumental efforts in working as an author, abolitionist, and speaker, to abolish the horrid death penalty around the country. She spoke of the countless death row inmates that she had counseled shortly before their executions. Her strength of mind and courage came across to the audience loud and clear. Her years of first hand experiences in fighting the many battles within the legal system ( to abolish the death penalty ) greatly accentuated and fortified everyone’s feelings and hopes that the cruel punishment of death would be outlawed—forever!
Her mannerisms, gestures, and outright determination, brought forth feelings of admiration and love for her. May God bless you, forever, Sister Helen.
The following day, Dennis participated in a book singing at the DePaul, Barnes and Noble bookstore. Dennis met and talked with a great number of people while selling his books.
He learned that even the store manager, Debra, had worked for 6 years as an attorney with the capital death penalty division. Her presence added greatly to Dennis’ spiritual inspiration to personally share his story with every customer within the bookstore. Dennis said that he has fond memories of the wonderful people that he had met, and, so enjoyed the magnificent city of Chicago.

He said, “it is very emotionally draining and somewhat stressful, to go back and re-live the accounts of his nightmare conviction out-of- hell. But, it is worth every ounce of energy that I have to give, to help bring forth the change and education that everyone needs and deserves to learn about.”


1 comment:

Zathyn Priest said...

I've given you an award - pick it up from my Blog at the end of my latest post :)

Best Wishes,