Letter to Austin

At the suggestion of Scott Cobb of Texas Moratorium Network , I wrote an email today to Mike Martinez. Scott asked

Mike Martinez on Austin City Council

“For those of you who live in Austin, we are meeting with Austin city council member Mike Martinez on Monday to get his support for a city council resolution for a moratorium on executions. If you live in Austin, send him an email letting him know that it is important to you that the City of Austin endorses a moratorium…. The Austin Human Rights Commission has passed our resolution twice, most recently last Fall. The HRC wrote a letter asking each city council member to support a city council resolution. So, now we are lining up support on the council to pass a resolution.

If you don’t live in Austin, but you have connections to Austin, like you went to school here or used to work here, etc, then you can write too. Mention that you like to visit Austin, and you would like it even more if Austin would take a stand on the death penalty.”

Here’s what I wrote. I don’t apologise if it sounds patronising or naive. Texans need to know that the world thinks they are bonkers. The good councillors of Austin probably possess a degree of rationalism above the rest so I wish Scott and his team the best of luck in their continued endeavour.

Dear Mayor Pro Tem Martinez,
I understand you are meeting with Scott Cobb of the Texas Moratorium Network on Monday. As a UK citizen and global traveller, who has had the pleasure of visiting Austin on more than one occasion, I was delighted to hear that you have agreed to accommodate this meeting on a topic which continues to be contentious across Texas, the United States and the rest of the world. I am privileged to reside in Europe, where death is no longer an acceptable form of punishment, and I am confused over the chaotic criminal justice system which seems to be perpetuated in Texas.

Through the work of Scott and his associates, linked with campaigning organisations and Human Rights activists worldwide, Texas’ stance and record on capital punishment continues to be exposed on the global stage as a bizarre anomaly. It seems quite at odds with the advances being made in the United States in arts and culture, business and technology innovation, welfare reform and so on. On a personal level, I enjoy visiting the United States and have done so many times for both work and pleasure, but I have to admit that this crazy reluctance to consider reform of the capital punishment system has me questioning whether I want to visit the State on business again. I know that Austin has a fantastic reputation for its great quality of life, its arts, sports, entertainment, level of education and relative progressiveness. It would mean a great deal to visitors to the City to know that the Council have the courage to make a contrarian call on this most significant matter in the field of Human Rights. Please give open consideration to what Scott and his colleagues will discuss with you and lend your support to the matter of raising a moratorium on capital punishment within the Austin city boundaries. I am confident we will see change in this area in the coming decade; it would be so good to know Austin was one of the first districts willing to take a step in the right direction.

Thank you for giving this email your attention. Though not a citizen, I do have the interests of your citizens at heart.

With kind regards

Kathy

Hope it helps :-S

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