“They decide to purposefully recognize this date to bring awareness to the way the death penalty is still implemented in many countries and just try to bring about awareness that not just as a nation, but as a world ... we ought to be looking toward a civilization that abolishes the death penalty,” Lavelle said.
The Rev. Jimmie Hawkins of Covenant Presbyterian Church is on the Board of Directors for Durham-based advocacy group People of Faith Against the Death Penalty. He said capital punishment does not statistically reduce crime and he views it as immoral.
“It just doesn’t make sense that we teach society that killing people is wrong by killing people,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins said he took a stand before the Durham City Council a few years ago during their vote to advocate for the abolition of the death penalty.
“I think that we need to, one, get in line with public opinion,” Hawkins said. “The support for the death penalty is decreasing year by year — I think it’s at an all time low right now.”
Maciej Krzysztoforski, a Chapel Hill resident, said he doesn’t believe the state has the right to kill people, and he stands with Carrboro in opposing the death penalty.
“This comes about in tragic situations, and I feel for the families,” he said. “But it’s better for everyone if the cycle of killing ends.”
Kate Thompson, a Carrboro resident, also supports the statement made by Lavelle against the death penalty.
“I think it’s important to show support, even if the death penalty is not necessarily relevant in Carrboro,” Thompson said.
Even if it is something that the community isn’t constantly aware of or interacting with, Lavelle said making the community’s voice heard is crucial. She said ultimately she hopes North Carolina abolishes the death penalty.
“It helps us, as a community, to reflect at least once a year on the injustice of the death penalty,” Lavelle said. “It might cause other communities or advocacy groups or even governing agencies to speak out similarly.”