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Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights
2161 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA  02140

(617)-491-9600

info@
murdervictimsfamilies.org

 

Board of Directors

"Nothing is more powerful than the global voices of victims speaking out against violence."

Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, sister of Nancy Bishop Langert, murdered in 1990.

Speakers Bureau Contact Us Membership Donations News and Events No Silence,
No Shame

MVFHR members are veteran activists with extensive experience in the Anti-Death Penalty movement.  We speak with the tragic voices of those who know how wrong killing is because we have experienced it first-hand.  We have made a clear difference in many state abolition efforts and have supported many families who have met opposition to their beliefs from family, friends, and the legal system.

Our answer to the violence that has touched our lives is not retribution or vengeance, but a clear and principled response based on our belief that violence should not be perpetuated by our legal system when holding criminals accountable for their crimes and actions. 

The Officers of MVFHR

(Click on MORE for complete bios, photos, and personal links)

Executive Director: 

Renny Cushing

Renny Cushing is the founder and Executive Director of Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights. His father’s murder in 1988 has shaped his work as an advocate for crime victims and as an opponent of capital punishment. 

 As a victim-abolitionist Renny has been a pioneer in the effort to bridge death penalty abolition groups and the victims’ rights movement. He travels throughout the U.S. and the world speaking with and on behalf of victims who oppose capital punishment.  MORE

E-mail Renny Cushing
 

Organizing Board:

Bill Babbitt

Bill Babbitt was present at San Quentin prison when at one minute after midnight on May 4th, 1999 the state of California executed his brother, Manny Babbitt.  

Manny, the recipient of a Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam, was a paranoid schizophrenic who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He had been tried and convicted for the murder of an elderly woman who had died of a heart attack after a break-in and beating.

When Bill realized that his brother could possibly be involved in the woman’s death, he contacted the police and helped them arrest his brother. In return, the police promised Bill that Manny would receive the psychological help that he needed and that they would help see that Manny would not receive the death penalty. Bill felt certain that when confronted with the reality of Manny’s mental illness, the justice system would hand down a fair sentence but avoid death. He was wrong.  MORE

E-mail Bill Babbitt
 

Jeanne Bishop - Treasurer

Jeanne Bishop is the sister of Nancy Bishop Langert, who was shot to death along with her husband and their unborn child in 1990. Bishop has testified before Illinois the Governorís Commission on Capital Punishment, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, and several state legislative committees.    MORE

Renny Cushing

See Above
 

Rev. Walter Everett

In 1987 Walt Everett’s son, Scott, was shot and killed at the age of 24. For almost a year afterwards, Walt’s emotional state moved from rage to depression. He found it difficult to even go through the motions of his work as pastor of a United Methodist Church.

 It was only at the sentencing when he heard Mike Carlucci express remorse for killing Scott that Walt felt God nudging him towards forgiveness. Walt describes this journey as the most difficult thing he has ever had to do.  MORE

E-mail Walt Everett
 

Toshi Kazama

Toshi Kazama is a photographer whose searing photographs of  young people on death row bring a level of immediacy to the abolition debate that is often missing.

 The New York-based photographer worked eight years gathering the images for “Youth of Death Row: A Documentary Exploration” and then toured venues including many college campuses to educate audiences to the truth about the death penalty.   MORE
 

Robert Meeropol - Vice-Chair

Robert Meeropol is the Executive Director of the Rosenberg Fund for Children. He is the younger son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who in 1953 were executed by the United States Government for “conspiring to steal the secret of the atomic bomb.”

 Orphaned at age six, Robert was adopted by the family whose name he bears. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Anthropology from the University of Michigan and graduated law school in 1985 and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. MORE
 

Bill Pelke

Bill Pelke is president and co-founder of “Journey of Hope…from Violence to Healing,” an organization led by murder victim family members who oppose the death penalty. Bill is the chairman of the board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and has been a board member since 1996. He is also a board member of Alaskans Against the Death Penalty. He has spoken against the death penalty across the U.S. and in 10 countries.  MORE

E-mail Bill Pelke

Vicki Schieber - Chair

Vicki Schieber’s daughter, Shannon, was raped and murdered on May 7, 1998 while finishing her first year of graduate school on a full scholarship at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

 Shannon’s killer was not arrested until 2002. He is serving several life sentences without parole in Colorado and Pennsylvania not only for Shannon’s rape and murder but for 13 other sexual assaults as well.

 Vicki and her husband, Sylvester, both Maryland residents, testified in support of a Maryland bill that would extend that state’s moratorium on executions and create a commission to study the way the death penalty is imposed. She also testified in Pennsylvania for the abolition of the death penalty alongside former Illinois governor George Ryan and exonerated former death row inmates, including Kirk Bloodsworth.  MORE

E-mail Vicki Schieber
 

Bud Welch - President of the Board

On April 19, 1995, Bud Welch’s 23-year old daughter, Julie, and 167 others were killed in the bomb blast that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City.

 Bud had always opposed the death penalty but Julie’s death prompted bouts of anger, pain, hatred and revenge. He longed to see Timothy McVeigh (who was eventually tried and convicted of the bombing and executed) dead.

 After months of agony Bud began to question his desire for revenge. He realized that nothing positive would arise from McVeigh’s execution. “It was hatred and revenge that made me want to see him dead and those two things were the very reason that Julie and 167 others were dead,” he says. He also remembered Julie’s comments that executions were only “teaching children to hate.”  MORE

E-mail Bud Welch

Program Staff

Kate Lowenstein - Kate is an attorney and social worker with five years of experience organizing and advocating for victims who oppose the death penalty.  In 2004, Kate co-wrote amicus curiae briefs on behalf of victims' family members in two high-profile cases that were before the U.S. Supreme Court:  Schriro v. Summerlin and Roper v. Simmons.  In her work with MVFHR, Kate contributes expert knowledge about vicims' rights issues and death penalty abolition work and keen sensitivity to the issues involved in working with victims and helping them to assert their rights and become effective spokespeople against the death penalty.

Susannah Sheffer - Susannah has developed numerous written materials about victim opposition to the death penalty, including Dignity Denied:  The Experience of Murder Victims' Family Members Who Oppose the Death Penalty and "I Don't Want Another Kid to Die":  Families of Victims Murdered by Juveniles Oppose the Juvenile Death Penalty, both of which were co-authored with Renny Cushing.  She is the author of four books, and in her work with MVFHR she draws upon two decades of experience interviewing, writing, and editing.

Priscilla Caputo - Administrative Staff, has worked for several years with families and victims of oppression and violence developing and directing a variety of clinical and community programs to provide support and equal access to crucial services within the medical, legal, and social service systems.  She is a counselor, educator, and committed human rights advocate.

 

 

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