An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.  - Gandhi
 

OK-CADP Speakers Bureau

Our speakers’ bureau includes people who will make presentations to your organization, faith community or class about the death penalty. Reasons for opposition are as varied as the people who discuss them. Our speakers run the gamut between professionals in law and related fields to folks who have lost a loved one to murder and/or execution.

To request a speaker, call 405-532-5443 and we will follow up with you regarding your request.

Our Speakers

Bud WelchBud Welch used to feel that the death penalty was a reasonable way to punish people who took the lives of others. He operated a gas station, went to church, raised his family, and was a “regular guy.” Then, Bud lost his daughter Julie in the 1995 bombing of the OKC Murray Building, and found that his previous ideas about life, death, and the meaning of forgiveness had changed.  He has become friends with the father of Timothy McVeigh, who was executed for the federal building bombing. Bud spends his time spreading the message of reconciliation.

Dr. Susan SharpSusan Sharp Crow, PhD, is Emertius Professor of Sociology and L. J. Semrod Presidential Professor at the University of Oklahoma, and former OK-CADP president/chair. Her book, Hidden Victims, is a compelling glimpse into the lives of family members of people on death row. She offers a scholarly look at the way we try, convict, and execute people, including some possibly innocent, and the effects of our criminal justice system on families, communities, and the rule of law.

rex friend cu photoRex Friend, J.D. is an attorney whose work includes death penalty appeals, and is the Society of Friends’ (Quaker) representative to the Oklahoma Conference of Churches. As an anti-DP activist and one who works for justice and mercy on many fronts, Rx is prepared to discuss the legal, social and moral implications of capital punishment and retribution, and ways in which we can use nonviolent means to achieve a more peaceful and just society. Rex also offers his experiences as a long-time activist and organizer of campaigns for social justice.

Jim Rowan pic

OK-CADP board member James T. Rowan, J.D. has an extensive history in defending capital cases. He worked at the Capital Trial Division of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System (OIDS) as a trial attorney and now as an Oklahoma County Public Defender. In 1998 he received the OIDS’ Capital Trial Lawyer of the Year Award for successfully defending Patricia Jones, Alexis Perryman and Thomas Loveless. Each defendant avoided the death penalty.

Originally from Massachusetts, Anne Murray worked for Morgan Smith Barney as a Registered Client Service Associate and retired in 2012. Since 1984 Anne has been a volunteer at The Peace House in Oklahoma City where she recruits, trains and leads the volunteer staff.  She has served as President-Elect, President, and Past-President of the First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City, and now serves as their Chair of the Social Justice Committee. Anne is a member of Moms Demand Action for Common Sense Gun Control.  As an OK-CADP board member, she advocates against the death penalty in various public forums.

Susan Bishop moved from New England to Oklahoma after receiving her Bachelor’s degree to work at the Oklahoma City Veterans Administration Center. After receiving her Master’s degree from University of Oklahoma she overhauled the VA’s Recreation program, expanding its mission. She retired after 35 years as a Kinesiotherapist and Chief of Therapeutic Recreation Services. A member of First Unitarian Church of OKC, the principles of Unitarianism called her to become a death penalty abolitionist.

Connie Johnson is a former Oklahoma State Senator and a 33-year veteran of the Oklahoma Legislature. She focuses on issues that affect the economic and social well being of Oklahoma’s poor, minorities, women, children, people with disabilities, and from diverse backgrounds. She advocates for sentencing reform and abolishing the death penalty. She received the OK-CADP Phil Wahl Abolitionist of the Year award in 2013 and, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Langston University with a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.

Rev. Don Heath is the current chair of OK-CADP. Heath has been the pastor of Edmond Trinity Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) since 2007. He received his Masters of Divinity degree with high honors (summa cum laude) from Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa. Heath practices law with the firm of Hirsch, Heath & White, PLLC in Oklahoma City focusing on oil and gas and real property law. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma School of Law.