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On Tuesday, a group of women gathered in a conference room at the University of Michigan to speak out against the death bed.
“The death bed has been a symbol of women’s empowerment,” said Dr. Kateri L. Tackett, who is the senior vice president for research at the Center for Gender Equity at the university.
“There’s a need for the death room, and that’s what this is about.”
The group, led by a doctoral student, started to brainstorm ways to protest the death chamber.
They came up with a plan: They’d have the women dress up as death-row inmates, take a stand and speak out about the injustice in the death penalty system.
They even thought up a name for the protest: the “death bed.”
The women dressed up as inmates in the state’s death chamber, to make a point.
And they took off their clothes to show off their prison garb.
“We’re really proud of this,” said Rachel T. Lee, one of the organizers.
“This is an important way to take the power back from the system,” said the Rev. Mary Jane Wilson, a minister in a church in suburban Lansing.
“It’s a great way to challenge and show our strength.”
But the idea didn’t take off until the women decided to dress up and walk around the campus in their prison uniforms.
And then they took a stand.
“It was a really important moment, and it’s something we’re going to keep up,” Tacketts said.
The women are still protesting and raising awareness, but now they want to have a change in the law.
“The more people hear about the death-penalty issue, the more they realize that this is a real issue,” said Tackets, who said she and her colleagues hope the public will see them as heroes.
They’re part of a group called the Coalition of Women for the Death Penalty, which aims to change the death sentence system.
They say the death row is not the death prison.
The coalition is calling on the Michigan legislature to repeal the death sentences.
But if they’re successful, the group wants to take over the state legislature.
The group plans to hold protests at a number of statehouses over the next few weeks, as well as on social media.
Their message is simple: Stop sending death sentences to our brothers and sisters on death row.