Survivor Family Member Letter
Thank you for using your voice of experience of losing a loved one to homicide to end the death penalty. By providing your email address, we will keep you updated on this letter and our work. The remaining responses will accompany your name on the letter. Anyone who lives in North Carolina who has lost a family member to homicide or anyone who has lost a family member to a homicide in North Carolina is welcome to sign the letter. Please email with any questions. 

Dear Governor Cooper:

Each of us has had a loved one taken from us by homicide. At a moment none of us could have predicted or prepared for, senseless violence took from us children, parents, spouses, siblings and other loved ones. Our direct experiences with the legal system and our struggles with grief have led us all to the same conclusion: The death penalty fails victims’ families. 

We reject the premise that the execution of a person, even one who committed murder, could somehow bring us justice or closure. Having suffered the unnecessary, intentional death of a loved one, we don’t wish that fate on other families. An execution can not bring our family members back to life. Instead, it perpetuates the violence.

We believe in the dignity and worth of every person, including those who have committed heinous crimes. We believe in the possibility of redemption for all people. Death sentences do not challenge offenders to take responsibility or transform their lives. Death sentences declare them unworthy of living. 

Nothing can erase the pain our families have experienced, but we can honor the memory of our loved ones, by working to end the death penalty and for effective responses to  violence. We want a legal system that holds people who commit violence accountable in meaningful ways, reduces crime and is responsive to survivors’ needs. Instead of investing our State’s resources, time and effort in executing our citizens, we should invest in solving cold cases, reducing crime and violence and addressing the needs of families like ours.

We urge you to commute the death sentences of everyone on North Carolina’s death row and abandon our state’s failed death penalty system.


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Email *
What is your name, as it should appear on the letter? *
Where do you live (city or county, state)? *
Where was your loved one killed (city or county, state)? *
What is your relationship to your loved one (for example, are they your son or mother or cousin or step-father) *
What is your loved one's name? (note this is optional)
Is there anything else you'd like to say or let us know. For example, you might share why signing this letter is important to you. We will contact you for permission before sharing your comment with anyone.
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