The May Voices of Change Newsletter is out. Check out what is happening with our member groups this month.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is an international treaty addressing disability rights. This treaty draws much from the U.S.’s own Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). By signing this treaty, countries are pledging a commitment to improve access to communities for people with disabilities and ensure that people with disabilities are given the same basic human rights that are granted to other non-disabled individuals. Despite the support of over 350 American disability organizations, 21 veteran service organizations and 26 faith organizations, this past December, the U.S. Senate failed to ratify the treaty, falling short by only five votes.
On Monday March 4th, a group of 10 disability advocates met at Senator Bob Corker’s Chattanooga office to discuss the CRPD. The group of disability advocates met with one of Senator Corker’s advisers to discuss why we would like his support of the CRPD. Ratification is important if America wants to continue its’ leadership role in ensuring the rights of people with disabilities. This treaty is important for our citizens here, but would also open many doors for people with disabilities to study, work, and travel aboard. The group voiced our stance on this matter, and we believe that once the treaty is fully read and understood, that supporting this treaty simply makes sense. With Senator Corker being the new senior member on foreign policy, we are hoping for his support of the CRPD.
Submitted by the Center for Independent Living of Middle Tennessee
Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (TADP) and Amnesty International Present Freed From Death Row: A Story of Wrongful Conviction
In 1992, Ray Krone, a former Air Force sergeant and mail carrier, was sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. The case against him was based largely on circumstantial evidence and the testimony of an “expert” witness. He was granted a new trial in 1994 only to be convicted again based on the same evidence. In 2002, Ray became the 100th person exonerated from death row in the U.S. when a court found that DNA at the murder scene pointed to another man.
“I would not trust the state to execute a person for committing a crime against another person,” Krone says. “I know how the system works. It’s not about justice or fairness or equality. Any chance I can, whether I start with one or two people or a whole auditorium filled with people, I’ll tell them what happened to me because if it happened to me, it can happen to anyone.”
Krone, who serves as the Director of Membership and Training at Witness to Innocence, the nation’s only organization composed of, by and for exonerated death row survivors and their loved ones, will be the featured speaker at the Freed from Death Row event on the University of Tennessee Knoxville campus in Hodges Library Auditorium on Tuesday, March 19th, at 7:00 p.m. Krone has spoken to hundreds of groups worldwide and has been featured in publications and on radio and television programs, including People and Parade magazines, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and Good Morning America.
Reverend Stacy Rector, Executive Director of TADP, will also discuss the problems with Tennessee’s current death penalty system, including the risk of executing the innocent. This event is part of Amnesty’s 2013 Human Rights Week. Other sponsors of the event include: UTK’s Department of Sociology, Africana Studies, Black Law Students Association, Department of Political Science, and the Department of Geography.
Parking is available in the lot on Philip Fulmer Way and Andy Holt Avenue.
On February 16, Tennessee Environmental Council along with several member groups, partners and volunteers will plant 10,000 trees in one day at sites in Nashville, Murfreesboro, Spring Hill, Lebanon, and Ashland City. A second date will be scheduled on March 9 to plant 10,000 more trees.
“Planting trees is the most sustainable practice, because it provides benefits for people, places and the economy,” stated John McFadden, Tennessee Environmental Council Executive Director. “The benefits are so ‘TREEmendous’, the Council launched Tennessee Tree Project in 2007 with a goal of planting or caring for 1 million native trees across Tennessee. We will plant 10,000 of those trees on one day with the help of a number of partners and volunteers.”
Trees offer a myriad of benefits for people, animals land, water, and air. Among the surprising and important facts:
- Communities with more trees have less crime and graffiti.
- Communities with more trees have less asthma and lung disease.
- Homes with a mature tree in the yard may be worth up to 10% more than a similar home without a mature tree.
- One tree can provide $130,750 in total benefits over 50 years including oxygen, air pollution control and reducing flooding.
Planting sites for Feb 16 include: Mill Creek near Oliver Middle School in Nashville, Garrison Creek in Mufreesboro – meeting at the Kroger parking lot at 2050 Lascassas Pike, the Campbell’s Station and Wyngate subdivisions in Spring Hill, The Compost Company in Ashland City, and Byars Dowdy School in Lebanon. The Council is seeking more volunteers and partner groups to help. Volunteers will receive free T-shirts and refreshments during the day, and are asked to register at the website www.tectn.org/10Ktreeday where they will find directions to the planting sites and other important information about the event. Registration is free.
This event was made possible by a generous grant from Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. The event is part of Tennessee Environmental Council’s Tennessee Tree Project with a goal of planting or caring for 1 million native trees in Tennessee. The event is also part of the Council’s Watershed Support Center including the Fish Habitat Restoration Initiative and the Urban Small Streams program. Shirts for this event were printed by Grand Palace Silkscreen and refreshments will be provided by Whole Foods.
Event partners include Bridgestone Firestone, City of Gallatin, City of Lebanon, City of Murfreesboro, City of Spring Hill, Nashville Clean Water Project, Chickamauga Creek Conservancy, Fish Habitat Restoration Initiative, Whites Creek Watershed Alliance, Middle Tennessee State University, Inside Track, Kappa Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, LP Environmental, LLC, Memphis City Beautiful, Schneider Electric, Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program, Tennessee Department of Forestry Urban Riparian Buffer Program, Natural Awakenings, The Compost Company, and Volunteer State Community College.
Tennessee Environmental Council www.tectn.org is a 501c3 non-profit organization that educates and advocates for the conservation and improvement of Tennessee’s environment, communities and public health.