Here is the video of the art show and interview with Rep. Miles. Last Monday Rep. Borris Miles, D-Houston removed a few art pieces from the Death Penalty Art Show because he found them to be offensive. Yesterday a group of students went to his office during the lobby day of the Anti-Death Penalty Alternative Spring Break to ask him about his action. Unfortunately as you see Rep. Miles refused to discuss his action and ended the discussion.
The level of discourse in a state capitol building should not be reduced to only what is appropriate to children under 8. Creating public policy is not a g-rated Disney movie. We can not intelligently discuss the problems affecting the state by limiting how we discuss public issues to only what is suitable for a 5 year old. The state capitol is the one building in the entire state where we must be allowed to fully engage on and grapple with difficult issues facing the state. Lynching is a part of Texas history that continues to impact our society. Executions take place today most frequently in those states where in the past lynchings were common.
If anyone would like to read more about the connection between lynchings and the death penalty, read ” The Rope, The Chair, and the Needle: Capital Punishment in Texas, 1923-1990” By James W. Marquart, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, and Jonathan R. Sorensen. “This book is the single most comprehensive examination to date of capital punishment in any one state, drawing on data for legal executions from 1819 to 1990. The authors show persuasively how slavery and the racially biased practice of lynching in Texas led to the institutionalization and public approval of executions skewed according to race, class, and gender, and they also track long-term changes in public opinion up to the present.”