One-on-One features recorded conversations on a range of topics pertinent to our work: theory and praxis of oral history; storytelling; the criminal justice system in Texas; restorative justice and restorative dialogue; conflict transformation; victims’ services in Texas; death penalty history and jurisprudence; Texas history, and more. While our oral history interviews follow the life history method, these interviews are generally briefer and more focused. We engage our interviewees in reflective conversation on topics related to their interests and expertise. You can find clips from these conversations here on our YouTube channel.
February 2014: One-on-One with Francis Ssuubi
Francis Ssuubi is the director of Wells of Hope, a nonprofit in Uganda that serves children and families of prisoners, including death row inmates. Francis is also a death penalty abolitionist. Francis has visited Texas twice, to attend the Prisoners’ Families Conference, and to network with donors and others interested in global criminal justice issues. While we focus on the effects and histories of the death penalty in Texas, we are also aware that the death penalty has global relevance and consequence. In fact, these histories of the death penalty highlight global systems that both link and divide people across national borders.
Francis and TAVP founder Walter Long took part in a workshop in Geneva, Switzerland in February 2013 organized by the Quaker United Nations Organization to prepare for a panel presented to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2013 on the needs and rights of children of death row inmates around the world. Francis participated on this historic panel.
December 2013: One-on-One with Sister Helen Prejean
Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J., is a Roman Catholic nun, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph and a leader American advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. She is perhaps best known for her book Dead Man Walking, which was later made into a film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. She also founded Survive, an organization devoted to providing counseling to the families of victims of violence.
Sister Helen was in Texas in December 2013, visiting Cathy Henderson, for whom she serves as spiritual advisor. TAVP had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Sister Helen about the importance of storytelling to her work; the importance of listening; spaces of storytelling; and her thoughts on the 20th anniversary of her book Dead Man Walking.