Alt Spring Break
Peter Rothberg Fri Mar 9, 6:01 PM ET
The Nation -- If you're a high school or college student, you can use your spring break to become a part of the next generation of human rights leaders.
Taking place in Austin, Texas from March 12 to 16, the 2007 Anti-Death Penalty Spring Break, organized by Texas Students Against the Death Penalty and co-sponsored by Campus Progress, Amnesty International and Texas Moratorium Network, among numerous other good groups, will draw national attention to the continued use of capital punishment in the US.
Why Texas? Texas leads the nation by far in number of executions. The Lone Star State performed 45 percent of all the executions in the United States in 2006. Since the US Supreme Court ruling in 1976 that allowed executions to resume after a four-year period during which they were considered unconstitutional, there have been 1058 executions in the United States. Texas has performed 380 of those executions, which amounts to about 35 percent of the national total. Texas is ground zero for the implementation of what most of the rest of the world considers cruel and unusual punishment so it needs to also be the focus of any effective movement to repeal the practice.
There's noting wrong with partying at the beach but Alternative Spring Breaks are designed to give students something more meaningful to do during their week off than hanging out or catching up on school work. As the organizers are saying, "go to the beach to change your state of mind for a week, come to Austin to change the world forever."
The specific purpose of this year's Break is to bring students to the Texas state capital for five days of anti-death penalty activism, education and entertainment. And don't think this activist version of spring break is without any glitz--the events from Austin will be featured on The Amazing Break, an MTV show featuring alternatives to beer and beaches.