LifeLines Spring Conference - Saturday 7th April 2018
Human Rights Action Centre, New Inn Yard, London EC2 3EA Doors open 10.00 am, conference starts 10.30am and finishes 4.30pm
to mark the 30th Anniversary of the creation of LifeLines there will be
no entrance charge for the conferences during 2018. The conferences are
open to everyone and friends and family of members are welcome,
however, venue restrictions do not allow the admittance of those under
18, including babies.
Booking in advance is
vital to ensure there are sufficient attendees to justify the
expenditure that will be incurred by LifeLines.
You can just turn up on the day but you may not be admitted if there are insufficient places.
LifeLines members who have attended previous conferences may remember times when we have ‘accidentally’ been fortunate enough to have two speakers for the price of one, so to speak, such as exonerated prisoner Joe D’Ambrosio (2014) and his travelling companion Father Neil Kookoothe, who have joined in and given their unique, moving and sometimes hilarious perspectives on their friends’ fights for justice.
With this in mind, we are delighted to mark LifeLines’ 30th anniversary with two inspiring speakers, who each have their own extraordinary story to tell – and who also just happen to be married to each other.
Kwame Ajamu, formerly known as Ronnie Bridgeman), was just 17 years old in 1975 when he, his brother Wiley Bridgeman and their friend Ricky Jackson were arrested and convicted of the murder of a businessman in Cleveland, Ohio on the testimony of a 13-year old child.No forensic evidence linked any of them to the crime, and all had credible alibis. All three were sent to death row.Their death sentences were later commuted to life terms, and Kwame was released in 2003.However, he was labelled a guilty man until 2014, when the prosecution's star witness recanted his testimony and stated that he had been coerced by the police. Kwame, his brother and their friend were finally fully exonerated, nearly four decades after their arrest. Afterwards, he told the court: "It's my hope going forward that we don’t have to wait another forty years for the next Kwame Ajamu, Wiley Bridgeman, Ricky Jackson. It’s my hope from this day on we can stop ignoring what is obvious in the criminal justice system and move forward with peace and love.”
He added that he hoped to meet Eddie Vernon, now in his fifties, to tell him he understands and bears him no ill will. As Kwame was adjusting to life on the outside, he met a woman who helped him when he couldn’t find the right bus, and a year later, they married after she proposed to him.Kwame describes LaShawn as his best friend and greatest supporter.
LaShawn Ajamu’s brother, James Nero, was killed in a road-rage incident in 1997, shot after asking for the other driver’s insurance details.He was 20 years old, father to a baby boy and engaged to be married.The family were left to cope with their grief and pain with no support or information about resources available to help from the state whatsoever.
The family had to learn to live with their loss by themselves.But they knew that the death penalty was not the answer.Executing James’s murderer would not bring him back, and the family could begin the healing process after the trial was over, instead of enduring perhaps decades of appeals and court hearings with attendant publicity.
LaShawn campaigns for abolitions and in her role as co-chair of the Murder Victims Families Support Project of Ohians to Stop Executions, she has called for rejection of the myth that executions always help victims’ families, and for resources to be redirected from funding executions to providing comprehensive support to help recovery and grieving.
Do come along to meet LaShawn and Kwame and hear their stories, if you possibly can.
There will also be more talks and discussions on topics of interest to LifeLines members. Very importantly, there will be plenty of time to meet new friends and catch up with old ones, and meet others writing to your state.
The Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre is located off Shoreditch High Street and Great Eastern Street in central London. The nearest tube stations are Shoreditch High St (3 minutes’ walk), Liverpool St and Old St (both 10-15 minutes’ walk). Parking is extremely limited and expensive, so driving is not recommended, but there are numerous buses, and taxis are available at Liverpool St station.
The venue is fully accessible. Complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits will be available on arrival and during the afternoon break. There are several cafes and shops very close by, or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch.
Advance booking for the Spring Conference.
Even though the conference is free you should book in advance by writing to Nichola Glasse at:
LifeLines conference, 22 The Knoll, Framlingham, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP13 9DH
Alternatively, please email Nichola Glasse on firstname.lastname@example.org with your details.
Should you wish to make a donation towards the running costs of the conferences in 2018 (including Gift Aid if you are able), please make cheques/PO payable to LifeLines. Equally, you may choose to donate using a BACS payment or pay by PayPal; details are available from Nichola. You will receive a name badge on arrival.
Refunds for any donations will not be payable unless the conference is cancelled, in which case all those who have booked will be informed. To receive confirmation of your booking, please enclose a SAE.Conferences are open to everyone, and friends and family of members are warmly welcome.