November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website,, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to, a multimedia blog and resource center.

War on Truth  From Warriors to Resisters
Books of the Month

The War on Truth

From Warriors to Resisters

Army of None

Iraq: the Logic of Withdrawal

STOP The Death Penalty and JAIL EXPANSION
a public forum at First Churches, Northampton, MA

Audio Index: (all MP3's are mono at 48 kbps)

Introduction by Annie E. Zirin, with song
MP3 - 5:33 minutes; 2 mb; RealAudio for dialups

Russell Neufeld presentation
MP3 - 13:04 min; 4.5 mb; RealAudio

Robert Meerpool presentation
MP3 - 17:43 min: 6.3 mb; RealAudio

Holly Richardson presentation
MP3 - 13:03; 4.5 mb; RealAudio

Shujaa Graham presentation
MP3 - 16:13 min; 5.6 mb; RealAudio

Panel response to questions from audience
MP3 - 21:55 min; 7.6 mb; RealAudio

Audio recorded and edited by Ed Russell, Active Ingredients, with final editing and formating by Charles Jenks. We thank Ed profusely for helping out as our recording had a glitch. MP3 Audio may be downloaded and replayed, with attribution, for non-profit use, e.g. on radio. Contact us for other use. RealAudio is not suitable for radio and is not downloadable, but people with dialup connections may listen to the presentations easily using RealAudio. People with dial up connections may download mp3 audio; it will just take a while.

Photos, bios and newspaper article below. All photos © 2005 Charles Jenks, contact him for permission to reuse


Annie E. Zirin, International Socialist Organization - Western Massachusetts branch

Panelists: (in order of appearance)

Russ Neufeld was the founder of the Legal Aid Society Capital Division which was created when New York reintroduced the death penalty in 1995 and he tried the first capital case under the new statute. He has represented over 20 clients who faced capital punishment in state and federal court and supervised dozens more cases. Mr. Neufeld is currently in private practice in New York City and is starting the Atlantic Human Rights Project which will focus on human rights issues in the criminal justice system.

Robert Meeropol is the younger son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. In 1953, when he was six years old, the United States Government executed his parents for "conspiring to steal the secret of the atomic bomb." For thirty years he has been a progressive activist, author and speaker. See The Rosenberg Fund for Children, which provides support for the children of targeted progressive activists and targeted activist youth.

Holly Richardson is a local activist working with Out Now and the Statewide Harm Reduction Coalition to stop the new Chicopee women's jail.

Shujaa Graham was the special guest of the evening. Mr. Graham is a former death row prisoner who spent 12 years behind bars in California before he was finally exonerated and set free. He is a former Black Panther and an activist with the Campaign to End the Death Penalty.

You can hear Shujaa Graham speak at the Socialism 2004 conference in Chicago on June 19th.

Sponsors: ACLU, American Friends Service Committee, Arise for Social Justice, Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the International Socialist Organization of Western Mass, Statewide Harm Reduction Coalition, Out Now, Traprock Peace Center, and WMass Citizens
Against the Death Penalty.

All photos © 2005 Charles Jenks, contact him for permission to reuse

The Republican - Sunday, March 27, 2005
'Hamp forum predicts end of death penalty

By Michael McAufiffe

NORTHAMPTON - About 100 people gathered last night for a public forum organized to protest the death penalty and plans to build two jails in Western Massachusetts.

The meeting, held in Lyman Hall at The First Churches, featured a four-member panel that included former death row inmate Shujaa Graham and Easthampton resident Robert Meeropol, son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, executed in 1953 for conspiring to give the Soviet Union the secret to the atomic bomb. It is a case that remains highly controversial.

Russell T. Neufeld, former chief public defender in New York City, and Meeropol, the first two speakers during the forum, both said they believe the day will come when the death penalty is outlawed in America.

"I think, ultimately, the way we're going to win is for people in the United States to see capital punishment as a great human rights abuse," Meeropol said.

Gov. W. Mitt Romney is seeking reinstatement of the death penalty in Massachusetts through a system that will rely on scientific evidence as part of the effort to prevent an innocent person from being put to death. The last execution in the state took place in
1947, and the death penalty was outlawed in 1984.

But Neufeld and Meeropol said there can be no perfect death penalty law.

"To the extent that people feel they could have a foolproof death penalty ... it's just not real and it doesn't deal with the reality of the criminal justice system," Neufeld said.

Graham said he spent four years on death row in California before being exonerated in 1982 in connection with the death of a prison guard.

Graham had tears in his eyes as he talked about the death penalty before the forum, and he said he believes that one day capital punishment will be eliminated in the United States.

"It's my hope that it can be done in my lifetime," said Graham, 54, who lives in Takoma Park, Md.

One of the organizers of the forum, Annie E. Zirin of the Northampton branch of the International Socialist Organization, challenged devoting millions of dollars in state money to building the jails.

Plans are under way to build a regional jail for women in Chicopee and a jail in Greenfield.

The fourth member of the panel last night was Holly Richardson, a community organizer in Springfield affiliated with a number of groups,
including the Statewide Harm Reduction Coalition, which is seeking to stop construction of the Chicopee jail.

Among the organizations that sponsored the forum were [the ACLU, American Friends Service Committee, Arise for Social Justice, Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the International Socialist Organization of Western Mass, Statewide Harm Reduction Coalition, Out Now, Traprock Peace Center, and WMass Citizens Against the Death Penalty.]*

The First Churches, located on Main Street, is the combined First Church of Christ and the First Baptist Church.

Copyright 2005

*The newspaper gavea an imcomplete list of sponsors.

March 12, 2005 - page created by Charlie Jenks