Not in our names: The work of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation: an interview with Renny Cushing



Perhaps it would be appropriate to start with the title of your group. Can you explain the role of your group and why you are emphasising reconciliation …

Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation is a national organisation of people who’ve lost someone to murder and who oppose the death penalty. Our opposition to the death penalty is victim-centred and victim-focussed. We are determined to refute the commonly held beliefs that all victims want the death penalty, and that we somehow need the death penalty in order to overcome our trauma and grief. We are trying to point out that actually there are thousands of people in this country who have lost somebody to murder who don’t think that a ritual killing by the state is going to accomplish anything, other than a further loss of life. We primarily oppose the death penalty, not so much because we’re concerned about what it does to killers, but because of what it does to us as victims. We believe it hinders the healing process and makes us become complicit in further killing.