Coalition of API Leaders and Organizations Supports Proposition 34

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 A broad coalition of leaders in the Asian and Pacific Islander community are speaking out in support of Proposition 34 — a ballot initiative that would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Proposition 34, the SAFE (Savings, Accountability and Full Enforcement) California Act, will save the state’s taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, protect the innocent from execution, and direct funds to local law enforcement to solve more rapes and murders, proponents said.

At a press conference held Friday at Empress Pavilion Restaurant in Los Angeles Chinatown, API community leaders and civil rights advocates urged others to get out and vote yes on 34.

According to a recent survey released by the National Asian American Survey (NAAS), 22% of APIs are undecided on Prop. 34 and can be a critical swing vote.

The press conference was kicked off by Clarissa Woo of the Yes on Prop. 34 — SAFE California campaign. “Our death penalty system is broken beyond repair,” she said. “With Proposition 34, we can fix our justice system to ensure the guilty are punished, the innocent are spared and our taxpayer dollars are invested in education and public safety instead of a flawed system. But we have to voice our support by voting for Prop. 34.”

Criminal defense attorney Angela Oh, who was a member of President Bill Clinton’s Commission on Race, talked about racial bias and the unjust nature of the death penalty. “Since reinstatement of the death penalty in the U.S., 140 innocent men and women have been freed from Death Row. In California, hundreds of innocent people have been wrongfully convicted of serious crimes; three were sentenced to death.”

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