EXIT IRAQ © Aislin, The Montreal Gazette

Century Marks

Letting go of revenge: Bonnita Spikes experienced a grief-driven desire for revenge when the hospital curtain was pulled back to reveal her husband’s dead body with a bullet wound to the chest. He was an innocent bystander in a 1994 convenience store shooting in New York City. The killers were never found. She eventually realized that until she “let go and let God” she was only prolonging her own pain. Since then, she’s worked with Open Society Institute–Baltimore, spending time with people on death row and their families, and with victims and their families. She opposes the death penalty—which, she says, is a way of honoring her husband, who was opposed to it. As an African American, she is particularly aware of the demographics of capital punishment: since 1923 the number of black men executed has consistently been three times that of white men (Baltimore Sun, November 7).


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