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LAMP OF HOPE GOES INTERNET
by Lester Bower #764
It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that beyond Death Row
inmates, their family, friends, and some very dedicated supporters around
the world, very few people know about The Lamp of Hope Project and its
publication, The Texas Death Row Journal.
One of the major factors that
contributes to this seeming anonymity, as so often is the case, is limited
The Lamp of Hope Project (LHP) is virtually run from inside
the walls of Texas Death Row, and as such, we are dependent on support
from friends and supporters around the world for our very existence.
financial support the LHP receives is judiciously spent where it is needed
the most. Even with volunteer supporters in Texas and around the world,
publishing The Texas Death Row Journal has been on an AFP (as funds
permit) basis. In these increasingly perilous days, it has become even
more important for the voices of the Row to be heard, so to accomplish
this in the most cost effective manner, the LHP has decided to embrace
the technology of the 21st century and go on the Internet.
Contrary to what you may have heard from politicians, there an NO personal
computers on Death Row. Secondly, with the recent expansion of the Internet
to global acceptance, most of us "old hands" have never experienced
the Internet, or know how to set up a site.
Although the idea has been
germinating in our minds for sometime, the idea could not come to fruition
until we met our new Executive Director, Karen Sebung. Karen brought to
the organization not only an unquenchable desire to promote the ideas which
are the basis of the LHP, but the knowledge to set up and administer an
With that history lesson behind us, we move on to what that site is
all about, and what we hope to accomplish. It has always been the intent
of the LHP to use The Texas Death Row Journal as our voice from within
Clearly there will still be a need to publish a "hard copy"
of the JOURNAL and distribute it by "snail mail", but going into
the next century, mass communication will be primarily electronic.
access to the Internet is still not widely available to every household,
within the next few years access will be so affordable that most people
will have direct access, or can access the net in a library or other public
facility in their area. With that in mind, it seemed a logical step forward
to accomplish our goals.
The officers and directors of the LHP feel that every inmate on
Death Row should have a place to express his or her thoughts, ideas, fears,
wants, needs, and experiences.
Some may use the site to publish poetry,
short stories, pen-pal requests, testimonies, notice of craft items for
sale, requests for legal help, and maybe most important of all, a venue
for the vast depository of experience that people on Death Row have to
offer. We hope to build a dialogue between perpetrator and victims, abolitionists
and victims' rights organizations, and curious people just seeking information.
Hopefully, the site will become a protected pipeline between the youth
of our country who might be on the verge of trouble, and people on the
Row that wish to pass along advice and experiences that might keep someone
from traveling down the same path that got them on the Row. The site is
not meant solely for an area to vent anger against the sytem for perceived
abuses, whether real or imagined, but you're sure to see it there.
not sure where all this is going to take us, but, like Captain Kirk of
the Enterprise would say, we're going "out there" and just see
We hope you'll join us in this endeavor, and will visit our site on
a regular basis. It is our hope that we can rotate information on the site
in a manner that will keep the site interesting enough that people will
return time and again just to see what's new.
This site will be under constant
construction, so bear with us. We welcome any ideas, suggestions, comments,
or material you feel might be considered for addition to the site. I would
be remiss in my duties if I didn't point out that all this technology comes
at a price, and we welcome any financial, or technical support that comes
You can reach us at our "snail mail" address, or via
A journey begins with a single step. We hope
you'll join us on this journey.