The Death penalty series

Standing on love exhibit & racist roots film screening

The NCSSM Fine Arts and Humanities Departments are honored to partner with Hidden Voices and the North Carolina Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty to present a series of events meant to foster conversation and understanding about the lived experiences of people affected by the death penalty in the United States and to place North Carolina’s modern death penalty within the context of 400 years of history. 

This event was made possible by the generous support of the Broyhill Family Foundation. 

STANDING ON LOVE: the Families of America's Death Row

A Hidden Voices Project. Photographs by Jenny Warburg

Grandmother: Her grandson has been on death row since 2007

GRANDMOTHER: her grandson has been on death row since 2007

CHILDREN: Their parent has been on death row since 2000

SISTER: her brother was executed

Public Events in the Series

All events are in the ETC lobby and auditorium on NCSSM’s campus

January 11, 2023 (6pm-8pm): Standing on Love reception and artist talk. We will have a reception followed by a conversation with Lynden Harris, founder of Hidden Voices and William Paul Thomas, artist and Hidden Voices member, about the death penalty in NC and how we can use art as activism.

January 16, 2023 (2pm-4pm): Screening of Racist Roots documentary and panel discussion. Join us for a screening of the documentary followed by a panel discussion with Noel Nickle, director of North Carolina Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Nick Courman, a spoken-word poet and activist, and other people directly affected by the death penalty. This limited-seating event is free for community members. Register here for the event. 

Interested in hearing from those who have experienced Death Row? Read excerpts and watch readings from Right Here, Right Now: Life Stories from Death Row. From childhood experiences living with poverty, violence, and mental illness, to failed educational policies and police misconduct, to life inside prison, these powerful stories connect us to the heart of our incarcerated nation. 

Our Partners and Projects

Hidden Voices is a radically inclusive, participatory, and co-creative collective committed to a just, compassionate, and sustainable world. Since 2003, Hidden Voices has collaborated with underrepresented communities to create award-winning works that combine narrative, performance, music, digital media, interactive exhibits, and community conversations to engage audiences and participants in explorations of difficult issues. Hidden Voices creates space for stories from those rarely seen and heard by mainstream society. These life-changing stories provide insight about identity, place, and access. They help us understand the unrecognized, the unfamiliar, and displaced. They help restore our souls.

Standing On Love is a collaboration between men living on America's Death Row, their families, and the artists, STANDING ON LOVE brings centerstage family members living with a loved one on death row. Their faces and words offer us the chance to consider our most essential values as we re-vision the meaning of justice, mercy, and compassion in our lives. Artist Jenny Warburg is a freelance photographer, activist, and former social worker living in Durham, NC. Her photographs have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report, the LA Times, People, Rolling Stones, US Weekly, Mother Jones, The Washington Post, Ms. Magazine, The Guardian, Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report, and her photographs currently grace the walls of our ETC lobby.

The North Carolina Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is a statewide coalition of member organizations and individuals committed to ending the death penalty and creating a new vision of justice. We are dedicated to broad criminal legal reform rooted in restorative justice. We work with and educate lawmakers, communities, and the public about the racist, unjust and ineffectual death penalty system. We advocate for equitable alternatives that promote healing and increase public safety. We center the voices of people most proximate to the death penalty: homicide survivor family members and individuals living on or exonerated from death row and their families. We believe their leadership and stories are key to transforming our system.

Racist Roots is a project of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, in collaboration with scholars, advocates, historians, artists, poets, and people directly affected by the death penalty. It aims to place North Carolina’s modern death penalty within the context of 400 years of history and to expose its deep entanglement with the aims of white supremacy.