The second Indigo Girls "Take Action" t-shirt is now available at live concerts during the band's summer tour. The Abolish the Death Penalty shirt features facts and figures about the death penalty as well as artwork created for the Justice for All? death penalty art show sponsored by the Texas Moratorium Network.
Citations for the facts on the t-shirt are as follows:
People of color have comprised 43% of total executions since 1976, while comprising only around 25% of the population. (Race and the Death Penalty, American Civil Liberties Union, February 26, 2003).
Common characteristics of death-row defendants are poverty, the lack of firm social roots in the community, and inadequate legal representation at trial or on appeal. Approximately 90 percent of those on death row could not afford to hire a lawyer when they were tried (The Case Against the Death Penalty, American Civil Liberties Union, December 11, 2012, and Furman v. Georgia - 408 U.S. 208 (1972)).
The United States leads the world with the third highest rate of executions, behind only Iran and Saudi Arabia (New data was released by Amnesty International after the t-shirt went to production. The United States trails Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and China in the number of executions performed in 2012 (unofficially in the latter case, because the number of executions is a state secret)).
African-American defendants receive the death penalty at three times the rate of white defendants in cases where the victims are white (Dave Collins, "Yale study: racial bias, randomness mar Conn. death penalty cases," Associated Press,December 12, 2007).