award#KellyOnMyMind, a grassroots movement that fought for clemency for death row inmate Kelly Gissendaner, was honored January 21 with an Emory University Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award. Many in the group are associated with Candler, including faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health and Goizueta Business School present the awards annually during the university’s King Week Celebration. The theme of this year’s awards is “Refusing the New Normal: Being a Part of the Change.”

Kelly Gissendaner was the only woman on Georgia’s death row and a graduate of the Certificate in Theological Studies program co-sponsored by Candler at Lee Arrendale State Prison. Though the group’s work did not gain clemency for Gissendaner, who was executed on September 30, 2015, the award notice praised #KellyOnMyMind for its effectiveness in “building public awareness and creating a broad coalition of religious and civic voices to advocate on the issue…[they have] worked to galvanize Georgians from all walks of life to call for a change in the law that would abolish the death penalty in our state.”

Letitia Campbell, Candler’s director of Contextual Education I and Clinical Pastoral Education and senior program coordinator for the Laney Legacy in Moral Leadership, served as one of #KellyOnMyMind’s organizers, and accepted the award on the group’s behalf. “This award recognizes the enormous creativity and commitment of so many people here in this room, across Georgia, and all over the world who were part of the campaign to stop Kelly Gissendaner’s execution and tell her remarkable story… This award recognizes your fierce passion for justice and the power of our collective creativity in struggles for political and social transformation.”

Read Campbell’s full remarks from the awards ceremony.