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Advocacy: Its impact in the classroom and the community
Gemma Puglisi, Assistant Professor, American University []

Keywords: Death row inmate, murder case, amnesty, community advocacy, classroom advocacy

Conference Track: Community partnerships and outcomes

Format: Poster presentation

This poster examines a project spearheaded by a professor who learned about the Troy Anthony Davis murder case several years ago and engaged her students and the community in a related advocacy project. In 2007, a death row inmate in the state of Georgia was near execution. The story appeared in a national newspaper. The professor subsequently incorporated this case into her Public Communications' writing class. Students wrote opinion pieces, created a blog, and wrote letters to the press to continue covering the story as well as letters to lawmakers to look over the case. Tragically, in 2011, Davis was executed. That same week, students in the School of Arts and Sciences performed Sr. Helen Prejean’s “Dead Man Walking.” The professor's involvement with Davis has opened discussions with the high school community as well as junior high school students who now study his case in their classes. This project also prompted the professor to write various articles, opinion pieces, and a brief about Davis. All these have led to her students producing their own projects as well, thus, becoming educational tools for other students and the community. Puglisi’s articles include the Chronicle of Higher Education, two opinion pieces in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and another in the Washington Post.

Puglisi, G. (2007, November l3). Court’s chance to do the right thing. Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved from

Puglisi, G. (2008, September 23). Death row inmate isn’t getting justice in Georgia. Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved from

Puglisi, G. (2008, September 28). Seeking justice on death row. The Washington Post, B8.

Puglisi, G. (2009, October 6). Taking risks in the classroom. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from

Puglisi, G. (2010, August). Judge wrong in Davis decision. Savannah Morning News. Retrieved from

Puglisi, G., & Kovarovic, K. (2011). A personal perspective on media and the law: The case of death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis. Criminal Law Brief, 7(1), 39–47.

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