AAC is an ad-hoc group of individuals committed to highly visible and effective public
education for alternatives to the death penalty through nonviolent direct action.


FAQ + Basic Info Schedule + Events Register + Participate Sponsor + Donate History + Background Photo + Video Reports Press + Publicity


also make sure to download and read the participant information packet

Anyone who is against the death penalty -- seasoned abolitionists and those new to the movement alike. Over 75 activists from more than 20 different states... Come, learn some new tricks, share your own, reenergize, make an impact, and meet others who work for the cause. Abolition work made fun! How do you sign up? Visit our registration page to find out more and to sign up on-line.

WHAT: A four day vigil maintaining a presence at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington DC. Many of the participants fast during this time, but fasting is not required. We encounter tens-of-thousands of visitors to the Court and share our message that no matter how you slice it, the death penalty is BAD PUBLIC POLICY. Much of the time is spent talking to individuals and creating visibilty. Several larger events are held at key times during the event to highlight specific concerns, with a series of speakers each evening to educate, enlighten and entertain. To get an idea of what goes on, check out our photo and video collection and our press and media reports page.

WHERE: In front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Capital Hill in Washington, DC. With much gratitude to co-sponsorship from the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society, we continue to enjoy access to air conditioned space for HQ, rest rooms, etc. immediately across the street, at the United Methodist Church building. Itís Direct Action made easy! For a better sense of where everything happens, view the area map. Other than "The Last Supper," ALL official Fast & Vigil activities take place either at the Court or in the United Methodist Church Building immediately adjacent to the Court.

WHEN: The vigil runs daily from June 29 through July 2, 8:30 am until 8:00 pm. Fasting starts at 12:01 am on June 29 and we break fast at midnight on July 2. Participants are invited to sleep out in front of the court on the night of July 1. Its perfectally legal and safe - and quite an experience to be had. To attend the full event, plan to arrive on June 28 by 9:30 pm, and depart anytime on July 3. View the full schedule for details.

WHY: The purpose of this event is to maintain a presence at the Supreme Court between the dates of the anniversaries of when the death penalty was ruled unconstitutional in practice in 1972, and when new laws were upheld in 1976. Read more about the historic court rulings we gather around.
COST: Thanks to generous sponsors who support this event each year, the cost to participants is minimal. Housing is provided, as is plenty of fluids and ice during the fast. Even the midnight meal on July 2 is at no cost. A voluntary registration fee of $20 is asked for, which includes a free Fast and Vigil t-shirt. The only other cost to you is your transportation to/from DC and the Supreme Court, and any personal expenses. We recommend that you fundraise by getting your own sponsors to get your transportation paid for as well. Use our "Sponsor a Faster" pledge sheet (.pdf file) to start fundraising now. It is a great way to get others involved in the vigil by getting their financial support to cover your costs. There are also limited funds available to participants who need financial assistance for travel. Please download this application (.pdf file) if in need.

HOUSING OPTIONS: There are several options available to you:

  1. About a quarter of the participants stay at the Community for Creative Nonviolence (CCNV), which is located at 425 2nd Street, NW - an easy 15 minute walking distance from the court. CCNV is a large homeless shelter that has a specially designated room for volunteer/activist groups such as ours who come to DC to do advocacy work. The setting is simple and the sleeping arrangements are bunk beds separated in cubicles - only Fast and Vigil participants will use or have access to the room. However, bathrooms are shared with shelter staff and tenants. Participants need to bring their own bedding and towels. CCNV is wheelchair friendly. COST? Last year, the cost per person per night was around $20. We ask those who stay there for a voluntary contribution. RSVPs are highly recommended for our planning purposes, but there is usually plenty of room if you decide to come at the last minute. NOTICE: CCNV is a large homeless shelter, which means there are a lot of homeless people in the area. We have *never* had a problem with any of our participants being threatened or hurt in any way. On the next block is the Hyatt Regency Hotel, and just down the street is the DC Courthouse. The Capitol and the White House are just blocks away. This is one of the most policed areas in the world. That said, if you are easily spooked by people who you are not used to seeing or who may ask you for spare change, then you might want to walk with others, or stay elsewhere. For more information, including directions to CCNV, please download and review the participant information packet (.pdf file).
  2. Some participants choose to stay at local hotels or hostels. You can search websites like priceline to find some hotel deals. If you are interested in a lower-priced hostel, check out: www.hosteldc.com, hiwashingtondc.org, www.hostelz.com, or www.dchostel.com. For hotels and hostels, you are responsible for making your own reservation and paying the costs.
  3. Stay with friends or other activists in DC. Some participants have personal contacts in DC and choose to stay with them. Some participants live in the DC area and choose to spend their nights at home. That is all perfectly acceptable. For out-of-towners who don't want to stay at CCNV and can't afford a hotel or hostel, let us know, and we can see about finding you a couch to stay on in the area free of charge.

LEGAL AND POLICE INFO: The Abolitionist Action Committee enjoys cooperative relations with the Supreme Court Police. They know who we are and some of those among them who have been around for a few years have actually told us that they look forward to us coming. That said, there are regulations that must be followed. For the last several years we have sent a letter to make sure everyone is on the same page about the rules and legal expectations while at the court. Please review a letter to the police from a previous fast and vigil (opens in separate window) so that you will understand the rules.

OTHER THINGS TO NOTE: Please download and read the comprehensive participant information packet, which is a 12 page .PDF document outlining everything you need to know about expectations for the vigil, travel info, housing options, what you should bring, fundraising help, and even fasting tips. You may also read most of the packet online through the following links:

Abolitionist Action Committee (AAC)
P.O. Box 89
Ghent, NY 12075
800-973-6548   aac@abolition.org