On April 23rd, 1994, the Kansas Death Penalty was re-instated without the signature of then-Governor Joan Finney. A group of abolitionists, many of whom are still involved with the struggle to repeal the death penalty had been fasting for 10 days before the 23rd, hoping their presence would encourage Gov. Finney to veto the legislation.
The day after the death penalty became law, members of the group gathered at a home in Topeka to plant a cottonwood tree as a symbol of non-violent opposition to state-sponsored executions. Every year since, on April 23rd, people gather around the “Tree of Healing” to commemorate the day and re-dedicate themselves to the campaign against the death penalty. This year 11 abolitionists came for the event.