The friends of
Pascal and Béatrice BERNARD, two pilots who fly regularly to Houston, were deeply touched in 2008 by the message of Roger. They founded their association to support the work already started by Pierre Pradervand in Geneva.
Thanks to the fact that they are long-distance pilots, they manage to visit Roger almost once a month, which is amazing. Over time, a very deep bond has sprung up between them and they testify to what this relation has brought into their existence and how it has changed their lives, as is the case of many people who have had the opportunity of meeting Roger.
Although Roger and their lives seem at the antipodes of each other, they realize that in fact they are not so different, and they often have the same difficulties and especially the same questions: how not to despair for what we lack but rather give thanks for all that is given to us? How to avoid constantly accusing others of being responsible for our difficulties and our problems? How to forgive and give greater meaning to our lives.
Whatever side of the prison bars one is on, they realize that the replies to these questions constitute the key to our inner freedom. This freedom resides in choosing the party of love over that of hate. It is the path they attempt to trace together visit after visit.
Roger McGowen Association of Switzerland
The association was set up to provide a legal status for receiving donations and to support Roger with legal representation and provide financial and practical help to improve the quality of his life and those in prison with him.
The association wishes to stress the key role of the Jouvence publishing house (Editions Jouvence, based in Geneva), which accepted to publish a book which was totally different from all it had ever published before or since. Yet the book enabled a large public to discover Roger and hence to raise funds to hire a lawyer and get Roger off death row. The committee also wishes to stress the important role of the film on Roger made by Nicolas Pallay “Roger McGowen, Condamné à mort 889”and which passed on the best French-Swiss TV show, Temps Présent (Present Times), in January 2013. It has twice received prizes in international film festivals and has played a key role in our fundraising.
The International Support Group
This group was set up in 2006 at the instigation of Pierre’s wife Elly Pradervand. The Texas Defender Service recommended it hire Anthony Haughton for which we are deeply grateful. Of the 8 or so founding members, seven remain today, Ron and Robin Radford, Conor Perry, Monica Pejovic and Elly and Pierre Pradervand.
Today the Group has members (by decreasing number of members) in France, Switzerland, USA, Sweden, Holland, Canada, Germany. The Group functions in a totally democratic manner, without any president or secretary, all decisions are taken by consensus via internet. Funds have come mostly from France and Switzerland.
The Group is fortunate to enjoy the exceptional services of its treasurer, Ron Radford from St. Louis, who is in almost daily phone contact with Roger. Ron intervenes extremely frequently to help solve the many problems Roger meets almost daily in the prison system. Roger has come to play an extremely important role in his “pod” (prison jargon for the corridor in which he is “housed”), helping his fellow inmates in countless ways, including financially, thanks to the generosity of a few donors.