6 Things You Can Do To Keep Troy Davis’ Legacy Alive

troy davis

At 11:08 pm, at the exact minute that Troy Davis died, Troy’s sister Martina Correia looks toward the prison while Amnesty’s Laura Moye collects the contact info of a young student who wants to get more involved. © Scott Langley

On this day one year ago, Georgia killed Troy Davis.  Join with us today to remember Troy Davis and how he and his story impacted you.  Scroll down to the comments section and share your experience.

At dinner yesterday, a friend from the NAACP passionately recounted to me and Kim Davis how she felt on September 21, 2011.  I thought about the power of collective memory and the enormous well of energy it represents.  The execution of Troy Davis was deeply personal to countless people.  Whether they were outside death row in Georgia, at the Supreme Court in Washington, marching in Harlem, gathered outside the US embassy in London or glued to the media coverage, countless people have recounted to me where they were and what they felt that night.

From the prison grounds in Jackson, Georgia, where I was that night, I remember various feelings including adrenal rushes and fatigue from our tireless campaign to prevent what was about to happen.  I also remember my anger.  How could this state that I had lived in for 16 years see neither a moral nor pragmatic reason to take death off the table for Troy?

Despite our herculean efforts, we had not broken through.  Adding insult to injury, I could not believe the unprecedented show of force.  An army of armored and armed men lined the highway near our gathering point.  A helicopter flew overhead and squad cars made occasional runs up and down the highway, sirens blasting.  On some level, though, this meant that we had effectively demonstrated our movement’s power since our cell phones and posters were hardly a fair match against riffles.

Execution day: At 6:30 pm, a protester is arrested as police and SWAT teams push back a surging crowd across from the prison grounds. © Scott Langley

As we approached 11:08pm, the time we later learned was when Troy’s life ended, we gathered around the dignified Davis family.  By that point, the Supreme Court issued its denial of a last ditch appeal.  We all knew what was coming next and we could only wait for the official announcement that the homicide had been carried out.

Martina modeled for us what to do.  She wasn’t crying.  She wasn’t shouting.  She was organizing, even from her wheelchair on the grassy grounds at death row.  She never stopped organizing people in the struggle to help her brother and to end the death penalty.  She introduced me to a law student from California who was going to school in North Carolina.  This woman had driven a great distance to stand in solidarity with the family that day and to protest Troy’s scheduled execution.  Martina wanted to make sure the young woman got connected to our network and could get involved in the work.

Keep up the fight

Troy asked us to “keep up the fight” and Martina showed us what that looked like.  There are so many things you can do to honor them.

  1. Tell us how Troy impacted you below and join us by redoubling our resolve to end the death penalty.
  2. Demand an investigation of the Troy Davis case
  3. Follow us on twitter (@amnesty) and retweet our #IamTroy tweets.
  4. Share the image below on facebook.
  5. If you live in California, pledge to support Prop 34 in the November 6 general election.
  6. Help us bring light to another death row prisoner whose case is riddled with problems.

There is no shortage of activities for our collective power to end the death penalty.

We are still Troy Davis and we will succeed!

troy davis anniverary

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36 thoughts on “6 Things You Can Do To Keep Troy Davis’ Legacy Alive

  1. I was at home on the computer, spreading the word about Troy, crying about what I had just heard, then I called one of friends and told her.

    • I was at home glued to Democracy Now and dumbfounded that the execution had not been prevented. I lost a friend with whom I had corresponded for two-and-a- half years. In my last letter I promised Troy that whatever happened on September 21, I would not rest until we had ended the death penalty in the U.S. I am sure that not all people on death row are good people, but Troy Davis was a truly fine person, and I was privileged to know him and count him as a friend.

  2. i was at home watching Al jazeera and glued to you tube watching peoples reactions worldwide to the injustice meted out on troy Davis.. I am particularly touched that even in the face of death he maintained his innocence and prayed for his executors…. FOLLOW @naijarevolts on twitter

  3. I was at a chorus rehearsal preparing the Dvořák STABAT MATER, which of course is also about a mother weeping at her son’s place of execution…

  4. I was at Home in Front of My TV & Had been PRAYING ALL DAY w/TEARS ROLLIN DOWN MY FACE ASKING GOD TO HAVE MERCY ON HIS SOUL & HE DID JUST THAT BY TAKING TROY OUT OF HIS EARTHLY SUFFERINGS & REWARDING HIM w/ETERNAL LIFE! Amen!

  5. I was at home following twitter updates, re-tweeting them, and feeling terribly angry and sad. Like others who've commented here, I couldn't stop the tears.
    p.s. I am a journalist from Pakistan and I have been opposing capital punishment for the last two decades.

  6. I was on the Internet, with the lights out except for the candles. I was crying when I saw Evita's "Lament" as a precursor to the execution. All our emails to Gerogia to try to save Troy Davis' life were blocked, because all the websites about Georgia were cut off and could not get back on until AFTER Troy was killed via the wishes of the (still grieving and still vengeful and hard-hearted) family of Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. And after Troy was killed, I watched "Lament" again to reflect what had happened while the MacPhail family rejoiced and claimed that "justice was served" in Troy's death, when in reality it wasn't and it was STILL denied for Officer MacPhail himself and for Troy.

    • I even wrote beforehand a poem called "You Call This Justice?" as a response to the lies and claims of the state of Georgia and of the MacPhail family. I was still crying and angry that they unknowingly let the real killer get away with murder. My heart broke, and I hope that Georgia and the MacPhail family would have to answer to God for the horrible atrocity while forgiving said family for what they've done to Troy. So sad that it was "easy to be hard, easy to be cold, easy to be proud, easy to say no". R.I.P. Troy and Officer MacPhail. :(

  7. I was watching coverage from the prison yard in Jackson hosted by Democracy Now. I'm very glad that Amy Goodman stayed there and continued to interview people through all the false alarms and false hopes. I think the lesson to be taken here (aside from the death penalty being wrong) is that a jury should really treat each case with as much skepticism as they would want at their own trial because once a verdict has been rendered… it's nearly impossible to stop the machine… even 20 years later.

  8. I stayed up all night, waiting for news from Troy's case (I was living in Hong Kong, a 12 hour time difference from Georgia). Before I left for work I got a call from a friend outside the US consulate in Edinburgh, crying over the phone that there had been a stay of execution. I could hear people celebrating in the background, only for the celebrations to die down as updates from Georgia came in.

    I was preparing to teach a class when I found out through Twitter that Troy was dead. The first thing I did was call my mom in Boston, who was crying as she watched the news. That night, a few of my friends came over and we wrote letters to different people in the Georgia judicial system, so that they knew that by killing Troy they did not kill the abolition spirit.

    One thing that struck me about that day was the web of support for Troy I was seeing – from Hong Kong to Scotland to the US. His story was truly global and I cannot wait for the day that the rest of the world celebrates with a death-penalty free US.

    RIP Troy Davis

  9. I was at home, watching Democracy Now coverage on my computer and Troy's name trending at an incredible rate on Twitter. So heartbreaking that degree of awareness of the injustice of Troy's case came at literally the very last minute.

  10. I remember September 21st, 2011. I spent almost the entire day at a vigil in Pasadena. most of us were strangers, but we were all moved to action by Troy. We listened to the live radio coverage
    with bated breath waiting for news. We were making calls to the Georgia authorities throughout, trying to make our voices heard. The execution was delayed, but no pardon was given. My friend Roger offered his home for an event, so I organized a vigil for friends and those who had found my contact information on the Amnesty USA website. I anxiously drove to Sliverlake, listening to the radio. I arrived at Roger's with my friend Cera before anyone else. We turned on the news. They announced Troy's executions on the news almost the moment we arrived. I was confused, shocked and deeply saddened. Soon everyone arrived for the vigil. We cried. We stood witness. We prayed for Troy and the Davis family, Martina Correia, Dejaun Correia, Kim Davis. We lit our candles. A year ago today the life of Troy Davis was taken away necessarily in our names. A year ago today I read these words from Troy:

    "They can take my body but not my spirit, because I have given my spirit to God…the struggle for justice doesn't end with me."

  11. I was at home in the UK, watching the coverage on democracy now online, calling the supreme court and telling my friends to call too. I lit my candles and had my picture of Troy and wished I could have done more. This battle may have been lost, but the war against the death penalty will continue.

  12. I was gathered with my Charlotte AI group. We were embracing each other and shedding tears. It was such an atrocity….such an affront to the human spirit! Fort Troy, for Martina, Virginia and DeJuan and our comrades in AI and all the anti DP organizations, we must bury the death penalty.

  13. I wrote him three times. At my first two letters I really had hope things will end for him & his family happy, seeing all the supporters of the world for this case. Then once I had a dream about him. Might sound nuts, but I had a bad dream. In my dream a picture of Troy Davis was hung up into a gallery with a lot of other pictures. Then my ex-husband was saying to me (in my dream I was an unborn baby): I will kill you. He started to press & push my pregnant belly so he could kill my unborn child & me. Very, strange & crazy dream. Actually, the day after I had this dream I read about the loss of Troy´s mother. It took me long time till I wrote Troy, back. I wasn´t sure if I should as the dream was weird, but I still remember it. Finally, I took my courage & wrote him. I even included two paintings I did. One painting of him & one of a Sarah Kay painting. He wrote me he wasn´t allowed to put up pictures. So, he would send them to his younger sister Ebony (if I read it right). I still have his letters. Such a shame this all end up like it did. Richard Hughes from Keane inspired me to take action for this. And once I got an email of @SAFECalifornia, so I suggested it to Richard via Twitter & since then he supports them. Good-luck, all. Death Penalty isn´t justice! Justice is a fair trial with a sentence to seek justice. Justice can only be sought, when people aren´t punished to death.

  14. I watched 'A Summer Place' on TV starring Troy Donahue! All things Troy! Then, I wrote an essay for school about the Troy ounce. Are all Troys gay, cuz Donahue sure was!

  15. I was in a little low security prison disguised as a nursing home about 1 month out of back surgery. People standing up for Troy made me commit to freeing myself some way somehow from being locked up without just cause. After being kidnapped as in taken by state police one week before Christmas 2010, unable to walk, I made it sometimes one moment at a time…sometimes feeling like death was imminent. I faced it, I face it now..and in part because people believed in Troy, I trusted some people enough to feel that someone did and does really see me and care about me …to where With a lot hindrance and help I am out of Andover Subacute and walking… and putting myself on the line for people especially after experiencing that who knows who attempted to cause my death this summer in drought stricken and recently sweltering Kansas City Missouri USA. My sister committed suicide 2008 a day or so after the glamor of valentine's day, during crack addiction…times are that urgent. Praise be to God that Troy's family and friends are keeping on. Being at peace with one's own soul seems to be the best that one can do, I feel lately. I hope and live a prayer for this. Love Always to sell of y'all, all of us. Rest in Peace Troy Davis , Michael Clarke Duncan , Victor Cabedo …

  16. If one can judge a nation by how it treats its prisoners, one can judge a nation's morality by how it treats its minority prisoners. The rapacious and vindictive attitudes that boast death penalty retribution are medieval and have no place in a compassionate society, particularly one that mouths the platitudes of Christianity while exercising god-like judgement over life and death. Considering the failure of the judicial process to determine accurate responsibility for crime coupled with the refusal to consider available evidence or procedure that would lead to exoneration suggests a form of genocide.
    I went to work that day with an "i am Troy Davis" t-shirt and was asked, what does that mean. Couldn't believe i had to explain.

  17. The two days before it happened, I introduced the case and the petitions to my AS Citizenship students and they were all eager to try and help save Troy Davis' life. The more they read about the case, the more questions they asked me about how this could be happening, and I had absolutely no answers for them (only that I was grateful I lived in the UK where we thankfully no longer have the death penalty – and this case is a prime example of why, not matter how angry we might sometimes get at the crimes committed by other human beings, it should never be brought back). The following week, they all told me how terrible and sad they'd felt receiving the text messages and emails to tell them of the news. It taught them a lot in a very short time, and I hope they all carry that with them (as I will) and get active to try and help change and stop tragedies like this in future.

  18. Tym bardziej nie mogłem w to uwierzyć że nie tylko pisaliśmy petycje ale przecież wiele osób publicznych ostro zaprotestowało wykonaniu kary. Nie tylko z powodu braku szacunku do wymierzana sprawiedliwości w takiej formie ale również dlatego że wina skazanego budziła ogromne wątpliwości.

  19. Stayed up til 3 am to say good bye, when I first joined amnesty in 2008 at the age of 13 his was the first case I took action on. Lit a candle and cried, never ever forget him

  20. I think that night may have been one of the most difficult since making the decision to move to Ohio. I felt so removed from our family; our Troy Davis family. Being so far from Laura, Jen, Kathryn, Sara, Martina, De'Jaun, Kim, Ed,and everyone was difficult- it was a time I would have loved being around those who so passionately dedicated themselves to fight for Troy for so many years and whose support for one another and all of us kept us from losing hope and kept us going and going and never giving up the fight. More than anything I wanted to be embraced in that crowd (and embrace them) of loved ones because it seemed as though I might hurt a little less, might feel a little less anger, sadness, frustration, sickness, emptiness…

    Being away did mean that I could communicate with my loved ones who were out at demonstrations, away from the Democracy Now streaming video. They could call me (and not really hear much because of the protesting chants) and so we were able to text- they'd try and confirm any rumors from the crowds and keep them in check- I'd try to give them the most recent information Laura or Kathryn or Sara shared with Amy Goodman and was presented on the live broadcast. My friends couldn't figure out who got arrested and I was able to tell them that one of the people was Tim based on the footage I was seeing on any broadcast I could watch for any information I could find. Soon people I didn't even know were texting me because my friends' phones were dying. Through all of my tears and whatever emotions those were- emotions I can't even name- I felt a bit less useless being able to communicate with those away from the stream of Democracy Now. I still felt useless because we couldn't save him. I suppose that at some point I accepted that his murder would be something of a reality- that it was a possibility.

    But I couldn't help thinking of the previous times we'd won- briefly but still won for what seemed like a momentary sort of relief. A brief sigh that would lighten the tightness in my chest before going one with our fight. Like the time I was driving to the Capitol and heard on the radio that he would not be executed that day. Or the time I'd defied my oncologist's strict instructions and made the trek up the hill to the Capitol without my crutches because I was afraid they'd be forbidden or seen as a possible weapon by the Capitol Police. I thought of Ed's story about how he and Martina were shocked and thrilled by the phone call saying that Troy would not be killed that night.

    Those memories kept me from the seemingly endless tears now and then- but still my eyes blurred my vision and eventually dried out so that nothing would come anymore. Sort of like the numbness that periodically overcame me as we learned he was gone. That they'd killed him. I imagine that I slept a bit that night. It felt as though I did not. How I got through the next day- how I got through the next week felt so much like walking through a haze- a fog that would not lift. My heart was especially heavy. When I dwell on it I still feel so very much of that pain and whatever else those emotions were/ are.

    What keeps me going and keeps me from being so angry and so very full of hate is the grace with which Martina, Ms. Virginia, Kim, De'Jaun and the Davis family handled the entire series of events. I learned more from them than I have or could ever learn from any person of faith, from any religious service or any kind of meditation or anger management class. Their grace, their peace, their forgiveness all without the slightest bit of giving up on the fight for Troy's life at all- it stays with me always. When I feel some frustration about a case I handle at work, when I have a bit of a time that fills me with anger over an injustice- I think of their grace, their peace, their ability to be not moved by negativity with what seemed to be such ease. I will forever remain grateful for the lessons I learned from them. I only wish I could have learned them under different circumstances.

    I was in front of my computer and tv in Cleveland, OH but my heart was in Jackson, GA.

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