Press Release: Troy Davis Anniversary Events and GFADP Statement

posted Sep 21, 2012, 8:57 AM by Kathryn Hamoudah   [ updated Sep 21, 2012, 3:36 PM ]

GEORGIANS FOR ALTERNATIVES TO THE DEATH PENALTY

PRESS RELEASE


For Immediate Release:  September 21, 2012

Contact:           Evelyn Lynn: 404-602-2856

                       Patt Gunn:  912-655-1148

 

Hundreds to gather in Savannah on anniversary of Troy Davis’ execution

Community members call on policy makers to end brutal practices in criminal justice system

 

Savannah, GA- From Friday September 21st to Sunday September 23rd hundreds of organizers, advocates and community members from Savannah and across the South will gather to honor Troy Davis and to participate in workshops and plenaries focused on reforming criminal justice practices in Georgia.  From Troy to Trayvon:  Empowering Communities to Change Criminal Justice Policies is a three day gathering organized by the Communities Organized for Legal Assistance (COLA) Center of Savannah and Georgians For Alternatives to the Death Penalty (GFADP).  “One year ago, Georgia officials claimed that in a matter of days people would forget about Troy Davis.  We are gathering this weekend to let the state of Georgia and the world know that we have not forgotten and we are as determined as ever to bring an end to the death penalty and to the brutal practices of our current criminal justice system,” said Kathryn Hamoudah, Board Chair of GFADP.

 

The weekend’s events will begin with a Memorial Service to honor Troy Davis, his sister Martina Correia and their mother Mrs. Virginia Davis.  Mrs. Virginia Davis passed away five months before Troy was executed and Martina Correia passed on December 1st, 2011 after a decade long battle with cancer.  All three Davis family members were advocates against the death penalty and worked for more humane and effective public safety policies.  On Saturday and Sunday, conference attendees will participate in workshops and plenaries that will help formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones gain skills for success as well as tools to change unjust and/or unsuccessful criminal justice practices.  “With the loss of Troy, Martina and Mrs. Virginia, we have lost powerful warriors in our work for justice.  We feel the best way to honor their lives, sacrifice and legacy is to empower grassroots community members to hold officials accountable.  Together we can show policy makers that there are better ways to keep neighborhoods safe than by using corrupt and brutal practices that ultimately harm our communities,” said Mrs. Rosalyn Rouse, Co-Director of the COLA Center and caregiver to Troy Davis’ sister, Martina Correia.

 

“Troy always told us that we needed do our best to make a positive difference in this world.  Most importantly he taught me that we have to educate ourselves so we know how these policies are made and how to change them.  Folks are coming from all over the South to Savannah to do just that this weekend,” said E-Red, cousin to Troy Davis and Atlanta Hip-Hop Artist.  E-Red, Mrs. Rosalyn Rouse among others will be speaking on behalf of the Davis family at a Memorial Service at First Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, Friday at 7pm.

 

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GFADP PRESS STATEMENT

Friday, September 21, 2012 marks the one year anniversary of the execution of Troy Davis.

Troy Davis’ case brought international attention to Georgia due to the presence of substantial evidence that Troy did not commit the crime for which he was sentenced to death.  Troy’s execution last year even outraged many supporters of the death penalty.  Thousands of people attended rallies supporting his request for a commutation of his sentence.  Hundreds of thousands signed petitions.  Many more actively followed developments in the case via news media, social media, and other means. 

Before he was executed, Troy Davis called on all of us who have fought against the death penalty to continue fighting for justice. In the wake his execution, Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (GFADP) is committed to creating opportunities for those committed to the abolition of the death penalty to seize upon this new energy, engagement, outrage, and questioning so vividly expressed nationally and internationally. 

“Make no mistake, the problems with the U.S. system of capital punishment did not begin with Troy Davis, and they will not end with his death,” said Kathryn Hamoudah, Chair of GFADP.

Forty years ago the United States Supreme Court halted executions nationwide when it reversed three death sentences, two rendered in Georgia and one in Texas.  In Furman v. Georgia, five Justices wrote separately to articulate their considered conclusion that imposition of the death penalty violated the Constitution. The prevailing reason was quite simple: the arbitrary, indeed the wanton and freakish imposition of the ultimate penalty constituted cruel and unusual punishment that is proscribed by the Eighth Amendment.

We know that our system no less “wanton and freakish” than it was forty years ago.

Georgians have become acutely aware of just how unreliable eyewitness identification evidence is. We have watched seven men exonerated after spending years in prison for crimes they didn’t commit. We know eyewitness testimony is unreliable even when witnesses may feel sure of their identification. In Troy’s case, 7 of the 9 witnesses have recanted or changed their testimony.

Not only do we know that Georgia’s death penalty system is riddled with error. We know it is racist and targets the poor. In Georgia, those convicted of killing white victims are 4.5 times more likely to be sentenced to death than those convicted of killing black victims. 80% of those accused of crimes cannot afford their own attorney, yet funding for public defenders has been repeatedly slashed in Georgia in recent years.

This weekend, GFADP is hosting a conference in Savannah called From Troy to Trayvon: Empowering Communities to Change Criminal Justice Policies. This gathering is a way for individuals to let the state of Georgia and the world know that they have not forgotten Troy Davis, and are as determined as ever to bring an end to the death penalty and to the brutal practices of the current criminal justice system.

One year ago, Georgia officials claimed that in a matter of days people would forget about Troy Davis.

“We are gathering this weekend to let the state of Georgia and the world know that we have not forgotten and we are as determined as ever to bring an end to the death penalty and to the brutal practices of our current criminal justice system”, Hamoudah continued.

 

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