Remembering Troy Davis, Four Years Later

posted Sep 21, 2015, 6:33 AM by GFADP staff

On this day four years ago, the State of Georgia killed Troy Davis.

We all know very well his case garnered international attention, as his case highlighted many of the problems with the death penalty. This atrocity happened in our backyard, propelling Georgia and the South's legacy of slavery and lynching into the spotlight. His case showed the deeply entrenched corruption that we know exists in prosecutors’ offices throughout the country, and at the end of the day showed the stubbornness and brutality of a system that is willing to kill a man, instead of admit it was wrong.

Troy’s legacy is also a reminder of one of the greatest strengths of the South - that of resilience.

Troy said often that, “The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me.”

The struggle for justice and the literal fight to live is at the heart of the Black Lives Matter movement.

So far, this year, 800 Black people have been killed by law enforcement. When adjusted to accurately reflect the US population, the totals indicate that Black people are being killed by police at more than twice the rate of other races. Black people killed by police were also significantly more likely to have been unarmed.

After the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown and the subsequent acquittals of the people who killed them, Black Americans and allies took to twitter with the hashtag Black Lives Matter. It serves as a sobering reminder that Black people are the targets of a system set up to maintain racial control. It’s not something that gets spoken about honestly, often enough and therefore is allowed to manifest in new ways. And the cycle continues.

The anti-death penalty movement is one that has born witness for a long time to racially motivated killings. Our work was born as a response to the blood bath created when the death penalty was reinstated.

In his last words, Troy said, "I ask to family and friends that you all continue to pray, that you all continue to forgive. Continue to fight this fight."

On this day of reflection, we as members of the anti-death penalty movement must as a movement then, say: Black.Lives.Matter. We must do our work in such a way that it lifts up this message. Both as organizations and as individuals, let’s make it real - if Black Lives Matter, then the death penalty must be abolished and white supremacy must be challenged.

A new movement has been born in the US, and we have a role to play in it through our work.

Let’s do it for Troy.