The below was crossposted from the September issue of The Campaigner, a monthly e-newsletter of the 90 Million Strong Campaign
It was four years ago this month that we watched, in disbelief, the Georgia execution of Troy Davis. He was convicted of murder despite scant evidence and testimony that was later deemed false.
Public figures including President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sister Helen Prejean, Pope Benedict XVI, Harry Belafonte, 51 members of Congress, and former FBI director William S. Sessions spoke out against the execution. Hundreds of rallies, teach-ins, and silent vigils were held worldwide to protest his execution. Millions signed petitions.
What will it take? If millions of people marching, signing petitions, protesting and burning up social media didn’t save Troy Davis, how can what we do matter?
When Troy Davis was executed, we made a promise to him and his family to keep fighting to abolish the death penalty. Change is happening across the country. Your help is needed to keep the momentum going.
Officials in Georgia and other killing states shrewdly bet on the fact that we will make noise, then get distracted and go away. They have learned to weather the media storm, the protests and the marches — then do what they plan to do. There are no political repercussions. Some Governors in killing states even claim the mantle of being progressive on criminal justice issues while doubling down on the death penalty and ignoring racial bias.
This is what must change. We must become a focused, impassioned, and consistent political force with an unflagging memory. We must remember who has stood with us for justice and who has been unaccountable and unwilling to even examine the status quo of a flawed capital punishment system.
We can best remember Troy Davis by being as unwavering in our commitment to work to end the death penalty as he was in his faith and his trust in us.
On September 21, the anniversary of Troy’s execution, post a photo or video and tell the world “I Am Still Troy Davis, and I will still keep my promise to end the death penalty. Sign the pledge with me!” Reflect on where you were four years ago when you learned that Troy Davis would be executed and post on Tumblr. Together, we can #HaltAllExecutions. Together, when we remember Troy at this time next year, we can say we abolished the death penalty. Rest In Peace Troy Davis We’ve got this!
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has created the 90 Million Strong Campaign to unite the voices of those who believe the death penalty is wrong. We need to demonstrate that the broad public support to end this practice is already here in America, and 90 million people speaking up can make a difference.
For breaking news and additional information on death penalty abolition developments across the country, please be sure to follow the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty on Twitter and like us on Facebook.