Tag Archives: Troy Davis

Troy Davis is dead; the movement continues …Rashad Robinson, ColorOfChange.org


At 11:08 pm Wednesday, the state of Georgia killed Troy Davis. Just before he was executed, Troy maintained his innocence, urged people to dig deeper into the case to find the truth, and said “For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls, may God bless your souls.” It’s a tragic day for Troy, for his family, and for equality, fairness, and justice.

It’s hard to know what to say at a time like this. In this moment, and in the days and weeks before Troy’s execution, we’ve felt all kinds of things — anger, sadness, inspiration, hope and hopelessness. This is a time to mourn and remember Troy, to contemplate the profound loss we’re facing, to send love and support to Troy’s family and friends. It’s incredibly important to take the time to spiritually and emotionally care for Troy’s family and the amazing community that has arisen to support Troy — and it feels hard to muster the energy to do much more than that.

But before he died, Troy told us that this was about more than him — and he called on those of us who have fought against his execution to continue fighting for justice, even if we weren’t successful in saving his life. Now is also an important moment to take stock of what’s brought us to this point — the criminal justice system that allowed this to happen, and the movement we’ve built to fight for Troy and others facing injustice and oppression at the hands of that system.

Race, the criminal justice system, and the death penalty

At every stage of the criminal justice system, Black people and other minorities face inequality and discrimination. We all know about people who’ve been treated unfairly by police or by the courts. When the entire system treats Black people unequally, it means that the death penalty is applied unequally too. Troy Davis’ case underscores the way in which this systemic inequality can lead to a tragic miscarriage of justice.

In most cases, people who’ve been treated unfairly or wrongly convicted have some chance to correct the injustice. People who have been mistreated by the police can sue them. People who are wrongly serving time can be granted new trials, can be released from prison, and are sometimes entitled to compensation. As we all know, the safeguards that can correct abuse by the criminal justice system often fail, and rampant inequality persists. Usually, people can at least keep trying.

But there’s no way to correct a death sentence. If Troy Davis were serving a sentence of life in prison without parole, he could continue to press the legal system to grant him a fair trial — but because the death penalty exists, he will not have that opportunity.

Troy Davis’ case has sparked a national conversation about the death penalty. In the past, much of the debate around the death penalty has focused on the morality of killing people as a legal punishment — a very important question that brings out a lot of strong opinions. But even if we completely leave aside the question whether or not it can ever be right for the government to punish a murderer by killing them, there’s an entirely different debate to be had — whether or not we can have the death penalty and actually avoid the possibility of killing innocent people. In a criminal justice system that routinely misidentifies Black suspects and disproportionately punishes Black people, Black folks are more likely to be wrongfully executed.

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the death penalty has been used to kill innocent people many times. Since 1973, more than 130 people have been released from death row because of evidence that they were wrongly convicted. Troy Davis is one of many people who were executed despite serious questions about their guilt, and he’s called on his supporters to continue working to end the death penalty.

A group of NAACP organizers went to visit Troy in prison yesterday, and NAACP’s Robert Rooks said this about the visit:

For someone that was facing death the very next day, he was just full of life and wanted to spend time talking to the younger staff, the interns, giving them direction and hope and asking them to hold onto God. And he challenged them. He challenged them by saying, “You have a choice. You can either fold up your bags after tomorrow and go home, or you can stand and continue this fight.” He said it doesn’t—it didn’t begin with Troy Davis, and this won’t end if he is executed today. He just asked us all just to continue to fight to end the death penalty, if in fact he’s executed.

A powerful movement

For years, ColorOfChange members have been an important part of a growing movement to stop Troy Davis’ execution. Hundreds of phone calls from ColorOfChange members to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole helped delay Davis’ execution twice. Over the past year, there’s been a huge outpouring of support for Davis from ColorOfChange members — more than 100,000 of us have signed petitions, and we raised more than $30,000 to run radio ads in Georgia calling for justice for Troy.

And we’ve been part of an even bigger movement — NAACP, Amnesty International, National Action Network, Change.org, and others have all been a major part of the fight for Troy Davis, and there are now over close to a million petition signatures overall. Prominent people from all across the political spectrum have spoken out: members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Desmond Tutu, former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, former FBI Director William Sessions, former Georgia Republican congressman Bob Barr, and former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher.

This movement couldn’t stop Davis’ execution — but it’s a movement that won’t die with Troy Davis. There’s no better way to honor Troy’s memory than to keep fighting for justice.

Thanks and Peace,

— Rashad, James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Matt, Natasha and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
September 21st, 2011

Never stop fighting for justice and WE WILL WIN …Ana Zamora, Death Penalty Focus


I write today with a heavy heart. Troy Davis was executed yesterday at 11:08 pm EST, by the state of Georgia. Last night, I was full of sorrow and grief for Mr. Davis, his family, the family of Officer Mark MacPhail, and our failed justice system.  This morning, I awake with a renewed sense of urgency and ready to channel this grief into action.

It has become utterly clear to me:  We must fight with everything we have, to end the death penalty.  The only way to ensure an innocent person is not executed is by erasing the death penalty as an option.  Mr. Davis, in his last day with us, understood this reality best:        WWW.deathpenalty.org

“There are so many more Troy Davis’. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country…Never Stop Fighting for Justice and We will Win!”

Today, while I grieve the loss of Mr. Davis, I also make the following promise: I, Ana Zamora, promise to fight to end the death penalty one state at a time.

In memory of Troy Davis and in the spirit of justice, will you join me? CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE PLEDGE.   WWW.deathpenalty.org

This will, by no means, be an easy task and we will need the support of many. We have already been successful in New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Illinois.  These successes, coupled with our powerful show of unity and strength for Mr. Davis, makes me confident that we will continue to succeed in ending the death penalty.

Thank you,
Ana Zamora

Too much doubt to execute Troy Davis …Rashad Robinson, ColorOfChange.org


The state of Georgia will execute Troy Davis on September 21 despite powerful doubts about his guilt.Please read on to learn how you can help stop this injustice.

The state of Georgia plans to execute Troy Davis this Wednesday, September 21 despite major doubts about his guilt.Killing a man who may be innocent is not justice, and more than 92,000 ColorOfChange members have spoken up to say so. But to save Troy, as many people as possible need to speak out.

The fact is, no physical evidence connected Davis to the murder. Seven of the original nine witnesses have recanted, with many saying their testimony was a result of law enforcement pressure. Of the remaining witnesses, one is highly suspect and the other could be the actual culprit in the officer’s murder.

No one should be executed when so much doubt remains about his guilt.  You can help us stop Troy Davis’ execution in five ways:

  1. Sign the petition asking Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm to oppose Troy’s execution: http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/chisolm
  2. Send a message to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole asking them to spare Troy’s life: http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/troy
  3. Help us tell Troy’s story to thousands of Georgia residents by making a contribution to the effort to buy ads in Georgia media: https://act.colorofchange.org/donate/troydavis
  4. Write a letter to the editor of local and national newspapers: http://action.firedoglake.com/page/speakout/troydavis
  5. Spread the word to others. Forward this email to your friends and family, and share the links to the petition and donation pages on Facebook and Twitter.

Since Troy Davis’ 1991 conviction, numerous facts have emerged that introduce significant doubt as to his guilt. These facts include:

  • All but two of the original witnesses against Troy Davis have signed affidavits recanting their earlier testimony. Most claim that their testimony was coerced by police officers.1
  • Multiple witnesses say that another man — one of the original witnesses against Davis — has claimed to have slain the fallen officer.2
  • The weapon used in the murder was never found. The only physical evidence connecting Davis to the crime was circumstantial — and new testimony disputes Davis’s connection to that evidence.3

In light of this evidence, the Supreme Court granted Davis another chance. But instead of an actual new trial before a jury, which would mean the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is on the prosecutor, he got an evidentiary hearing before a single federal judge where Davis’ lawyers had the burden to meet an impossibly high and undefined legal standard.

Under these difficult circumstances, the judge rejected the new evidence and cleared the way for Troy’s execution. But even he acknowledged lingering doubt, noting that the case against Davis was not “ironclad.”

But “ironclad” is exactly what the evidence should be in order to put someone to death. When the case isn’t ironclad, the process is prone to human error, and innocent people may die. That’s what evidence suggests happened to Cameron Todd Willingham, a Texas man who was executed after being convicted of setting the fire that killed his children. A new review of the case used to convict him shows that Willingham was killed even though there’s no evidence he set the fire. But now it’s too late to do anything about it.4

It will take all of our combined efforts to make sure Troy Davis isn’t the next Cameron Willingham. Please join me and my friends at ColorOfChange.org in asking Georgia officials to save Troy Davis’ life by commuting his sentence to life in prison. And when you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same.

Thanks and Peace,

— Rashad, James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Matt, Natasha and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
September 17th, 2011

Help support our work.ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU–your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:

http://www.colorofchange.org/donate

References:

1. “Troy Davis – Finality over Fairness,” Amnesty International USA
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/970?akid=2228.1174326.Cllb_a&t=7

2. See Reference 1

3. See Reference 1

4. “The Haunting of Rick Perry,” The New York Times, 6-23-2011
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/958?akid=2228.1174326.Cllb_a&t=9

2 Facebook pages that shouldn’t exist …Shelby Knox, Change.org


Facebook says that hate speech and incitements to violence are banned and will be removed from their site. So why are they maintaining a page called “Riding Your Girlfriend Softly Cause You Don’t Want to Wake Her Up”? And another page about “throwing bricks at sluts” that includes a photo gallery of portraits asking “Bang or Brick”?

There has even been an organized effort to use Facebook’s own reporting system to flag these and other pages that encourage rape and violence against women so they’ll be taken down. But Facebook hasn’t done a thing.

Now, Change.org member John Raines is going straight to the top. He started a petition on Change.org telling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take down these pages and take a stronger stand against violence against women.

Will you sign John’s petition to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg? Sign on, and tell Facebook to remove pages promoting rape and violence against women now.

When 1 in 3 American women will be sexually abused and/or assaulted in her lifetime, pages like these — and the reactions they elicit — are downright scary. Tens of thousands of people have “liked” these pages. Some people even use them as platforms to share rape fantasies and receive explicit tactics for how to carry them out.

John has seen the devastating impact of sexual violence and rape firsthand, on his own family. That’s why he created this petition on Change.org to get Facebook to enforce its existing policies and to make it clear that content promoting rape and violence against women violates Facebook’s Terms of Service and won’t be tolerated.

Please sign John’s petition. Tell Facebook to stop providing a platform to promote rape and violence against women.

Thanks for being a change-maker,

– Shelby and the Change.org team

P.S. The Troy Davis petition that we emailed you about earlier this week is being delivered to the Parole Board today with more than 230,000 signatures from Change.org members, in advance of Troy’s final hearing on Monday. We’ll keep you updated.

Urgent: Save Troy Davis’ life -Troy Davis is about to be executed — even though he may be innocent.


In 1991, Troy Davis was convicted of murdering a white police officer. Though there’s major evidence that Davis didn’t commit the crime, Georgia is prepared to put him to death. We have a good chance of stopping this — but only if we speak up now.

The fact is, no physical evidence connected Davis to the murder. Seven of the original nine witnesses have recanted, with many saying their testimony was a result of law enforcement pressure. Of the remaining witnesses, one is highly suspect and the other could be the actual culprit in the officer’s murder.

Now, despite these and other facts, the state of Georgia has taken the first steps toward Davis’ execution — and only the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole stands between Davis and the lethal injection chamber.

Georgia may be about to kill an innocent man. That’s not justice. Please ask the Georgia Parole Board to spare Troy Davis’ life, before it’s too late — and it’s critical that you ask others to do the same:

http://act.colorofchange.org/go/807?akid=1952.1174326.CrQTin&t=3

Since Troy Davis’ 1991 conviction, numerous facts have emerged that introduce significant doubt as to his guilt. These facts include:

All but two of the original witnesses against Troy Davis have signed affidavits recanting their earlier testimony. Most claim that their testimony was coerced by police officers.1

Multiple witnesses say that another man — one of the original witnesses against Davis — has claimed to have slain the fallen officer.2

The weapon used in the murder was never found. The only physical evidence connecting Davis to the crime was indirect, circumstantial — and new testimony disputes Davis’s connection to that evidence.3

In light of this evidence, the Supreme Court granted Davis another chance. But instead of an actual new trial before a jury, which would mean the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is on the prosecutor, he got an evidentiary hearing before a single federal judge where Davis’ lawyers had the burden to meet an impossibly high and undefined legal standard.

In light of this, it was sad — but no surprise — when the judge rejected the new evidence and cleared the way for Davis’ execution. However, even he acknowledged lingering doubt, noting that the case against Davis was not “ironclad.”

But “ironclad” is exactly what the evidence should be in order to put someone to death. If the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole doesn’t act to stop Davis’ execution, they’ll run a serious risk of putting an innocent man to death. That is not acceptable.

Please join us, along with our partners at Amnesty International and the NAACP, in asking the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole to save Troy Davis’ life by commuting his sentence to life in prison. And when you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same.

http://act.colorofchange.org/go/807?akid=1952.1174326.CrQTin&t=4

Thanks and Peace,

— James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Matt, Natasha and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team

April 20th, 2011

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU–your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:

http://www.colorofchange.org/donate

References:

1. “Troy Davis – Finality over Fairness,” Amnesty International USA

http://act.colorofchange.org/go/808?akid=1952.1174326.CrQTin&t=7

2. See Reference 1

3. See Reference 1