On September 21, 2011, Troy Davis was killed by the state of Georgia for the murder of a white police officer, despite incredible doubts about his guilt and many years of strong efforts to save his life. Hopefully you’re familiar with his story; I was writing about it years ago, and many others never stopped. To call his execution a travesty of justice doesn’t quite cover it.
Davis’ family has suffered a terrible string of tragedies. Shortly before Troy’s execution, his mother Virginia died, having long been brokenhearted about what was done to her son. Less than two months after Troy was killed — following a cruel delay in which his family briefly thought Troy was getting another stay of execution — his sister Martina Correia died from cancer.
Jen Marlowe, a journalist who knows the family and has written extensively about Troy Davis’ case for years, has started a fund to help them pay their bills, setting a goal at $8,000. Unfortunately, fundraising efforts plateaued around the $6,000 mark, and I’ve watched over the past couple of weeks as the goal has struggled to be met. The deadline has already been extended, but even with two weeks remaining, at the current rate of fundraising the total will surely wind up short.
Troy Davis’ case mobilized countless racial justice and anti-death penalty activists, and the day after his execution thousands of people donated to organizations working to end the death penalty. Undoubtedly, that’s how both Troy and Martina would have wanted it, being valiant fighters not just for Troy’s life, but to end the death penalty as a whole. (Correia was a dedicated board member at the Center to End the Death Penalty.) But surely, they would have also wanted to see their own family provided for and free of the incredible stress of unpayable debt.
The Davis family has been through unfathomable pain and injustice; and for their long, hard, courageous fight, they deserve all of our support and gratitude. Though we cannot grant them justice, the least we can do, if we have the resources, is help minimize their hardships in this small yet important way.
Please give if you are able; even the smallest amounts will help. And just as importantly, help spread the word through your networks to help meet the goal.