Just one year ago, the state of Georgia lynched yet another black man. Troy Anthony Davis was executed on September 21st, 2011 at 11:08pm. Here in Atlanta we fought, along side people the world over, to keep the State from taking his life.
September 21st, 2011 was a shocking reminder of the failure of the “justice” systemwe live under. As millions all around the world cried and pleaded for Troy’s life, we saw the State flexing their power and unabashed will. The night of his execution, down in Jackson, GA, we came to fully understand that the State was going to defend its power, regardless of the people’s will. However, unintentionally, the State also showed us how afraid they were of the possibility of our collective power. Before the crowd had even begun to swell to the large numbers that would be assembled later that night, police, helicopters and fully armed riot cops surrounded the area. As they marched in formation, swinging batons at their heavily armed chests in blatant shows of intimidation; as high beams of light from thousands of feet above the ground illuminated the angry tears on ours and our neighbor’s faces, we recognized the posturing of a power whose illegitimacy is shown by their need to force us into submission.
We realize that they will not stop unless we stop them. In the face of such systematic violence and intimidation, we have but two choices: to lose hope or to resist. We choose to resist. We resist the death penalty, extrajudicial murders, and the racist court system that hands down verdicts that have shown us the pressing need to abolish a prison industrial complex that fuels itself through the lack of regard for the lives of black and brown youth. From schools to prisons, this industry destroys families by locking relatives away and taking away their opportunity to live a fulfilling life.
Daily, we find more reasons to resist the State. The police in metro Atlanta have murdered 10 black men, women, and children between January 1st and June 30th of this year. In a disgusting display of the disposability of black lives, 3 of those murders occurred within a 36-hour time frame. In Jackson, GA, in the same prison where Troy Davis was murdered, 14 men engaged in a 45-day hunger strike demanding that they be treated more humanely. Putting their lives, the only thing they still have control over, on the line.
Now, we stand a month away from the anniversary of the murder of Troy Davis, refusing to be silenced and ignored again. The State murdered Troy despite our objections. We must recognize the power within our own hands; we must fight to keep our siblings, parents, cousins, neighbors, friends and schoolmates outside of the walls of these prisons. We must fight for them to no longer be shackled within the prison’s walls that afford them no chance of sanity or hope.
We have come together as Georgians For Prison Abolition to show those who kill, imprison and silence us, that we will no longer be crushed; we will rise and stand up against those who seek to destroy us.
On September 21st, 2012, we will meet at the Martin Luther King Junior Center here in Atlanta, GA to march without fear, let our voices be heard, share our stories, and remember Troy Davis not only in our hearts but by honoring his last words and fighting to end the death penalty, as well as to abolish this corrupt prison system. This day will mark a new beginning of our fight against the State and its prisons. A fight that we must wage in order to stop their blatant disregard for our lives. We have the power if we choose to use it and we are that conscience decision. The State’s reign of terror stops today.
If you can’t join us here in Atlanta, we ask that you coordinate an event in solidarity with us in your own city so that we can make it clear that Enough Is Enough and that we will not take this any longer.
In honor, memory, and in the spirit of Troy Anthony Davis, we declare September 21st a National Day of Action Against Mass Incarceration.
“… this Movement to end the death penalty, to seek justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated. 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.
I can’t wait to Stand with you, no matter if that is in physical or spiritual form, I will one day be announcing,
I AM TROY DAVIS and I AM FREE!
Never Stop Fighting for Justice and We Will Win!”
– Mr. Troy A. Davis