Death Row Prisoner Troy Davis: We Must Expose a System That Fails to Protect the Innocent
Martina Correia has spearheaded the fight for justice for her brother, Troy Davis, who has spent 18 years on Georgia's death row despite overwhelming proof that he is an innocent man. Troy has faced three execution dates in two years, and won a stay each time. Despite facing a battle with breast cancer herself, Martina has led a national and international struggle to win justice for Troy.
At the National Convention of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty last fall, Martina gave brief remarks and then read a statement from Troy.
For more information on the current campaign to save Troy Davis, which is at a critical moment, go here.
Good evening. My name is Martina Correia, and I'm from the distant planet of Georgia. For those of you who don't know about my brother, Troy Anthony Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing an off-duty police officer. He was trying to help a homeless man.
Someone went and told the police that my brother had shot and killed this police officer. They used nine eyewitnesses to convict my brother and sentence him to death. Seven of those witnesses have since recanted, and yet the state of Georgia still wants to execute my brother -- even though they have no physical evidence, no weapon, no motive, no anything.
Here is the message from my brother, Troy Anthony Davis:
I want to thank all of you for your efforts and dedication to human rights and human kindness. In the past year, I have experienced such emotion, joy, sadness and neverending faith.
It is because of all of you that I am alive today. As I look at my sister Martina, I am marveled by the love she has for me -- and of course, I worry about her and her health. But as she tells me, she is the eldest, and she will not back down from this fight to save my life and prove to the world that I am innocent of this terrible crime.
As I look at my mail from across the globe, from places I have never ever dreamed I would know about, and people speaking languages and expressing cultures and religions I could only hope to one day see firsthand, I am humbled by the emotion that fills my heart with overwhelming, overflowing joy.
I can't even explain the surge of emotion I feel when I try to express the strength I draw from you all. It compounds my faith, and it shows me yet again that this is not a case about the death penalty, this is not a case about Troy Davis -- this is a case about justice, and the human spirit to see justice prevail.
I cannot answer all of your letters, but I do read them all. I cannot see you all, but I can imagine your faces. I cannot hear you speak, but your letters take me to the far reaches of the world. I cannot touch you physically, but I feel your warmth every day I exist.
So thank you, and remember I am in a place where execution can only destroy your physical form, but because of my faith in God, my family and all of you, I have been spiritually free for some time. And no matter what happens in the days and weeks to come, this movement to end the death penalty, to seek true justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated.
There are so many more Troy Davises. 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.
I want you to know that the trauma placed on me and my family as I have now faced execution and the death chamber three times is more punishment than most can bear. Yet as I face this state-sanctioned terror, I realize one constant -- my faith is unwavering, the love of my family and friends is massive, and the fight for justice and against injustice by activists worldwide has ignited a fire that is raging for human rights and human dignity.
You inspire me, you honor me, and as I pray for strength and guidance for my family and loved ones, and for the victim's family and loved ones, I share with you this struggle. I share with you our triumphs, knowing that you add to my strength and my courage, and because of that, I share with you my life.
We must 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!