It's been two months since Troy Davis was executed by the state of Georgia and yet I still find it hard to believe that we allowed it to happen. Yes, we allowed it to happen. Sure, we signed petitions, made phone calls, sent emails and some of us did even more. We wrote letters to the editors of our local newspapers. We tweeted, talked to our friends, wore our "I AM TROY DAVIS" shirts. We watched Amy Goodman reporting live from the protest site near the death house. We held our collective breath and then dared to hope again when word came that something was happening at the Supreme Court. When we heard that the execution had not been stayed and that the execution, no, the murder, of Troy Davis was actually going to happen, we were horrified -- not surprised really, but horrified still.
This past weekend I gathered with friends and colleagues who dedicate their lives to abolitioning the death penalty. It was great to see them and yet I felt distant, almost numb. Is Troy really dead? Being with my fellow abolitionists felt surreal. Last time we were all together, Troy was still alive and we were hopeful.
We did a post mortem of the campaign to save Troy. Post mortem - I never realized what a chilling phrase that is. We listened as those who were there that night told their stories. I am so proud of their work and humbled to be among them. We learned from each other, made plans and pledged to continue the fight.
But when I returned to my room each night, I cried. I am still so overwhelmed by sadness and disbelief. How did we let this happen? How is it, that as a country, we still cling to the hope that executing a human being will make things better? How long will we believe in the false promise of closure? What is the source of our lust for revenge? What is it going to take to end the killing? How on earth can the agents of our government be such cold-blooded killers?
I have so many questions tonight and so much sorrow in my heart. I know we tried to stop the execution of Troy Anthony Davis. It wasn't enough. We have to do better. We have to demand that our legislators change the laws that give a state the right to commit murder in our names. We have to talk to our county commissioners and tell them that spending one penny in an attempt to commit murder is wrong and that we will not tolerate it any longer. We have to go to court when the sentence of death is sought. We have to be there to watch, to take notes and to look into the eyes of those who would kill in our names. We have to show the prosecutors and judges and jurors that they do not do their work in a vacuum. We have to educate ourselves on how this insanity can still happen in the United States of America and, most of all, we have to stop the killing. We have to stop it now. We cannot let this continue. We are all Troy Davis.