Today marks 3 years since the state of Georgia shamefully took the life of innocent death row prisoner Troy Davis. And, it marks the official launch of the I Am Troy Davis Community Book Club.
As Kim Davis (Troy’s sister) said, “In my family’s final visit with Troy, just hours before he was killed, he told us to continue the fight to end the death penalty, and that is exactly what the I Am Troy Davis Community Book Club is about.”
The police killing of Michael Brown and the subsequent repression of protest in Ferguson, MO has demonstrated more clearly than ever: there are no equal rights and there is no equal justice in the United States. State violence–be it perpetrated by the police, or the criminal justice system–targets communities of color at every level. I am hoping the Community Book Club will stimulate a conversation that connects those dots.
As of today, there are 18 organizational co-sponsors of the Community Book Club, and over 40 book discussions (that we are aware of!) happening in 17 different states–with more signing up each day. Movingly, at least four I Am Troy Davis discussions are taking place on death rows throughout the country.
It is not too late to organize and register a book discussion! We are informally extending the end date of the Community Book Club to Dec 10 (Human Rights Day) in order to give people more time to participate.
Upon being invited to participate in the I Am Troy Davis Community Book Club, Kenneth Foster Jr., a prisoner formerly on Texas’s death row, wrote :
The dream for every prisoner is to be a part of the conversations that matter.
Christa Hillstrom responded in Yes! Magazine, “The conversations that matter here are big: a justice system gone egregiously wrong, and the deep pain of endemic racism that links Troy’s story to those of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and countless others.”
Please take a moment to read her article, which includes an interview with Kimberly Davis, and excerpts of the incredibly moving responses I’ve received from prisoners in response to the book. And, please take another moment to read this review of I Am Troy Davis written by Christopher Young, on death row in Texas.
Finally, let us never forget that the horrifying injustice that has necessitated this ongoing struggle: the execution of Troy Davis three years ago, and our country’s ongoing practice of killing our prisoners.
Kenneth Foster Jr. wrote from prison, “I take Troy’s execution personal as I do to all those who have been murdered by the state.”
And so should we all.
In solidarity and in struggle,