It was four years ago today that Martina Davis-Correia passed away from breast cancer. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her.
There is so much that we, those fighting for human rights and social justice in the world, owe to Martina.
Because of Martina’s tireless work to prove the innocence of her brother, Troy Davis, Troy received remarkable international exposure, making both Troy and Martina galvanizing figures in the struggle to end the death penalty, and bringing us that much closer to the day that capital punishment will be abolished once and for all.
Because of Martina’s persistent encouragment, guidance and education, innumerable women in Savannah and country-wide got mammograms and/or life-saving treatment, and learned to take charge of their disease and live full lives.
Because of Martina, the world has the gift of her son De’Jaun, an incredible young man who has already touched the world profoundly.
A few hours before Troy’s execution on September 21, 2011, Martina spoke at a press conference at a church across the street from the prison in Jackson, GA. “Our lives, and my son’s, my sisters’ and brother’s lives, and my niece’s life, has been richer for knowing Troy,” Martina told the press and supporters who packed the pews. “Anybody who’s met Troy has come away with an imprint of him on their soul.”
Martina’s words were true–but what is equally true is that all of us who had the enormous privilege of knowing Martina, working with her, being inspired by her, calling her our friend, came away with Martina’s imprint on our souls as well. Martina’s life, and the life of Troy, and their mother Virginia (who passed just months before Troy and Martina)–has left an imprint on the world.
Martina once told me that she wanted to live to see three things: her mother be able to enjoy her senior years, her brother to walk free, and her son to graduate from high school.
And, though I can’t say I know much of anything with certainty, this I do know:
Virginia is no longer forced to endure the unbearable pain of a son on death row and a daughter wracked with pain from cancer. Troy is no longer penned up in a cage awaiting the next, and then the next, execution date.
And three Davis family angel-warriors are proudly watching as De’Jaun thrives in his third year at Morehouse College, guiding him and encouraging him from above.
This, I know as well:
The world is a better place for Martina, Virginia and Troy having been in it, and having connected their family’s struggle to our universal struggle.
And I am a better person for having known them, and having had the tremendous honor of fighting alongside them.
I ask you, in Martina’s memory, to read the book that we co-authored, detailing her fight for her own life so that she could continue to fight to free her brother and raise her son. And I ask you to join her fight to abolish the death penalty.
Thank you, Martina, for so much. You will always be missed, but your imprint will never fade.
With love, always
PS–Martina wanted nothing more than for her son to have the opportunities he deserves for his future. If you would like to contribute to De’Jaun’s college fund, please click here.