Tag Archives: death penalty abolition

Troy Davis’s nephew De’Jaun is at the halfway point!

Dear friends,

Troy Davis (an innocent man on Georgia’s death row executed in Sept 2011) wanted more than anything for his nephew De’Jaun to achieve his educational dream.

In the fall of 2013, De’Jaun took his first steps towards that dream by beginning Morehouse College, pursuing a dual degree in engineering and physics (and making Dean’s List several semesters while he’s at it!) In his 2nd year, De’Jaun co-founded and is running Morehouse’s Makerspace Lab.

De’Jaun’s ability to attend Morehouse is enabled by the generosity and solidarity of scores of supporters who believe in this young man and want to ensure he’s able to build the future he deserves.

Now it’s time to raise tuition for De’Jaun’s Junior year at Morehouse!

Whether you watched De’Jaun grow up as you worked side by side with his beloved mother Martina and grandmother Virginia, were inspired by his speaking about his Uncle Troy’s case at an NAACP or Amnesty International youth conference, or learned about his growing into a powerful activist from the book I Am Troy Davis–it is clear to all who have encountered De’Jaun that this phenomenal young man deserves our support.

We’re trying to raise $20,000 for De’Jaun’s 3rd year of college tuition—and we need your help to meet that goal!

The Impact is not just on De’Jaun alone! De’Jaun intends to use his engineering degree in ways that will have far-reaching impacts (for example–he spoke to me about his involvement in an organization called Green For All Engineering, through which he educates young students about “going green” and the importance of environmental safety through engineering.) He also intends to continue to serve as a mentor and role model for other youth with dreams who may not see a clear path on how to achieve them.

If you can’t make a donation at this time, here are some things you can do:

–Make some noise about this campaign–use the CrowdRise share tools to spread the word on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

–Email Jen Marlowe to ask her to let you know in the future when De’Jaun’s tuition is due once again.

–Purchase an I Am Troy Davis T-shirt–proceeds go directly to De’Jaun’s college fund! (Email Kimberly Davis for more info)

–Purchase a copy of the book I Am Troy Davis and learn more about De’Jaun, his incredible family, and their ongoing fight to end the death penalty!

Thank you for helping make De’Jaun–and his Uncle Troy’s–dreams come true!

In solidarity,
Jen Marlowe
Author, I Am Troy Davis

De'Jaun Troy1 De'Jaun Troy 2


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A torch in the dark: prisoner responses to “I Am Troy Davis”

Dear friends,

As many of you know, dozens of prisoners have been sent copies of I Am Troy Davis (you can gift a book to a prisoner by clicking here) and were invited to participate in the I Am Troy Davis Community Book Club.

One of the suggested discussion questions I sent to the prison book groups was: “Are books like I Am Troy Davis useful for challenging/changing the system? Why or why not?” You can read responses to this question from three men incarcerated in Hughes Unit in Gatesville, TX here.

The same group of men also responded to the question:

How was it for you emotionally to read “I Am Troy Davis”?

Here are their answers below:

From David E. Davis:

From an emotional stand-point, reading I Am Troy Davis was polarizing. At times, I was spilling over with inexplicable joy due to the many triumphs of the two courageous main siblings involved in the story, then, at others, I was overwhelmed with extreme remorse, because of the multiple abuses rained down upon them through an apathetic system by an unempathic state bureaucracy designed to exterminate and discourage designated groups in its environment.

I found myself in retrospect longing to be a part of a family as committed to the best-interest of one another as the Davis’s, because once we’re divided, we’re easily conquered. What many families don’t seem to understand is that to someone being unjustly disposed of, what matters is that those who should stand at their side, stand and not fold over. It’s the fight that counts, not that they’ve won or lost or any level. But the manner in which they’re seemingly defeated! If the family doesn’t care, who should? The Davsis’s are winners, despite how things may seem to the lesser-minded individuals. They maintained their dignity!

A movie that moves me emotionally is Brave Heart, starring Mel Gibson. I’m inspired by the scene at its ending where while being eviscerated before being decapitated and with the state’s executioners urging him to renounce his belief in the struggle, he yells the word, “Freedom!” indicating his desire for the people to continue their struggle to be freed from an unjust ruling class. I was as touched by I Am Troy Davis as I was by this classic movie, because of the similarities: both were fighting against unjust government systems designed to oppress the groups they were a part of, both fought and were eventually executed by the state, and, most importantly, their stories lived on long after they were deceased, effecting change for the better.

Martina is the character in the story that I won’t ever forget. She knew the effects her and Troy’s story would have on its readers’ emotions. She has touched my heart deeply. Martina did not have to give into the innate feelings she carried inside her towards her brother and, thereby, stand at his side for all those years. I have a bio-sister who’s my only sibling and the exact opposite of Martina. The last thing she told me and the first was that she did not put me here! Is she totally blind/unaware that “I did not put me here?” Or that I wasn’t born a criminal?

I am a victim of social genocide, imperialism/capitalism. I Am Troy Davis…long live the Davis family and their unique commitment to struggle, and active love for one-another.

From Kenneth Foster Jr.

[Reading I Am Troy Davis] was dreadfully painful. As a prisoner who spent 10 years on death row and came within 6 hours of my execution (which I protested by refusing to walk to the death house) it was a brutal reminder of the grueling death penalty process.

Author Eduardo Galeano said, “Remembering and forgetting are both political acts.” For example, take the Jewish Holocaust. Many people try to propagate that it never happened. Others try to downplay the numbers. That is an attack. It’s suppression. However, the Jews said “NEVER FORGET!” That is a statement of self-determination and resistance. I take the approach the Jews did to anti-death-penalty activism– “NEVER FORGIVE. NEVER FORGET.”  This is not to trap myself into hate. I can, and will, forgive when the death penalty has been ended and programs are in place to instill justice and healing. I can’t forgive someone for something they continually seek to do.

Right now, my memory is my weapon. My memory will save what is worthwhile. My memory knows more about me than I do. It doesn’t lose what deserves to be saved. That’s why I Am Troy Davis  is so important to people like me and people who do this activism. It doesn’t allow us to forget what needs to be saved.

Emotionally, when I think about that memory, I think about something Albert Camus said:

“Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal’s deed, however calculated, can be compared. For there to be an equivalency, the death penalty would have to punsh a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, has confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life.”

As one who survived death row, reading I Am Troy Davis makes me relive that. I know the author doesn’t seek to instill feelings of pain or depression in the reader, but when we face this reality (the capital punishment one), we face a cold reality of systemic social genocide that targets a certain segment of our society, and throws them into a system that is biased, and that doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why we call it “a modern day legal lynching.”

Because I have been blessed with strength, vision, and passion, I use such books as guidance materials. It’s a torch in the dark. It reminds me when facing off against such a monster that might does not make right. When right is wrong, change is passed due!

From Mr. Charles McKinley

Reading I Am Troy Davis sent me on an emotional roller coaster. The tumultuous riot of anger, sadness, empathy, frustration, bewilderment, and inspiration had me constantly considering the nature of familial bonds, the court system, and human nature. I can’t begin to imagine how it is having a death warrant issued for your life. And at that, repeatedly!

I’m currently serving an aggravated life sentence for vehicular manslaughter. I was involved in an incidental wreck in which a young white woman passed. I empathize with Troy Davis and his situation in light of mine. Yet there are dynamics in his that are hard to grasp. It was enlightening and very inspirational to read of how positive and endearing Troy Davis remained in the face of such injustice and bigotry.

The so-called justice system failed Troy, his Mama, his sisters, his nephew and the myriad of supporters involved. The court system also miserably failed the MacPhail family. Instead of seeking TRUTH & JUSTICE for that family, the law enforcement officials involved provided no true closure. I am truly angered by this trend which has persisted for at least 2 centuries. Perhaps that’s why [Officer MacPhail’s mother] never truly attained the peace she sought.

Of course, I’m bewildered by how the courts could ignore and discard such critical evidence as the recantation affidavits and testimony that went alongside the flimsy crime scene “evidence.” It’s saddening, because it dims the light of hope for people like me. I could relate to so much of the book and the Davis’ struggle. I was constantly teary-eyed. Reading about his death row experience helped build my understanding and expanded my perspective on guys I’m doing time with. I know guys that have fought their way off the row and are now tacking capital life terms or terms of life without parole.


Filed under Criminal Justice, Death Penalty, Troy Davis

Expanding the ripple

I AM TROY DAVIS Atlanta Book Launch 9/21/2013

I AM TROY DAVIS Atlanta Book Launch 9/21/2013

Dear friends,

I wrote I Am Troy Davis with the hope that the ripple effects of Troy & Martina’s story would continue to grow and expand, and it’s been truly amazing to watch that happen. I am now asking your help to expand the ripple still further. I hope you will consider doing some or all of the following:
* Watch I AM TROY DAVIS on C-Span2’s Book TV! On Sunday Nov 10 at 7:30pm EST, our NYC Book Launch event will be aired on C-Span2 as part of their Book TV program. You will hear from Kimberly Davis (Troy’s sister) and myself, and also hear passages from the book read aloud powerfully by Yusef Salaam of the Central Park 5 case, death row exonoree Lawrence Hayes, playwright and activist Eve Ensler, Laura Moye and Wende Gozan Brown (who spearheaded Troy’s campaign for Amnesty International) and Troy’s youngest sister, Ebony Davis. You will also be treated to a special performance of “Troy Davis Lives Forever” from the Bronx-based hip-hop duo Rebel Diaz, and hear thoughtful comments about death penalty abolition from Yusef, Lawrence, Laura, AIUSA’s Thenjiwe McHarris and Equal Justice USA’s Cherrell Brown.

* Include I AM TROY DAVIS in your holiday gift giving! With the holiday season nearly upon us, consider giving the gift of true justice, and get your loved ones copies of I Am Troy Davis. Message me to work out details on how to get the books signed/personalized to the recipient.

* Write a customer review of I Am Troy Davis! Reader reviews on sites such as Amazon and GoodReads really help create “buzz” about the book–help us create that buzz by submitting your reader review today!

* Host a living room “salon” with I Am Troy Davis ! Invite 5-10 friends to read I Am Troy Davis and to gather at your home for a book discussion. You can use the discussion guide developed by Equal Justice USA in partnership with AIUSA and the NAACP. Depending on the timing, Kimberly Davis or I may be available to join the discussion by Skype.

* Encourage your book group to read and discuss I Am Troy Davis! The discussion guide developed by Equal Justice USA is perfect for book groups! Kimberly Davis or I may also be available to join the discussion by Skype.

* Spread word about I Am Troy Davis via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc! You can also spread the word about some of the moving reviews we have received, including reviews from death row inmates.

Thank you so much for helping expand the ripple, and for being part of maximizing the impact of Troy and Martina’s story.

In solidarity, Jen Marlowe


Twitter: @donkeysaddleorg

Facebook: donkeysaddle projects

Blog: View from the donkey’s saddle

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I AM TROY DAVIS hits the road!

Dear friends,

I hope to see many of you as I AM TROY DAVIS, the Davis family and I hit the road!  The book tour is shaping up to be incredibly exciting and powerful.

In New York (9/20), the Davis family and I will be joined by playwright and activist Eve Ensler, Lawrence Hayes (a death row exonoree), Yusuf Salaam (from the Central Park 5), and Rebel Diaz, the incredible Bronx-based hip hop duo who created this chilling and powerful video about Troy shortly after his execution.
In Atlanta (9/21 & 9/22) and Savannah (9/23), the Davis family and I will be joined by many of the activists who led the campaign to save Troy, including from the Southern Center for Human Rights, Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, AIUSA and the NAACP.
In Washington DC (9/24), we will be joined by Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP, Brian Evans of Amnesty International and Diann Rust-Tierney of the National Coaltion to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Baltimore (9/29), Bellingham (10/1), Seattle (10/2)…. in each and every city we travel, Kimberly Davis (Troy’s sister) and I look forward to joining with activists who share our commitment to telling Troy’s story and to ending the death penalty.

I am also delighted to share with you, below, Haymarket Books newsletter featuring I AM TROY DAVIS. Please note the offer of the free discussion guide to accompany the book, authored by Equal Justice USA in partnership with Amnesty International and NAACP.

I hope you will join the Davis family and me, as we do what Troy asked of all of us in his final words: Continue to fight this fight.

See you on the road!
In solidarity,
Jen Marlowe
Twitter: @donkeysaddleorg
Blog: View from the Donkey’s Saddle

Haymarket Books is proud to present: 
I Am Troy Davis
By Jen Marlowe and Martina Davis-Correia with Troy Anthony Davis
Foreword by Sister Helen Prejean
“I Am Troy Davis should be read and cherished” —Maya Angelou
I Am Troy Davis
On September 21, 2011 Troy Anthony Davis was put to death by the State of Georgia. Davis’ execution was protested by hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, and Pope Benedict XVI, President Jimmy Carter, and 51 members of Congress all appealed for clemency. How did one man capture the world’s imagination, and become the iconic face for the campaign to end the death penalty?
I Am Troy Davis, coauthored by Jen Marlowe and Davis’ sister Martina Davis-Correia, tells the intimate story of an ordinary man caught up in an inexorable tragedy. From his childhood in racially-charged Savannah; to the confused events that led to the 1989 shooting of a police officer; to Davis’ sudden arrest, conviction, and two-decade fight to prove his innocence; I Am Troy Davistakes us inside a broken legal system where life and death hang in the balance. It is also an inspiring testament to the unbreakable bond of family, to the resilience of love, and that even when you reach the end of justice, voices from across the world will rise together in chorus and proclaim, “I am Troy Davis,” I stand with you.
A message from author Jen Marlowe
Writing Am Troy Davis has been, for me, the fulfillment of a sacred promise, a weighty responsibility, and an extraordinary privilege. This book is what I could do for Martina, for Troy, for their mother Virginia (all three of whom I miss dearly), and for the Davis family.
My deepest hope is that the book reflects Martina’s and Troy’s courage, spirit, and humanity in all of their beautiful complexity. I hope the book is a worthy tribute to them and does justice to their story and their struggle. 
By telling Martina’s and Troy’s truth, I hope that I Am Troy Davis provides an alternative form of justice for them and for the Davis family.
In solidarity,
Jen Marlowe
Additional Resources:                 
● (right) Video Jen Marlowe made months before Troy’s execution
● Order a free I Am Troy Davis 
I Am Troy Davis Events
IATD Tweet Chat
Friday, September 20th at 1pm EST
The chat will be hosted by Equal Justice USA (@ejusa) and Brian Evans from Amnesty International USA (@BRCEvans) and will use the hashtag #IAmTroyDavis
Dead Man Walking 20th Anniversary Edition

We are honored that Sister Helen Prejean wrote the forward to I Am Troy Davis. Sister Helen’s book, Dead Man Walking has been re-released for its 20 year anniversary. Please see below for more information about this important book.

History of Dead Man Walking:
In 1982, Sister Helen Prejean, the author of the foreword for I Am Troy Davis, became the spiritual advisor to Patrick Sonnier, the convicted killer of two teenagers who was sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana’s Angola State Prison. In the months before Sonnier’s death, the Roman Catholic nun came to know a man who was as terrified as he had once been terrifying. At the same time, she came to know the families of the victims and the men whose job it was to execute him — men who often harbored doubts about the rightness of what they were doing.
● Jen Marlowe and members of Troy Davis’s family are available for interviews and book events, contactinfo@haymarketbooks.org
● For a review copy contact info@haymarketbooks.org
● Bulk discouts are available

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Filed under Death Penalty, Human Rights, Troy Davis

I AM TROY DAVIS book launch!

Cover of "I Am Troy Davis"

Cover of “I Am Troy Davis”

September 3, 2013

Dear friends,

On September 21, 2011, the state of Georgia executed innocent death row prisoner, Troy Davis.

It is with a complicated mixture of emotions that two years later, I announce the release of I Am Troy Davis (Haymarket Books).

When I first started corresponding with Troy, I had no idea that our growing friendship would lead to me working closely with the Davis family on this book.

It was Troy himself who, after learning that I was a filmmaker, first put the idea into my head that I might be a part of helping his family tell their story.

“You should consider doing a documentary about Martina,” Troy wrote to me on April 21, 2008, during the early months of our correspondence. “That’s a story of love, tribulation, survival, strength, and determination that everyone can be moved by.”

I more than agreed with Troy. Martina was clearly a force of nature, and I instinctively felt that her double struggle (for her brother’s life and her own, battling breast cancer) was a powerful window into Troy’s story and to the violent impact that the death penalty has on innocent families.

The following year, Martina and I discussed the idea of working together on a book, leading to my first of many trips to Savannah.  The project went into high gear following Troy’s execution, in what was to be the last two months of Martina’s life.

Working on I Am Troy Davis may very well be the most difficult task I have undertaken. The difficulty was largely emotional—I was immersing myself in the painful details of the story of two people I loved after having so recently lost them. But there were other challenges as well: how to complete a manuscript when both of my co-authors were now gone?

Partnering with the Davis family (enormous credit goes to Troy and Martina’s sister Kimberly) and with the contributions of so many others (attorneys, supporters, allies, activists, friends), I Am Troy Davis was completed and, thanks to a wonderful partnership with Haymarket Books, is being released this month, marking the 2-year anniversary of Troy’s execution.

Writing I Am Troy Davis has been, for me, the fulfillment of a sacred promise, a weighty responsibility, and an extraordinary privilege. This book is what I could do for Martina, for Troy, for their mother Virginia (all three of whom I miss dearly), and for the Davis family.

My deepest hope is that the book reflects Martina’s and Troy’s courage, spirit, and humanity in all of their beautiful complexity. I hope the book is a worthy tribute to them and does justice to their story and their struggle. By telling Martina’s and Troy’s truth, I hope that I Am Troy Davis provides an alternative form of justice for them and for the Davis family.

In solidarity,
Jen Marlowe
donkeysaddle projects
Twitter: @donkeysaddeorg
Facebook: donkeysaddle projects

For info on how to purchase your copy of I Am Troy Davisclick here.

Also available for bulk/premium purchase orders, with prices as low as $9/book (retail price: $18) For larger purchases, greater discounts are possible.

Review copies are available upon request.
For info on book tour events, (taking place in NYC on Sept 20, Atlanta on Sept 21, Savannah on Sept 22, DC on Sept 24, Baltimore on Sept 28, Bellingham on Oct 1, and Seattle on Oct 2) click here.
(*Please note that event details are still being finalized, check back soon for updated information.)

For interview requests with Jen Marlowe or a member of the Davis family, please contact jim@haymarketbooks.org

Advanced Praise for I Am Troy Davis:

“Here is a shout for human rights and for the abolition of the death penalty. This book, I Am Troy Davis, should be read and cherished. It will inspire courage in the hearts of those who are willing to use their efforts to save lives and increase the quality of life for all people.”


“Like Trayvon Martin’s monumental murder, the execution of Troy Davis was a historic awakening for this country — an awakening of the deadly consequences of white supremacy. Don’t miss this book!”

— CORNEL WEST, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice, Union Theological Seminary

“Martina and Troy are heroes from a family of heroes. This story of their lives is also a call to action. It asks each of us to pick up where they left off by ending the death penalty once and for all so the risk of executing an innocent person is finally eliminated in America.”


“Read this book, about Martina Davis-Correia and Troy Anthony Davis. The lives of this sister and brother were tragically cut short, one by cancer, the other through a cruel injection of a lethal, chemical cocktail in the final act of a profoundly unjust criminal justice system. This book captures their unflagging courage in confronting the challenges thrust upon them. More than history, more than eulogy, I Am Troy Davis is an urgent call to action.”

— AMY GOODMAN, host, Democracy Now!

I Am Troy Davis is heart stopping proof that the death penalty didn’t just kill an innocent Troy Davis and break and bury his gorgeous family, but it charred the soul of America. This book will devastate you, piss you off and then inspire you to work with your life to the end the death penalty forever.”

— EVE ENSLER, playwright and activist

“In this moving and intimate portrait of Troy Davis and his courageous family, Jen Marlowe restores to Troy his humanity, and reminds us why every life matters, and why capital punishment makes this country a pariah among the world’s democracies.”

— GLORIA STEINEM, author and activist

I Am Troy Davis is a painful yet very important book, one that will bring you face to face with the human impact of the death penalty system, prompt you to think deeply about the flaws in our criminal justice system, and inspire you to stand with all those who have been wrongfully placed on death row.”

 SUSAN SARANDON, actor and activist

“Martina Correia’s heroic fight to save her brother’s life while battling for her own serves as a powerful testament for activists.”

— LILIANA SEGURA, Nation magazine

I Am Troy Davis takes readers on the journey of a remarkable family whose faith, love, integrity and convictions propelled their fight for their loved one and a larger cause. Jen Marlowe’s careful and sensitive collaboration with the Davises has yielded a narrative that will surely inspire readers to pick up the torch that Martina Davis Correia so bravely carried for social justice and human dignity with every ounce of her being and every day of her life.”

— LAURA MOYE, former Death Penalty Abolition Campaign Director, Amnesty International USA 

“A Must Read Book – the searing, heartbreaking story of a strong and loving family caught in the vortex of a dysfunctional criminal justice system.”

— ANNE EMANUEL, Georgia State University Law Professor and ABA Georgia Death Penalty Assessment Chair


Filed under Death Penalty, Human Rights, Troy Davis