A day in solidarity with Troy Davis
DENTON, Texas--Over 60 people gathered in the Texas heat June 22 to demand freedom for death row inmate Troy Davis as part of an international day of action.
Davis has been on death row in Georgia for 18 years and has faced execution dates three times in the last three years, despite the fact that he and his lawyers say they have evidence of his innocence that has never been heard by a court. Troy was convicted of the murder of an off-duty police officer in Savannah, Ga., but now, seven of the nine witnesses against him in the original trial have recanted their previous testimony.
At last, Troy has been granted an evidentiary hearing to present this evidence--the hearing began on June 23. Five of the seven witnesses who admitted they wrongly implicated Davis at the original trial (the remaining two are dead) all testified. One, Darrell Collins, said police threatened to charge him as an accessory to the killing, and he thought that fingering Troy "was the only way I could get out of it."
Troy's supporters planned a day of action for the day before the hearing began to show their support. Many people traveled to Savannah for a vigil outside the courthouse.
In Denton, the June 22 event included speakers from Amnesty International, Seeds of Change, the Campaign to End the Death Penalty and the International Socialist Organization. Monique Ruiz, sister of exonerated Louisiana death row prisoner Ryan Matthews, drew parallels between her brother's case and Troy's. Following the speakers there was singing and a candlelight vigil. People held banners that read "Innocence Matters: Free Troy Davis" and "Abolish the Death Penalty."
At one point, participants gathered and held pictures of Troy Davis in front of their own faces to illustrate concretely the slogan "We Are All Troy Davis."
The message coming from Denton on June 22 was clear: We demand that Troy Davis be freed from death row. Furthermore, each of the speakers urged people to join a grassroots organization and fight for an end to the racist death penalty, which punishes the poor, and for a world free from oppression, where fulfilling human need is what drives society forward.
To learn more about Troy's case and how to get involved, visit troyanthonydavis.org.