And now, when there’s overwhelming evidence of Trayvon Martin having been murdered —POOF! Nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero. Lip service from the “We’re here to serve and protect” police.
You’d almost think there were two entirely different justice systems here. Two completely different ways to value the worth of a person’s life.
The Catholic Church officially opposes capital punishment. This doctrine is in the same vein as those opposing abortion, birth control, and physician-assisted suicide: church doctrine dictates that life begins at conception and is a gift from God.
Consequently, it is beyond the scope of any soul, no matter how high the earthly authority, to terminate a human life. It does not matter if it is legal, and it does not matter if the rationale is to relieve suffering: the taking of life is God’s department, not ours.
Yet in the middle of September, as opposition to the impending execution of Troy Davis reached a fever pitch and a singular opportunity presented itself for the Church to not just call for an act of mercy, but support a key element of doctrine, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops was silent as the grave.
Yes, some local Catholic bishops in Georgia did support the conscience of their doctrine by calling for a reprieve, but the USCCB, the organization most responsible for lobbying and policy advocacy on behalf of the Holy See here in the United States, sat idly by. The execution of a possibly innocent man was not enough to stir the bishops into action. But birth control? That’s a different story altogether.
10. Death row taco bar
9. Two words: Alberto VO5
8. Hire staff to write some more great zingers like this …
7. Always wanted to see Branson
6. Spend a weekend at his hunting lodge with Hank Williams, Jr.
5. $8.5 million on campaign buttons; $8.5 million on bumper stickers
4. Health care for all Texans … I’m totally messing with you
3. Shut up or he’ll execute you
2. Get a fabulous makeover from Michele O’Bachmann’s husband
1. Buy lunch for Chris Christie
In the Name of Troy Davis: Pledge to End the Death Penalty in the United States
Yesterday Troy Davis was laid to rest.
Thousands joined in to celebrate his life at the Jonesville Baptist Church, and tens of thousands more joined online through the webstream. The power of our global community—united to honor, to stand on convictions and to show respect–was palpable inside the church.
There was little talk of sadness, little mention of grief. The Davis family, compelled by their deep faith, chose to celebrate Troy’s spirit, to honor his life, and to continue to move his mission to abolish the death penalty.
Their strength mirrors Troy’s own. Half of his life was spent behind bars, a captive of a system designed to crush even the mightiest of spirits. But Troy never lost hope. He never lost his faith in God or in his higher purpose.
In the execution room, Troy used his last words to proclaim his innocence one final time. He then made a call for his movement—all of our movement—to bring about to end of the death penalty for good. And then, in his final breath, he asked God’s mercy upon those about to kill him.
Even in his darkest hour Troy Davis saw light. In the face of death he showed compassion, resolution and conviction—a bravery that will forever be remembered.
So together, we will honor Troy’s memory and work to end the terror of state sponsored execution. It was a goal of Fredrick Douglass, Ida B Wells, and Thurgood Marshall. And it is a goal that the NAACP will carry forward in the weeks and months ahead.
A punishment reserved almost exclusively for poor people of all colors, and especially for those like Troy who are of color, is not a punishment. It’s the most irreversible and violent act of discrimination, and the ultimate violation of human rights.
The way that each of us can ensure the end of capital punishment comes as soon as possible is to shift from rallies where we shout the slogan I am Troy Davis, to a sustained campaign where we practice the faith of Troy Davis. If our movement is going to be successful, then we must focus on three types of action:
First, we must target the death penalty for elimination in ten more states.
Second, we must approach every sitting District Attorney and candidate for District Attorney and let them know that they will no longer get our votes unless they stop sending people to death row.
Finally, we all must vote. We are more powerful than those who would do wrong in this world. But only through our collective voice will we achieve our goal.
The time has come for us all to come together and finish what our foremothers and forefathers started. We will end the death penalty, and we will do it in honor of Troy Davis.
Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO
PS: If you have not yet signed the petition to end the death penalty of the United States, please do so now, and ask your friends and colleagues to do the same. http://action.naacp.org/EndTheDP
Last week… we broke through the silence about the horror the death penalty represents. Your work brought about conversations in millions of American households, helping to change hearts and minds about capital punishment.
Now, we must achieve the mission Troy gave each of us.
As Troy Davis — a fellow NAACP activist — said so many times, “This movement began before I was born … it must continue and grow stronger … until we abolish the death penalty once and for all.”
Please take a moment to sign the NAACP pledge to fight for the end of the death penalty in the United States.
September 21, 2011 was a searing moment for all of us. Every failsafe failed.
Current Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm acknowledged that if it were up to him today, he would not try this as a death penalty case. Yet, when he could have acted to stop the execution, he refused to do so.
The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, designed specifically to ensure that executions never happen amidst so much doubt, allowed it to happen anyway.
Justices on the Georgia State Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court — men and women who know that our justice system is degraded when we allow someone to be executed even when the former warden of the very prison the inmate is in says there is too much doubt to proceed — cleared the way for the execution to be carried out anyway.
These failures are the result of a system that gives the power of life and death, God-like powers, to humans who are as prone to error and susceptible to bias as any of us.
Human nature won’t change, so the system must. This must never happen again.
I promised Troy that no matter what happened we would keep fighting until the death penalty is abolished. That is the only way we can possibly guarantee our government will never make such a tragic and irrevocable mistake again.
In the past two years, the NAACP and our allies have abolished the death penalty in three states. When we succeed in abolishing it in ten more, we will be in a position to ask the Supreme Court to abolish it entirely. In the meantime, there are effective strategies we can use, in even the most conservative states, to diminish its use greatly.
But we cannot do any of this without your help.
Please take the pledge today, and ask each of your friends to do the same. Help us all carry out Troy Davis’ mission.
Your work has sparked a movement. Let’s keep it going until the job is done. Together, we can ensure that Troy’s death was not in vain and this will never happen again.
Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO
|—||Sage Francis. (via anarchyagogo)|
People Power! Troy Davis marchers push through NYPD barricade - 9/22/11DAY OF OUTRAGE FOR TROY DAVIS
NYPD tried numerous times to block off the march with their “Scooter Patrol” but failed again and again.
New York City, September 22, 2011.
Hell yes — this is what I’m talking about: “We are all Sean Bell, NYPD go to hell!”
As you know, Troy Davis was executed in Georgia on Wednesday despite worldwide protests and more than 600,000 petition signatures supporting his claim of innocence.
Before his execution, Troy said “I’d like to address the MacPhail family. Let you know, despite the situation you are in, I’m not the one who personally killed your son, your father, your brother, I am innocent.”
Troy told his supporters in a letter, “There are so many more Troy Davises. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.”
The presidential campaign of Rick Perry is also bringing renewed national attention on the death penalty and in particular on Perry’s record of 236 executions during his term in office. Many media reports have raised the specter of one execution haunting Rick Perry - the wrongful execution of Todd Willingham.
If you are angry about the execution of Troy Davis and if you are concerned about the prospect of Rick Perry becoming president, we urge you to participate in two upcoming events.
The 12th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty on October 22 at the Texas Capitol in Austin. We expect lots of news media at the march because people around the country are interested in the Rick Perry/Todd Willingham story and on how Perry’s handling of the Willingham case illustrates his character. We will have 20-25 innocent death row exonerees, as well as family members of people still on death row, community leaders, and people opposed to the death penalty from across Texas and the nation.
Special Screening of “Incendiary: the Willingham Case” Oct 5 in Austin to benefit Charlie Baird’s campaign for Travis County District Attorney
We also urge you to join us in supporting Charlie Baird in his campaign for district attorney in Travis County, which is where Austin is located.
Texas Moratorium Network is hosting a screening on Wednesday October 5 at the Violet Crown Cinema in Austin of “Incendiary: the Willingham case” about the case of Todd Willingham. We are hosting it as a fundraiser to benefit the campaign of Charlie Baird for Travis County District Attorney. All proceeds go directly to the campaign of Charlie Baird. Get your tickets now, seating is limited. Charlie Baird needs your support in his race to bring Justice That Works to Austin and Travis County. To learn more about Charlie Baird visit his website www.charliebaird.com.
Charlie Baird is the judge who held a hearing on whether Todd Willingham was wrongfully executed. The hearing was stopped by a higher court before Judge Baird could rule. Now, Judge Baird is running for DA in Austin and he needs our help. Buy a ticket to this screening and you will be helping Charlie raise funds for his race to become DA in Austin. You will be able to meet the filmmakers Steve Mims and Joe Bailey Jr, plus Charlie Baird will be at the screening and reception.
Hours before Troy Davis was executed, Charlie Baird wrote on Facebook: “I stand in solidarity with Troy Davis and his many supporters today in Georgia. Our justice system—and the citizens upon whose behalf justice is administered—must demand better when it comes to eye witness testimony (as it does in this case), forensic evidence, etc. The NAACP is inviting people to stand in solidarity with Troy Davis, and I hope you’ll join”.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have at least one DA in Texas who will listen to us and who will value our input, instead of ones who ignore us like the one in Georgia who ignored the pleas to stop the execution of Troy Davis.
To buy tickets to the screening, please click here. Ticket prices start at $25 and go up. If you can afford it, please consider buying a ticket package for $100, which will help us raise a good amount of funds to help Charlie’s campaign. If you can not attend because you don’t live in Austin, you can still buy tickets and then donate them back to us to give to people who can not afford to buy a ticket right now.