Voices from the Inside

Prisoners speak out

Troy Davis

All of you made them listen

Troy Davis has been fighting for a new trial after being on Georgia’s death row for 19 years. But the law has found every possible bogus reason to deny him—until now. Finally this June, Troy will be able to present evidence of his innocence in open court, where witnesses can testify and be crossexamined. 

We hope this will lead to a new trial, or better yet, that all charges will be dropped against Troy, and he is set free.

The hearing date is June 23. A Global Day of Solidarity is being organized for June 22. People who can’t travel to Savannah are organizing events outside of federal buildings in their communities to show solidarity with Troy. For more information on these events, call the CEDP at 773-955-4841 or go to nodeathpenalty.org

The New Abolitionist talked to Troy just before he got the news of the court hearing being set for June. 

When do you expect to be going to court to present evidence of your innocence?

I have no way of knowing when I’ll be going to court again. Judge Moore has a lot of key issues to consider in my case. I feel he’s serious about this case and wants to be clear and fair, so he’s taking his time to assure everything is handled correctly.

How important has activism outside of the courtroom been in your case?

The activist work for my case played a key role in why I’m still fighting today. I feel God brought all of us together for this cause—ending the death penalty. The state of Georgia is fighting this movement that refuses to back down or go away.

You often say this is fight bigger than yourself. What do you mean by that?

What I mean by this being bigger then me is that I’m fighting to free all innocent people. My case challenges the justice system and the death penalty.

The courts know I’m innocent because my supporters made sure of that. However, the judges of the court hesitate to grant me a new trial or free me because my case will force change—change in the death penalty as well as the entire justice system, which wants to execute even the innocent, answering to no one.  The justice system doesn’t protect the innocent, like it was intended. It’s all political, and some judges make rulings based on those who put them on the bench—for their approval. That’s not a fair justice system

Do you think we are making progress in dismantling the death penalty system? Are prisoners around you encouraged by the work they see activists doing on the outside?

We are further along the lines of ending the death penalty then ever before. The voiceless now have a world stage. Injustice is no longer tolerated; executing the innocent is NOT acceptable. Every death row inmate now has hope of the death penalty coming to an end.

We can’t slow down now. We will end the death penalty and I’m blessed to have my case pushing this movement in the right direction. Encourage, educate, organize, rally and speak out.

What would you like to say to your many supporters and activists today who are fighting on your behalf?

As for all of my supporters fighting for me: Thank you all so very much for being supportive.  Together, we are making changes that will end the death penalty and spare the lives of all innocent people one day.  All of you made them listen. You opened the eyes of the world, and now everyone in my situation has a chance to prove they are innocent one day soon. It’s not over by far, but you are giving hope to every innocent person.

We need to regroup, reorganize and continue to fight, because ending the death penalty is very achievable. I’m not free yet, and I need each of you who are able to come to Savannah, Ga., once a hearing date is set to show the district attorney and the state of Georgia that we won’t go away—we want justice ending in my freedom.

I need all to continue speaking up for my family and me. You’ve made a difference.  Thank you all so very much.

In the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, your sister, Martina Correia, is a board member. We’re constantly amazed by her perseverance, her quest to set you free and her seemingly boundless energy. She has been an inspiration to so many in this movement. What has it meant for you to have such an incredible sister and incredible family standing by you, and fighting on your behalf and to end the death penalty?

Having my loving family out there fighting for me touches my heart. I know they love me, but reading about them and seeing them on the news speaking on my behalf has made me very proud.

With Martina leading the way, the world has witnessed the love of family that every family should have. Our faith in God keeps us going despite three scheduled execution dates that have been postponed. We never asked for this experience, but I am very proud to have the family I have.

More families of prisoners need to be as supportive as mine has been. Family makes a difference in how we as prisoners innocent or not, adjust to prison life.

For those family members who can’t see how they can make a difference, look at Martina and my family. Don’t turn your backs on your loved ones. Because they need you more then you can imagine.  So my family thanks you all for loving me so much. God brought us this far, and he will bring me home a free man soon.

May God bless you all. We will end the death penalty and bring every innocent person home to their loved ones as well.

You can write to Troy at:

Troy Davis
P.O. Box 3877 GDCP
657378 G-2-39
Jackson, GA 30233

Remembering Howard Zinn

Greetings to all:

On January 27, 2010, millions all over the world lost a great history professor, author, human rights activists and friend/comrade—Howard Zinn.

Like the many heroes and heroines of the past who have dedicated their whole lives to educating, organizing and mobilizing the poor and oppressed into a strong movement for change, Mr. Zinn is on the list of prominent heroes. His books, like A People’s History of the United States, The Zinn Reader and others, are a testament to how extraordinary he was, as an author, an educator and a person.

No matter how much he accomplished or was in the spotlight, he remained grounded with the common people. He never lost focus of who his real friends were—the students, the workers, the unemployed, ordinary citizens, prisoners, the have-nots. He never isolated himself from the masses, but, on the contrary, integrated himself with them.

His direct participation in the various civil and human rights struggles in the South alongside his students speaks volumes to the “stand-up” person he was. He not only talked the talk, he walked that walk.

I have had the privilege of directly corresponding with him for the past seven years. I very proudly call him a friend, a comrade, my teacher, my mentor.

I want to remind the readers of something Howard Zinn said: “My hope is whatever you do to make a good life for yourself, whether you become a teacher, a social worker, a business person, lawyer, poet, scientist, you will devote part of your life to making this a better world for your children.

My hope is that your generation will demand an end to war, that your generation will do something that has not yet been done in history, and wipe out the national boundaries that separate us from other human beings on this earth.”

Mr. Zinn knew that no matter how difficult anything may appear, you must not become too discouraged nor give up.

He said that in reference to the South when people said that the South would never change. But he went on to say: “It did change. It changed because ordinary people organized and took risk!! And challenged the system and would not give up.”

He was in opposition to the death penalty and knew it would take a  persevering struggle to abolish it. This, too, can change, as the South did, by your continuous sincere efforts of educating, organizing and networking nationally to build a strong people’s movement in opposition to the death penalty. When we as a people realize the strong potential we have as a “movement” and maintain that recognition and strength, things do change. 

It is always the “people’s power” that compelled the Supreme Court,  Congress, etc., to bring about the many, many changes we fought for throughout history.

So I am absolutely certain that Mr. Zinn, our friend and comrade, is proud of the work you all are doing. Remain optimistic and focused. Mr Zinn will live on in all of us forever.

“To break down barriers, you don’t have to be too extreme, you don’t have to do something heroic, just do something to join with millions of others who will just do something, because all of those somethings, at certain points in history, come together and make the world better.” — Howard Zinn

Paul K. Hickman, EB-6074
SCI Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370