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Real Talk: Do You Believe in the Death Penalty?

At 7PM tonight, Troy Davis will be executed by lethal injection in Georgia even though the evidence isn't as cut and dry as it seemed when he was convicted.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been practicing active indifference when it comes to Black men’s issues. My philosophy goes something like this: “Do no harm, but lend no hand.”

Why? Eh… how do I put this succinctly? Far too often, I see Black women rallying behind Brothas, defending them and making noise about injustices that overwhelmingly affect them — driving while Black, police harassment and brutality, racial profiling, unfair sentencing, etc. We are there for their issues, attending marches, writing letters, swelling the numbers of their support base, and sometimes “just” bowing heads to ask Him to watch over them on the byways. But what do we get in return?

When it comes to reciprocity, I find Black women’s issues become just that — women’s issues, and men don’t want to get involved. The battles on my Black woman shore sometimes seem too many to move my resources to someone else’s front, and certainly not to aide a group who could leave (and has left before). Too risky.

That said, I’m breaking my stance (temporarily). Most of the issues I stay silent on aren’t life or death; this one is.
If you’ve been on Twitter in the last 48 hours, you’ve likely seen #SaveTroyDavis. Russell Simmons, Nia Long, Sean Combs, Cornel West, Talib Kweli and thousands of others have been speaking out against his pending execution.

At 7PM tonight, Troy Davis will be executed by lethal injection at a state prison in Georgia. Davis was convicted of killing an off-duty police officer in 1989. Since then, seven of the nine trial witnesses have recanted their testimony against him. There is also no DNA evidence linking him to the crime.

This is the fourth time Davis has faced the death penalty since 2007. In 2008, the Supreme Court intervened just 90 minutes before the execution was slated, a maneuver unlikely to occur once again.

Yesterday, Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Paroles denied a last-ditch clemency appeal by Davis. This was despite more than 630,000 letters asking the board to stay the execution. The list of petitioners included President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and 51 members of Congress, according to The New York Times.
Usually a state governor can stop an execution, but it is not possible in Georgia, according to the State Constitution.

“A man is going to be executed, murdered, in fact, under a dark cloud of doubt in a nation, ours, that has come to practice executions as effortlessly as we breathe,” wrote activist Kevin Powell in “Why Are We Killing Troy Davis?” yesterday on the Huffington Post. “We are a nation of eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life. Spiraling so far out of control that we are going to execute someone who may actually be innocent.”

Last night, Davis refused his “last meal.” He still has faith his life will be spared.

If you oppose the death penalty, let the Chatham County District Attorney know you oppose the execution of Troy Davis by signing this Change.org petition started by his sister.