For the next 365 days, I will be writing entries under the title, ‘I AM TROY DAVIS.’ Moved to pick up the pen not merely by Troy Anthony Davis‘ death/execution, but more so by his life/evolution, I hope that there are those out there who can relate. If so, we must connect. We are already connected. Axé.
When someone close to you dies, there is a period of time when you feel that their passing isn’t actually real. You spend some time (hours, days, months, years, an entire lifetime), in a hazy form of denial, expecting your lost loved one to somehow walk back through your door, ring your phone, or come around the corner unexpectedly. Sometimes you just wait in familiar places for this occurrence.
Even if you saw the person die right in front of you, there is always some small piece of your soul that just can’t admit to the reality of your loss. It’s difficult for everybody, but I think most can relate to what I’m saying. When you lose someone close, it is hard to imagine the world without them. So, you continue looking, in the spaces and places they once occupied, hoping they will arrive, and gradually, you begin coping with their absence.
Last night (September 21, 2011), I watched America, more specifically the state of Georgia, execute a man named Troy Anthony Davis. I sat in front of my computer screen for nearly 5 hours, witnessing the public lynching of an innocent man. The extensive coverage by Democracy Now anchor Amy Goodman took me on an emotional roller coaster – from the height of divine light-bearing inspiration, to the depths of the valley of the shadow of death, and back again. Yea, though we walked, thousands of us from all around the globe, with Troy and his family through yet another blood-stained chapter in American history, we feared no evil. Even in death, Troy lives.
I can’t the say the emotion that filled our small room at the time was shock, but it was familiar. It was familiar because we have been here before. And no matter how many times we are forced to witness this level of injustice and brutality, we still feel the pain deeply. You would think, after all the wars (psychological, spiritual, biological, and otherwise), police brutality, lynchings (legal or otherwise) faced by Blacks in this nation, we would have developed some form of spiritual callous which might keep us from feeling these most recent blows to our psyche. Yet, somehow, despite it all, we can’t seem to shed our humanity like snake skin as others might.
No matter the injustice, hypocrisy, mayhem, brutality, and terrorism witnessed (directly or indirectly) here, we continue to hope there is some humanity, or consciousness to plead to judicially. We must be absolutely crazy because most of us know intimately about Amadou Diallo, Rodney King, Sean Bell, Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Angola 3, the MOVE 9, Tuskegee experiments, Hurricane Katrina, and the list goes on. These are just a few of the most recent (as I write quickly), publicized, and immediate cases of police brutality, judicial railroading, and/or governmental human rights violations.
Still, despite reason, and the historical context of it all, I sat – with many of you, watching, hoping, praying. They announced Troy Anthony Davis’ death at 11:08 pm. I will never be able to see this time again, and not think of him. No matter where I am, 11:08 has new meaning.
New meanings are necessary at this time.
In the span of only a few weeks, the phrase ‘I AM TROY DAVIS’ has spread across the entire globe. Today, I wonder how deeply it continues to resonate in the hearts and souls of those of us who marched, protested, petitioned, emailed, called, prayed, whatever. It is only 24 hours later. The world is still spinning. And, I pray that this phrase is still as real to our world today as it was yesterday. It needs to stay real from now until there are no more prison walls to write on, about, or tear down.
I AM TROY DAVIS because I am alive. We are one and the same because no matter what is said about ‘progress’ in this country, murder is still legal in the hands of the government. Doubt is based on complexion. And, yes, the struggle continues.
The fearless and tireless fight of the Davis family must live in us. Many of us are tired. We are hurt. We are bloodied and bruised, but we cannot be broken. I AM TROY DAVIS, and so are you.
Someone close to me has died. I did not know him personally, but he was my brother. We became close when I read his story, and learned about his case through articles, documentaries, music videos, and testimonies online. We became closer when I woke up every morning and looked in the mirror. We became one when I fully realized (beyond any shadow of a doubt, or intellectual/theoretical level), we share the same fate and destiny. As Mumia Abu-Jamal states, ‘we are all on Death Row.’
‘Losing’ Troy Anthony Davis from the physical plane does not leave me looking for him where I once found him; in blog posts, newspaper articles, films, or on Georgia’s death row. No, losing my brother, Troy Davis, means that I look for him in you.
I look for him in me.
He won’t be returning our letters, writing any more appeals, experiencing any more family visits, or conducting any interviews. He will now live on in the realm of ancestors, and in each and every one of us.
Look at yourself. YOU ARE TROY DAVIS. You can’t die. You must live. You must fight. We belong to each other.
My name is Jonathan ‘Jbro’ Mahone, and I am one-half of (RAS) Riders Against the Storm. I AM TROY DAVIS.