A Circle of Prayer for Troy Davis—and the Country That Would Kill Him
Motivational posters line the hallways en route to the visitation room. Images of rock climbers, an eagle soaring over clouds, a collection of hands of all pigmentation on a basketball, each with an inspirational one-word message: LEADERSHIP, OPPORTUNITY, ACHIEVEMENT, FOCUS, TEAMWORK.
Opportunity? Achievement? The irony was outrageous. The hallway was in the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison and I was walking down it with the Davis family en route to visit death row inmate Troy Davis.
Though I had been corresponding with Troy for years via letters and phone, December 2009 was my first visit. I knew I would not have the opportunity to be sitting in the same room as Troy; contact visits had been taken away from death row inmates a few months earlier. Instead, I spoke to Troy through a black iron grate, alongside his mother, sisters and teen-aged nephew. At the end of every visit, the Davis family formed a prayer circle, holding hands, Troy leading a prayer thanking God for their blessings and praying for the strength to continue their quest for justice.
With contact visits revoked, Troy could no longer hold hands with the rest of his family. Instead, he pressed his hands flat against the black iron grating. His family and I formed a semi-circle. Troy’s mother pressed her hand on the opposite side of the grate as Troy’s right palm, and his nephew did the same on the left. Everyone bowed their heads, closed their eyes and offered prayers. I couldn’t help but take a peek. Troy looked like a silhouette through the dense iron grill, his head bowed, his hands pressed against the grate, with his mother and nephew’s hands pressed just as firmly on the other side, finding a way, despite the steel and bars, to maintain their circle of prayer.
Please click here to read the rest. And please keep Mr. Davis in your thoughts today, especially at 7:00 pm EST, when he is scheduled to be executed.