Death penalty abolition advocate Martina Davis-Correia, sister of Troy Davis, has died.

Martina Davis-Correia, surrounded by friends and family on the day of her brother Troy Davis's execution. Her son DeJaun, who Troy helped to raise from behind prison walls, is standing directly behind her.

Martina Davis-Correia, sister of Troy Davis, died last Friday. Diagnosed with breast cancer a decade ago, Martina was given a prognosis of six months — she stayed alive, she said, to fight for her brother. That fight lost on September 21, I can’t help but feel that her own battle must have become much harder.

In the course of struggling for her brother’s life, Martina became a leading figure in the movement to abolish the death penalty: “Even as Martina’s health failed,” Amnesty International said last week in a statement honoring her life, “she was making plans to continue her work against the death penalty in her brother’s memory, as he urged his supporters to do just before he was put to death.”

But the losses of Troy and Martina are not the only ones the Davis family has suffered this year — their mother, Virginia Davis, died unexpectedly in April. I’m not sure what I believe about the after-life, but I know that the Davis family has long shared a deep Christian faith (Troy would regularly lead a prayer circle for the family at the end of their visits, even when new prison rules would no longer allow him skin-to-skin contact with his family). I hope that the Davises and all who love them are finding some comfort in the idea that Virginia, Troy and Martina are with each other again.

Unsurprisingly, fighting both breast cancer and her brother’s death sentence did not leave Martina or her family with much money. Her friend Jen Marlowe — my friend, too, and the filmmaker who produced the Amnesty videos about Troy’s case — is helping to raise funds to help the Davis family pay for Martina’s funeral and her outstanding hospital bills.

I cannot help Troy or Martina in any way anymore, and I cannot help their family much. But I can give a little of what I have to help them pay their bills. I can help take one worry off their shoulders.

Please read the following letter from Jen, and if you feel that you can make a contribution — no matter how small — please do so. Let’s honor Martina, and Troy, and the mother who held them both in her arms as best we can.

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Dear friends,

As you know, funds are needed for the funeral expenses of Martina Davis-Correia, as well as her remaining medical bills.

The Davis family has had to bury three loved ones in the past seven months. Virginia Davis, the matriarch of the family, passed in April, just two weeks after the US Supreme Court denied Troy’s final appeal, paving the way for the state of Georgia to set a new execution date. According to Martina, her mother died of a broken heart–she couldn’t bear another execution date. Troy was executed on September 21, despite an international outcry over executing a man amid such overwhelming doubt. Martina succumbed to her decade-long battle with cancer on December 1, exactly two months after her brother Troy’s funeral.

The Davis family has had to bear more tragedy and sorrow than any family should ever have to. Together, we can ensure that the financial aspect of these losses will not be a burden to them.

I sent a notice out a few days ago about a fund for Martina, to cover her funeral and medical bills. I wanted to let you know that contributions can also be made via paypal, using the email address: aug1970@bellsouth.net

Checks can also be made out to: “The Martina Davis-Correia Fund”
and sent to:
Capitol City Bank and Trust
339 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Savannah, GA 31419

Martina’s funeral is December 10, which is International Human Rights Day. A more fitting date could not be found to celebrate the life of a woman who was one of the staunchest defenders of human rights that I have ever had the privilege to call my friend.

Thank you in advance for any support you can offer, in any amount.

In solidarity,
Jen Marlowe