Please help Troy Davis’s family.

Troy Davis & his family in a picture taken before the prison cut off "contact visits."

Readers of this blog will remember that I spent a few weeks this fall laser-focused on the case of Troy Davis, an innocent man on Georgia’s Death Row who, despite all evidence against him crumbling over the course of his incarceration, was executed on September 21. You can read the pieces I placed in The Atlantic online here: “Explaining the death penalty to my children” and here: “Troy Davis and the reality of doubt.”  You’ll find the post I wrote the day after Troy was murdered here.

I spent several weeks laser-focused on the Troy Davis case, but some people have spent several years, such as my friend Jen Marlowe. Working with Amnesty International, she did everything from producing a powerful series of videos telling his story, to counting signatures calling for the state of Georgia to spare his life. She came to know and love the Davis family, and her work on their behalf continues — in no small part because their tragedies didn’t end with Troy’s execution.

Indeed, the tragedies didn’t even start there. Troy’s mother Virginia died suddenly in April 2011, a death her daughter Martina was sure was a result of simple heartbreak over Troy’s failure to win a commutation of his sentence. Martina herself had been struggling with breast cancer for a decade when Troy was killed; two months after burying her brother, Martina herself died. The boy they all left behind, De’Jaun Davis-Correia, is an outstanding high school student who looked up to his uncle as a father-figure and is today hoping to attend Georgia Tech, where he wants to major in industrial engineering. It is a sign of the strength and the beauty of this family that De’Jaun is already a dedicated death penalty activist, and has been named by The Root as one of its “25 Young Futurists” for 2012. I cannot imagine how he gets up in the morning, much less makes plans.

But sorrow and loss aren’t the end of it. Three funerals in the space of seven months and years of cancer-related hospitalizations have resulted in bills that would overwhelm anyone.

For that reason, Jen (who is currently working on a book about Troy and Martina) is raising funds for the Davis family. Here’s the letter she sent out this week:

The Davis family lost three warriors for justice 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. Troy’s sister and staunchest advocate, Martina, succumbed to her decade-long battle with cancer on December 1, exactly two months after her brother Troy’s funeral, leaving behind a teenaged son.

There are still outstanding medical and funeral bills that the Davis family must pay.

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 have set up a simple way to contribute online to the family. I hope you will choose to help, and that you will share this information with others. All you have to do is click this link: https://www.wepay.com/donations/fund-for-troy-davis-s-family Any amount will be highly appreciated and will help them greatly!

Please circulate this information to others you think may be interested in helping.

Any questions can be directed to Jen Marlowe at donkeysaddle [at] gmail [dot] com.

In solidarity with all the Davis family has been fighting for and in sorrow for all they have had to endure,
Jen Marlowe
Troy Davis Campaign

If you are in a position to help, please do so. As Jen says, any amount will be helpful, and in the end, all the little amounts add up. Please also pass the word along to any and all who might be able to join in the effort.

Troy Davis is not here to help his family through this ordeal — those of us who fought for his life must now do so for him.

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.

***************

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