Mass Incarceration. The New Jim Crow. The War on Drugs. Thanks to Professor Michelle Alexander these phrases are now intimately linked in the minds of social justice advocates and faith leaders as we begin a critical struggle for fairness, justice and human rights in the criminal courts, police precincts and prisons of America. The Next Movement is convinced that America can do better, and that the majority of Americans would want us to do better, if they knew the truth. The truth about systemic incarceration, structural second class status, completely uneven law enforcement practices, oppressive and selectively enforced laws that is filling the prisons of America.

Friday, September 23, 2011

America's Light Dimmed Again Yesterday


For over 20 years, Troy Davis has been proclaiming his innocence of the murder charge that placed him on death row in Georgia. With no physical evidence, but with 9 witnesses testifying against him, his pleas were not unlike so many heard from the accused throughout the justice system of America. But, after years of appeals, recanted testimonies (from 7 of the 9 witnesses) and confessions from another man that he did the killing, cries sprung up throughout the country of "Too-much-doubt," from the grass roots to the ivory towers.

From former President Jimmy Carter, to Pope Benedict XVI, from the NAACP to Amnesty International, from my friend Ted Pearson, to my pastor Rev. Otis Moss III, calls have gone out to withdraw the warrant for Troy's execution. Unfortunately, all the protests, letters, emails, tweets, etc., have not been enough to save him from the broken justice system we live with in our disUnited States of America.

America, the supposed "light on the hill" of moral certitude and character has once again spilled blood unnecessarily, callously, and for the world to see. Our light dimmed again yesterday! 

When America knowingly allows a death penalty in spite of proven fallibilities in our justice system, our light will continue to dim.

As long as the single most reliable predictor of whether someone will be sentenced to death is the race of the victim (77% of death penalty sentences are when victim is white), American's light will continue to dim.

And, as long as America continues to lead the entire world in the imprisonment of their own people, America's light will continue to dim!

I thank God for the many good people that fought the good fight to keep Troy Davis alive these many years, and look forward to our battles ahead. If not for this strand of decency, we would certainly be lost in the dark.

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