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A painting made by Rob Will, on death row in Texas, in response to reading I Am Troy Davis
Haymarket Books and the Campaign to End the Death Penalty have teamed up to send copies of I Am Troy Davis to prisoners all over the country, many of whom are on death row. I Am Troy Davis author Jen Marlowe invited the prisoners receiving the books to take part in the I Am Troy Davis Community Book Club, and the response she received has been overwhelming. See some excerpts below:
"I thank you for sharing (I Am Troy Davis) with me. And I thank you for writing something that I can imagine was almost too painful, too horrific to bear.
May it fuel the anti-death penalty movement, and make it more powerful than they are today!"
--Mumia Abu Jamal, formerly on death row in PA, now serving a life sentence without parole. Read the rest of Mumia's response here, and listen to his radio review of I Am Troy Davis on Prison Radio.
"As Troy watched his nephew and niece grow up, I, too, watched my infant daughter grow up behind the glass. Opposite of Troy, I didn’t touch my daughter for 12 years until I left death row. Like Troy, I had to build with my child in visiting rooms and letters."
--Kenneth Foster, formerly on death row in TX, now serving a life sentence without parole. Read more of what Kenneth wrote here.
"I am working on my own autobiography…I don’t write for money. I write for the appreciation of the art. With each book I write I make sure that my level of creation and creativity is raised. i want to show the progression of my writings, if you will.I had never read a book in my life until I came to prison. So in a lot of ways I am raw. Still learning on the fly. Still eager."
--Chucky Mamou, death row in TX. Read the rest of what Chucky wrote here.
"I picked up my pencil, pen, paints, an illustration board and books and began creating... The idea of unity kept dancing through my mind and while going back and forth from jazz to classical music I, in turn, let my paint brush dance across the canvas. I glanced over at the book and quickly read the quotes on the cover and first few pages from well-known people in the social justice struggle... Sister Helen Prejean, Maya Angelou, Cornel West, Amy Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Eve Ensler, Gloria Steinem... Unity, unity, unity..."
--Rob Will, death row in TX. Read the rest of what Rob wrote here.
"Troy Davis is surely a must-read, it makes you hopeful, devastated, and then inspired all at the same time. It inspired me to find the strength within to write you. The fight against the death penalty must continue. I’m no longer on death row physically, but spiritually and mentally I am and I have to continue to share our stories, letting our voices be heard fighting this broken system to put an end to the state murders! I am a living witness and the fight continues because I Am Troy Davis. I’ve walked in a pair of those shoes and I pray that I can be of hope, motivation and inspiration to others as well as being empowered and impactful with putting an end to the death penalty and other injustices within and outside the justice system."
--Tim McKinney, formerly on death row in TN. Read the rest of what Tim wrote here.
"Please let [the Davis family] know that we were there with them when they lost Troy. We were in awe of the injustice! And that my family and I send our deepest sympathies for their loss."
-Louis "Big Lou" Perez, on death row in TX. Read more of what Big Lou wrote here.
"If society would only see how foul the judicial system is concerning the death penalty cases, then perhaps the fight to end it would prevail."
--Domineque Hakim Marcelle Ray, on death row in AL. Read the rest of what Domineque wrote here.
"I Am Troy Davis" tempts anyone who’s a decent human being in possession of a conscience to enter the struggle on behalf of their fellow human beings. If we don’t stand for others, there’ll be no one left to stand for us, on the day injustice knocks on our door."
-David Davis, serving a life sentence without parole in TX. Read more of what David and wrote here.
"A salute to Troy Davis. It’s been 3 years since his murder and his name lives on. His story is still relevant. His story still mirrors hundreds of individuals across America that have been wronged by the criminal justice system."
--Christopher Young, on death row in TX. Read the rest of what Chris wrote here.
"I’ve seen the hurt in the eyes of loved ones, not hearing that I’ve finally prevailed. My mother’s soul has been severely blotched by my incarceration. My fear, too, is that heart break will be her demise. These are my silent and personal distresses dealing with a system that favors bottom lines over fundamental fairness. We, Troy Davis and I, share the painful experience of being poor, initially unversed in criminal law, naive to this ghastly beast of a system, being African American going through it all."
--Mr. Charles McKinley, serving a life sentence without parole in TX. Read more of what Charles wrote here.
"Thank you for writing me and sending me the most powerful book that I have ever read, and at the same time, the most heart-breaking...Jen, the sad thing about all this is there are other Troy Davis’s strapped in these concrete necropolis around the world and those who are free who are about to end up here in prison on death row or with life."
--Adolfo Davis, who has been serving a life sentence without parole in IL since he was 14 years old. Read more of what Adolfo wrote here.
"With every execution by the state, Troy Davis is executed all over again. With every execution of an innocent person, it is as if we are killing all of human kindness and spirit."
--Reggie Clemons, on death row in MO. Read more of what Reggie wrote here.