Today the state of Georgia participated in yet another murder of an innocent man. A man who remained dignified, gracious and full of grace till the end. A man who I grew to know very closely, who would at times confide things in me that he couldn't tell his sisters or mother so they would not worry more than they already did about his well being. A man who inspired millions behind bars when many of us who are free waste our time, and our lives doing nothing - a man who said he was dying to livewhile others lived and died - a man who sought to mentor kids to teach them not to make wrong choices - because being at the wrong place, wrong time, can make you another Troy Davis.
I remember my first conversation with him - his incredible faith, intelligence and dignity. I met him soon after for the first time in 2008. All I can say is over the years I learnt many lessons in resilience and honesty. Troy showed me by example not to take life seriously, to laugh even in the midst of being around death, disease and incarceration. I was amazed at his knowledge, his discipline, his optimism and his faith in God. Even on Tuesday evening when he called he said (among other things) – “no matter what happens to me, don't ever lose faith in God because God is for real”.
I saw no anger, just frustration at the legal system and more concern for my well being than his own. But that is how he always was. And that is how everyone in his family is. When his mother died suddenly, Martina called me to check on me to make sure I was okay. When the Parole Board denied him clemency on Tuesday, Troy called to check on me and my family to make sure we weren’t upset. He ended up giving us strength instead of the other way around. And at the end we were laughing.
I stood there outside the GDCP tonight, and saw the outpouring of love from everywhere across state and country lines. Troy Davis in his 42 years achieved more than many of us expect to achieve in a lifetime. He received more love than the men and women who wanted him dead would in a lifetime.
As I still struggle to accept the flaws in a system where man can play God and be the most cruel of all species, I also find peace remembering a man called Troy Davis on death row. I do not know the truth about what happened on that sad sad night in Savannah Georgia- but this do I know: we all deserve a second chance.
Amidst all the tears and the memories, I can say I am honored to have known a man who showed me that divinity can be found - of all the places - on death row. A man whose dignity, pride and faith till the end when he blessed even those who participated in his death, makes me so proud of the man he was. A man of courage who stood strong and proud in the face of so much and did not give up his integrity till the end.
I wish I could say the same for a lot of men in our legal system and even our President who chose to wash his hands of the whole business even when other Presidents didn’t.
Troy, I know you are in a better place and I know you have impacted future generations deeply. I know that they will fight injustice and will always remember that they stand on your broad shoulders.
- Kavita Chhibber.