Today we mourn the passing of Martina Davis Correia, sister of Troy Anthony Davis and tireless fighter of the death penalty. Martina died this Thursday at the age of 44 after a long fight with breast cancer and a 22 year battle to free her brother Troy from death row until his execution by lethal injection this past September.
Martina was unflagging in her efforts to clear her brother Troy’s name and resolute in her commitment to end the unjust capital punishment system in the U.S. Curt Goering, chief operating officer of Amnesty International USA, said of Martina,
“Our hearts are breaking over the loss of this extraordinary woman. She fought to save her brother’s life with courage, strength and determination, every step of the way. She was a powerful example of how one person can make a difference as she led the fight for justice for Troy Davis, even as she endured her own decade-long battle with cancer.”She was a tenacious fighter, a graceful inspiration to activists everywhere, and a true hero of the movement for human rights. At this sorrowful time, we at Amnesty International offer our profound sympathy to her family.”
Martina gave us much to work for. After the passing of her brother on September 21, 2011, Martina pledged to continue the fight against capital punishment and refused to see his death as a failure. She said,
“I want people to know that we didn’t fail. As long as we keep hammering away at this thing, as long as we refuse to give up, we haven’t failed. We’ll be doing what Troy would have wanted us to do.”
Laura Moye, Death Penalty Abolition Campaign coordinator for Amnesty International USA was with Martina during her last moments in the hospital. In a statement she made to Atlanta Progressive News, Moye said of Martina,
“She was a true champion and hero for human rights in the U.S. and beyond. She changed all of us and she changed this world. We know her spirit is very strong and is going to continue to be a force for changing this world for the better.”
We absolutely cannot let the passing of Troy and now, the passing of Martina, to be in vain. We will mourn them both and we will remember the hardships of their family over these past few months and years. We will remember and we will be thankful for their commitment to ending this unjust system of state-sanctioned murder. We will do these things and we will also pick up the torch that both Troy and Martina carried and we will work just as tirelessly as they did to end capital punishment. We must make Martina proud and honor her name by continuing the work that she felt so passionately about.
Photo: World Coalition Against the Death Penalty/Wikimedia
Article also published at The Progressive Playbook.