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PORTSIDE  September 2011, Week 4

PORTSIDE September 2011, Week 4

Subject:

Troy Davis and the Acceptance of Sacrifice

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

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Date:

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 21:53:33 -0400

Content-Type:

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Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (134 lines)

Troy Davis and the Acceptance of Sacrifice

By Ted Glick
Future Hope column, September 25, 2011

http://www.tedglick.com/columns/105.html

"As I look at my mail from across the globe, from
places I have never ever dreamed I would know about and
people speaking languages and expressing cultures and
religions I could only hope one day to see first hand,
I am humbled by the emotion that fills my heart with
overwhelming, overflowing Joy. I can't even explain the
insurgence of emotion I feel when I try to express the
strength I draw from you all; it compounds my faith,
and it shows me yet again that this is not a case about
the death penalty, this is not a case about Troy Davis,
this is a case about Justice and the Human Spirit to
see Justice prevail."

Troy Davis, September 10, 2011, 11 days before his
execution

http://sfbayview.com/2011/troy-davis%E2%80%99-last-letter-never-stop-fighting-for-justice-and-we-will-win/

Troy Davis was a special person. I learned this very
late, just days before his execution by the state of
Georgia, when my email inbox and the mainstream news
became full of stories about his case. It was not until
that happened that I took the time to learn more about
him.

I was moved by what I learned. As indicated by the
above quote from one of his last communications from
death row, Troy Davis became much more than the latest
low-income person of color done wrong by the so-called
"criminal justice system." Troy Davis became a martyr
for the movement, a person willing to accept the
ultimate sacrifice with love in his heart because he
did not lose faith in the power of human beings to
bring about positive, justice-based social change.

He was able to see past his personal sufferings and
death to a different kind of world. He was a visionary,
and he led by example. I learned this as I listened to
his 17 year old nephew, De Jaun Correia, on Democracy
Now explaining what it was like to visit his uncle
regularly and the strength and humanity Troy had helped
to instill in De Jaun.

I am sure that Troy appreciated all of those who came
before him who also accepted the necessity of personal
sacrifice in the cause of justice, people like Jesus of
Nazareth, Tecumseh, Harriet Tubman, Joe Hill, Cesar
Chavez, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X., Bobby
Sands and many, many more.

Troy's example and Troy's words remind me of something

Helen Keller once said:

"Four things to learn in life:

To think clearly without hurry or confusion;

To love everybody sincerely;

To act in everything with the highest motives;

To trust God unhesitatingly."

How do movements grow? One essential component is the
willingness of individuals within it to model a way of
living, a humanity and dedication to doing what is
right, no matter what the costs, which spreads outward,
inspiring and moving others to take action. Troy has
certainly done that for the movement against the death
penalty, against racism and institutionalized
injustice.

Another example is Tim DeChristopher, climate activist
from Utah who took action to derail what turned out to
be an illegal government auction of public lands to gas
companies and for which he is now serving a two-year
sentence in federal prison. There is no question in my
mind that there is a direct connection between Tims
example, his continued activism and movement-building
work after his arrest until his sentencing, and the
willingness of 1,253 people to be arrested at the White
House a month ago as part of the historic Tar Sands
Action (www.tarsandsaction.org).

A great sacrifice is rarely something to be actively
pursued. Indeed, what is most needed is not so much
individuals looking to take a big risk for what is
right but, instead, individuals whose inner light,
whose never-extinguished passion for justice, keeps
them working day after day, making daily sacrifices,
doing the many little things which, when combined with
the similar work of many others, has an impact.

As movements grow, there will be bigger sacrifices and
possibly great sacrifices made as action is taken
against injustice and wrong. When that happens and we
are the ones making the sacrifice, we need to be
prepared spiritually and emotionally to be an example
to others about how to stand strong with dignity and
love in our hearts despite hardship and suffering.

We need to be like Troy Davis.

Ted Glick has been a progressive activist and organizer
since 1968. Past writings and other information can be
found at www.tedglick.com, and he can be followed on
twitter @jtglick, www.twitter.com/jtglick.

___________________________________________

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