As many of you know, this evening at 11:08pm, a man by the name of Troy Davis was executed by lethal injection. He was accused of killing an officer back in August 1989 (about eight months after I was born) and charged with murder in 1991. For 22 years, the state of Georgia has held this man behind bars with no pure evidence that he in fact did kill Officer McPhail.
Seven of the nine witnesses retracted their original testimonies. And many times (I believe three) Mr. Davis was granted stay from his execution.
What I witnessed today from millions of people in the Twitterverse was something very interesting (and this isn’t the first time this has happened either). People making their own judgement and opinions about the situation, offering prayers for peace and hoping that just by a miracle, Mr. Davis’ life would be spared yet again. Celebrities traveling to Jackson, GA to support Mr. Davis; students at Howard University and Morehouse College being arrested because of peaceful protesting. And how did I know all of this? Because of technology.
I write this post to make a statement of how far we’ve come as a society, but how we still have a very long way to go. The effort that was seen on Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets today was truly astonishing; the speed by which news travels these days is quiet mind-blowing and the fact that electronic signatures could have influenced the decision of a judge in Georgia shows how powerful we as a people can be, no matter the distance.
I just hope and pray that this entire situation teaches us one lesson: if you’re going to talk about it, be about it.
Yes, an innocent man was murdered tonight by the state government, but what are we going to do to prevent the hundreds and thousands of other men and women innocently on death row? Are we going to #tweettosavealife every time they pop up in the media? Or get out in the field and become politicians, lawyers, civil activists and organizers to make change in the world?
Just imagine what we can do NOT sitting behind a computer. Sure, Twitter and Facebook are great tools to uses to communicate, gather and have thoughtful discussions, but we have to move beyond simply complaining about what happens in our country and world. I commend those all over the country that rallied and protested–your efforts don’t go unnoticed, but we can’t leave it up to a small group of people. I’m not saying that we all need to grab picket signs are protest about everything, but use your gifts and talents to make a difference. I have faith in my generation–I believe and that we can move mountains to make things happen. Let the story of Troy Davis be a lesson to us all. It’s time to put up or shut up.