I went to a hip hop show tonight, to see Black Star. Mos Def and Talib Kweli. They made one perfect album together in 1997, and that was it. One of the best things about hip hop in the 90s was the political consciousness that was…maybe not pervasive, but at least plausible. It was there tonight, at that show, that I heard that the Georgia Supreme Court had decided to execute Troy Davis. You can look up his case to find out the particulars. He was convicted of killing a cop 20 years ago. In the meantime, nearly all the witnesses recanted their testimony, providing more than a reasonable doubt of his guilt. He has had international attention on his case, advocating for clemency. But tonight, his last appeals were exhausted, and the state of Georgia decided to execute him.
Aside from all the evidence that casts doubt on his guilt, what kind of world are we creating for our children to allow this kind of thing to happen? The death penalty is so flawed, and its application is so overwhelmingly racialized, that it seems there is no possible way to use it justly.
We must be better than this. We must assert our humanity at every possible juncture. And not only our own, but that of every living person. There’s no shortage of it to go around. For every person whose life and dignity we defend, our own is increased. Everytime we add our voices to the chorus in favor of justice and fairness, we are improved. We are in outrageous times. When history calls us to account, we must not say that we were silent. No matter the outcome, our actions matter. We must not, at any cost, remain silent in the face of injustice.
Stepchild in the Promised Land.