Students solemnly joined members of Florida A&M’s chapter of NAACP to gather in prayer around the Eternal Flame, in to support Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis.
Davis was scheduled for execution by lethal injection at 7 p.m. earlier that night in Georgia State Prison, but was delayed. The delay kept hope alive in students as well as his large group of supporters.
“The national office is leading the charge to save Troy Davis,” said Matthew Holte, 20, President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and third-year political science student from Tampa said. “So, of course the chapter here at Florida A&M is leading the charge here on campus to hopefully save Troy Davis.”
What began as prayer for the safety of Troy Davis evolved into a rallying call for all students at African-American institutions to motivate change.
“We can’t let this tear us down as a people,” Holte said. “We need to unite,” said the third-year political science student.
While some students came together to motivate and empower one another, others came to support Davis, who they felt was unjustly served the death sentence.
“It is quite upsetting to see how much the justice system fails members of the African-American race,” said Sunsera Music, 20, a third-year English education student from Orlando.
“We’re already predisposed to injustice concerning the prison system, but this case really took us over the edge. Execution is revenge, not justice,” said Music.
At 10:53 p.m. Davis’ execution began; at 10:58 p.m. he was checked for consciousness and was breathing slow with little movement in his body. At 11:08 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2011, Troy Davis was pronounced dead.