Amid a slow sprinkle of raindrops and a flurry of evening pedestrians, the sound of strumming emanated from a corner of the Diag Friday evening in support of Troy Davis, a Georgia man many believe was wrongly executed last year after being convicted of murdering a police officer.

The guitar piece opened a vigil, attended by about 25 students, to commemorate the execution of Davis on Sept. 21, 2011, and honor him for becoming a symbol for fighting injustice within the legal system.

Davis was convicted of murdering Burger King security guard Mark MacPhail, who was stopping an assault in a nearby parking lot on Aug. 19, 1989. Davis was sentenced to execution in August 1991, and maintained his innocence until his death, receiving the support of various human rights groups.

LSA senior Zach Baker, the event organizer, said he developed a passion for social justice issues while volunteering at a prison. In order to commemorate Davis’s death and raise awareness on prison injustices, Baker helped unite student groups on campus under the common cause.

“We have a lot of really active student groups,” Baker said. “A lot of students here don’t know anyone who ever went to prison and it’s really easily to separate yourself from that and not truly understand it.”

During the vigil, which was sponsored by the Black Student Union, Students Organizing Against Prisons and the University’s chapter of Amnesty International, representatives of each participating organization spoke on the importance of human rights, equality and raising awareness for such causes. Organizers invited attendees to share their own thoughts and reactions, before concluding with a moment of silence.

“It’s throwing sparks in all directions,” Baker said. “I hope the theme is that injustice shouldn’t be anywhere anymore.”

He also emphasized that the groups’ message expands beyond that of remembering Davis.

“I think it’s really important, everything happens so fast now, it’s easy to get caught up in our school and other things and not take the time to take the time to stop and remember and wait a second a remember there’s bigger things in the world to pay attention to and see if my voice can be heard, even if it’s a small group of people that gather,” Baker said. “It’s not the size, it’s the spirit that matters.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.