Monday of Holy Week: Stand, and Fight, for Justice
BY PATRICK SAINT JEAN, S.J. | April 11, 2022
In 1989, the State of Georgia sentenced Troy Davis to death for the murder of a police officer. No physical evidence linked Troy to the crime, and the witness testimony was contradictory. Nearly a million people signed a petition to stay his execution, and the NAACP, the Innocence Project, Amnesty International, President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu all pled for clemency. Nevertheless, on September 21, 2011, the State of Georgia killed Troy.
On the morning of his death, Troy asked that this message be shared with the world: “The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me.” Today, more than a decade since Troy’s death, a study done by the National Registry of Exonerations found that innocent Black people are still seven times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder than innocent white people.
Sometimes it would be easier to turn away than to hear the news of one more Black person killed by injustice. But today’s reading reminds us that Jesus’ followers are called to join his stand for justice. The Lenten journey asks us not to harden our hearts to the frustration we feel when we hear yet another account of injustice; instead, we can allow it to be transformed into new energy to answer the challenge of Troy Davis’s last words before his execution: “Continue to fight this fight.”
- Am I willing during this Lenten season to hear the voice of Jesus speaking through Troy Davis and others like him?
- Am I willing to feel a holy frustration that inspires me to fight for justice?
Patrick Saint-Jean, S.J., is an amateur of life, a psychoanalyst by training, and a passionate practitioner of Ignatian spirituality and Black Spirituality. He is a Jesuit in formation at Creighton University in Omaha, NE where he teaches in the department of psychology.
It is sad that our land (New Zealand) is becoming more and more racist with an increasing number of Maori in our prison systems. What is noticeable in statistics is the marked increase in the number of Maori women in our prisons in recent years. Prisons incarcerate the poor and the powerless, not the real criminals in our society. It is the same the world over. How do we change the system?
Our fight for justice is an everyday occurrence as we follow Jesus as His disciple everyday.-morning, noon and night. I ask the Holy Spirit to give me the graces to continue this fight whether it is for migrants, the people of the war, the economically poor or those who know specifically what they are asking for in this time of holy-frustration. Let us not deter from our constant asking for the oppressions to pass and for all to live an intentional and meaningful life so that our gift to God is one of strength and courage and a willingness to be like Christ in giving His all on the Cross. May our actions and thoughts reflect the willingness of Christ to give all this day for our fellow travelers in need .May we give today like Jesus without counting the cost. May God’s grace sustain us through this period of trial.
We must eliminate the death penalty and allow sir human error and exoneration
History keeps showing it. Martyrs for Justice – strangely but truly, they live long.