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This is Troy Davis. He was charged for the murder or police officer Mark MacPhail in 1989 and executed in 2011. Davis maintained his innocence and gained the support of the public, celebrities and human rights groups.

Ben Jealous: Seeing the new generation come to the movement with Troy Davis, going down to the White House, getting locked up for protest, deciding that this justice system–which has been an injustice system for their generation–they were taking control of so many people in their generation; It was something they were going to take control of.

This year we’re poised to abolish the death penalty for the sixth time in six years in a state and it has really become easier. We may actually abolish it in two states this year. Because of the energy and the power and the consensus that that rising generation of activists created, somebody simply decided to take care and say, “enough is enough, this has got to stop.”

In 2011, Troy Davis’ case was only second to Beyonce’s pregnancy on Twitter as far as things tweeted about year, and I know Beyonce’s pregnancy is a big social issue for a whole lot of brothers, but for a death penalty case to come right after that shows a little shift in the consciousness.

“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. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace…” words from Troy Davis’ own lips. With three strikes mounting against him–Black, living in the south and being accused of killing a White police officer–Davis had no way of winning his case. His 20 year conviction gave America time to get to know him and want to fight for him. Although he was ultimately executed, Davis’ life served a purpose to reignite a fire our people haven’t really seen since the Civil Rights era.

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#OurMoments: NAACP President Ben Jealous On Troy Davis’ Impact On Black Youth  was originally published on