Troy Davis execution prompts student group action at SHU
Amnesty International of Seton Hall University will be holding a demonstration on Sept. 29 in response to the execution of convicted murderer Troy Davis.
The organization distributed black armbands on Wednesday night which will be worn all day on Thursday as a symbol of mourning and disapproval in regards to the execution, according to Amnesty International Treasurer, Mary Beliveau.
“We hope to provide students with an outlet to demonstrate their frustration with the American judicial system on campus,” Beliveau said. “We also hope to educate people that may be unaware of the extreme human rights violation that has just occurred.”
According to Beliveau, the organization’s vision is for every person to “enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.”
Amnesty International President Claire McGuinness said that it is very important to connect Seton Hall with the world at large.
“Students didn’t come here to learn in a bubble; they came to learn how to become active, contributing members of the society in which they live,” McGuinness said. “By letting them know about human rights violations that have occurred in other places, we are helping them to do just that.”
The group hopes to have anywhere from 50 to more than 100 participants in the armband demonstration.
Beliveau said the wristbands represent the group’s displeasure with the American judicial system and the way the Davis case was conducted.
According to McGuinness, seven out of the nine witnesses who testified against Davis later recanted, claiming that they had been coerced.
While this does not prove his innocence, she believes it proves that there was a reasonable doubt of his guilt and that Davis should have been given another trial, McGuinness.
The group brings speakers to campus, holds fundraisers for different non-profit organizations, attends protests, and shows documentaries in an attempt to give students a way to act out against human rights violations on the local, national, and international scale.
“Though the tragedy has already occurred, we believe that if enough attention is brought the matter we can prevent similar abrogations of justice from taking place in the future” McGuinness.
According to a flyer distributed by Amnesty International, it costs more to execute someone than it does to keep him or her in jail for life.
Students do not have to be morally opposed to the death penalty to wear an armband, and all are welcome to demonstrate in support of human rights, McGuiness said.
Charlotte Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org