Martina Noel Davis-Correia, 1967-2011

From the January-February 2012 issue of News & Letters:

Martina Noel Davis-Correia, 1967-2011

I want people to know that we didn’t fail. As long as we keep hammering away at this thing, as long as we refuse to give up, we haven’t failed. We’ll be doing what Troy Davis wanted us to do. Our efforts made an impact and will continue to make an impact.  —Martina Correia

A woman who symbolizes all that is meant by “protester,” Martina Noel Davis-Correia died of chemotherapy complications Dec. 2, 2011. She battled the inhuman system that is the U.S. in its darkest manifestation: state murder of a defenseless man. People the world over, from former prosecutors/judges to coerced eyewitnesses, believed Ms. Correia’s brother, Troy Davis, to be innocent. Nevertheless, the state of Georgia killed him on Sept. 21, 2011.

During the 18 years of her brother’s incarceration, Correia’s powerful voice catapulted her into the boards and upper echelons of major human rights organizations. She served as chair of the steering committee for Amnesty International’s USA program to abolish the death penalty. In 2010 AI’s Irish Section awarded her the Sean McBride Award for Outstanding Contributions to Human Rights. And in 2009 the ACLU presented her the Georgia Civil Liberties Award while The Southern Center for Human Rights granted her the Frederick Douglass award.

Correia was also honored for work to raise awareness in the prevention of breast cancer: President of the National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer and member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

Martina’s day job as lab manager at OB/GYN Associates Savannah, continued up to her own diagnosis in March 2001. She was a student, a nurse, and a veteran of the first Gulf War and followed the demanding profession of Army Flight Nurse. She singly raised her sons Antoné Dejaun Davis-Correia and Ricardo Chambers.

Virginia Davis, mother of 10 of whom Martina was the eldest, was also an activist who protested until her death at 65. Virginia’s death was shocking because, in good health, she took a nap and didn’t wake up. This occurred after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Troy’s case, paving the way for his execution.

Martina never gave up her battle against injustice, the death penalty, poverty and lack of opportunity. “She was prepared to go every round and never back down.” “Wherever people are demanding justice and freedom, her echo will be nearby.”

To hear her passionate voice as she struggled to save Troy’s life, go to http://atlanta.indymedia.org/local/georgia-america-and-world-loses-martina-correia

When philosophers and political theorists interpret current events or the movement from below, people like Martina Correia will be guiding their thoughts as they restructure their ideas on human possibilities.

—Jan

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