Ben Jealous Awarded The Puffin/Nation Prize; Donating Portion of Prize Money to Troy Davis’ Nephew

Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, was awarded The Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship earlier this week.

$100,000 is included in the prize  that is given to someone who has “challenged the status quo through distinctive, courageous, imaginative, and socially responsible work of significance.”

Jealous has decided to give part of his money to Troy Davis’ nephew. Many will remember that Davis was executed in September of last year for the murder of a police office, a crime many say he did not commit.

They Reminisce Over You

Last week I made the decision not to mention Troy Davis in my blog. This week, however, I feel the need to make a desultory remark or two. So random are my words that I am thinking about the law and morality. A bad move, I know. But I can’t help it:

Despite my overall pessimism and general belief that this country will rarely, if ever, do the right thing, the hours I spent watching Democracy Now!’s fantastic coverage of the Troy Davis case last Thursday evening revealed that occasionally a modicum of hope that dwells underneath a crusty armor of curmudgeonly discontent emerges just long enough to be thoroughly crushed before I can toss it back into its secret hiding place. In other words, by 11:09 last Thursday evening, I  was totally shook.

Capital Punishment

By this time, I hope you’ve all heard of and joined the battle to stop the execution of Troy Davis. I don’t know where his fate will stand at the time that this is posted but I do know that I disagree with his fate resting in the hands of such a foul and uneven system. And once his case is decided, please continue to fight against capital punishment, a practice that has become far too routine in our prison system. So much so that we don’t hear of the majority of cases of inmates who are sentenced to death under the guise of protecting the safety and welfare of other citizens.

Before I ask you to support Troy Davis’s cause specifically or the battle against capital punishment in general, I want you to consider the purposes and limits of punishment. Are we to punish as deterrence? Is reform the goal?