What's Next for Troy Davis' Nephew?
One of The Root's 2011 Young Futurists, De'Jaun Davis-Correia, reflects on his challenging year.
"I know that I can't just sit around and let things die down," he said. "That's not what my mother, grandmother and uncle would want."
People who know De'Jaun say that he has an indomitable spirit he inherited from his mother. (His father is not very involved in his life.) His mother, he said, was able to captivate an audience with her intellect and the way she spoke.
"She was the embodiment of resilience," said Laura Moye, death-penalty abolition campaign director for Amnesty International USA. Moye met De'Jaun and his mother in the late 1990s and was by his mother's side in her final days. Moye said that Martina Correia's spirit was strong and she held on with every breath.
"It was very important to Martina for her son to have as 'normal' a life as possible so he can make his own decisions about what he wants to do with his life," she said. "She really wanted him to experience the joy of family, the joy of getting to know his uncle and not be hit too strongly with the darker stuff she was dealing with."
De'Jaun said his mother had two desires before she died: to see her son graduate from high school and for Georgia's court system to be scrutinized.
"She did get a chance to see the work she has done, and how many people were behind her and fighting for her," De'Jaun said. "She was very pleased by that."
Jealous said De'Jaun speaks from the heart. He has known the young man since he was 3 and has kept in touch with the family intermittently over the years. He calls the family strong and faith-filled.
"De'Jaun has come through these ordeals with a sense of purpose and clarity about his own life and the impact he hopes to have on the world," Jealous said. "It is inspiring as it is rare."
De'Jaun is not one to hold grudges. He tries to use his power to make the situation better. He sees his uncle's death, while sad, as creating opportunities that he may not have had. He believes that destiny has determined his fate and future.
The 2011 Young Futurist has a message for this year's honorees: "If you are passionate about something, make a change, do what you have to do with your power and resources. Educate, get out there and influence others."
Learn more about the 2012 Young Futurists.
Megan K. Scott is a contributor to The Root.