Last year when Keith Davis Jr. was sentenced to 50 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, his wife Kelly Davis made a commitment to fight. The fight that Kelly has committed to is one with many moving pieces— it’s a fight to preserve her own sanity, a fight to raise her children, a fight to get up every day and go to work, a fight to hold on to her marriage, and a fight against the racist and corrupt Baltimore political establishment. For many African women and non-men, it’s a storied fight, old as our arrival in this country. And many days it’s a very thankless job.
How do we begin to honor the commitment of African mothers and lovers traveling hours every week to sit in cold, dirty waiting rooms with a smile on their face, even though they have no good news to deliver? How do we honor the lonely holidays, birthdays and special occasions? How do we honor the show downs against prosecutors, judges and district attorneys; the isolation that comes with always having to be the loudest one in the room, saying the things that make everyone else uncomfortable?
There is no way for us to acknowledge our survival against death making carceral institutions without adjusting the frame to show the countless women and non-men who are teaching us to love in spite of them. This International Working Women’s Month, I would like to honor Kelly Davis, a revolutionary African woman in every sense. She’s questioning the entire system of policing in Baltimore, running up on “progressive prosecutor” Marylin Mosby, and creating a spectacle to expose the contradictions and limitations of representational politics.
Check out the podcast episode I made below, which tells more of her story, and her fight to liberate the love of her life.