I’m thrilled to officially announce the publication of Remain Free, a book I’ve spent three years working on. It will be released on September 21, 2015. More information (including excerpts from the book) can be found on www.remainfree.com, but I’ll answer a few commonly asked questions here. I answered other questions in a Reddit AMA I did when I first announced the book back in 2012.
What is Remain Free?
Remain Free is a memoir about my relationship with Troy Davis, a well-known death row inmate who was executed in 2011 despite serious doubts of his guilt. I believe he was executed innocent.
Why did you write this book?
Troy Davis was the focus of intense media scrutiny in the months leading up to his execution. In 2008, the Wikipedia page for “Troy Davis” was a football player, with a small link asking if you meant “Troy Anthony Davis,” the convicted cop killer whose sparsely populated page contained a few paragraphs. Now “Troy Davis” redirected to “Troy Davis Case,” which had pages and pages of material and over a hundred references. The case had been splattered all over the national news networks, debated by prominent talking heads every evening, covered by all major newspapers, and editorialized by popular political cartoons. Celebrities tweeted about Troy. An interview I gave spread over the internet and was republished in dozens of major newspapers. Troy Davis was no longer just a local case of interest. He was the most famous death row inmate in the world.
But after his execution, the media quickly moved on to other stories. The I Am Troy Davis movement had made him a household name, but had also created a caricature of who the man really was. Troy told me many things about the case that I couldn’t say publicly while he was still alive. Six months after Troy’s execution, I decided to write the book. I just want the world to truly know who Troy Davis was, what he stood for, and what really happened.
Why does Remain Free matter?
The issues in the American justice system discussed in Remain Free, like the morality, practicality, and constitutionality of the death penalty, racial tensions between police and black communities, overzealous prosecutors, police coercion and intimidation of witness—all of these issues are as relevant, if not even more relevant, today—think of Travon martin, Ferguson, Eric Garner, and the many other public incidents between police and African Americans.
Since Troy faced his first execution date in 2007, Seven states have abolished the death penalty in the last eight years. The Supreme Court recently considered the constitutionality of lethal injection. Since Troy’s execution, 16 death row inmates have been exonerated. What happened to Troy Davis from 1989 to 2011 is all too relevant in 2015.
And in my personal opinion, it’s a compelling story: the story of an unlikely friendship between a sheltered upper-middle class Indian-American teenager from the suburbs of Atlanta and a forty-year-old African-American death row inmate from drug-riddled Savannah—that’s not a story you hear about every day. The experience changed me forever, and I believe the story will open the minds of many people who’ve never thought about these issues.
When will it be released?
The book will officially be released on September 21, 2015, the four year anniversary of Troy’s execution.
What will you do with the money?
All of the profits from the book will be donated to the Innocence Project, a non-profit that exonerates wrongfully convicted individuals (including death row inmates) through DNA testing. They are the embodiment of Troy’s final request: that his supporters “continue to fight this fight.”