Garry Davis died peacefully on July 24, 2013, in Williston. Born in Bar Harbor, Maine, to musician Hilda Emery and bandleader Meyer Davis on July 27, 1921, Davis was World Citizen No. 1. An actor and dancer by profession, he stood in for Danny Kaye on Broadway in 1942. A B-17 pilot during WWII, he was profoundly shaken by the death of his brother, Meyer “Buddy,” and his experience “bombing women and children.” To atone for what he perceived as a humiliating experience that destroys one’s feeling of humanity, and which unfortunately had been forced on millions of other soldiers, too, and continues in every war, he spent the remainder of his life striving to change the world system to reduce the risk of war.
Affirming that being born human guarantees inalienable rights of sovereign choice, Davis founded the World Government of World Citizens in 1953, along with its administrative agency, the World Service Authority. The World Passport it issues to this day, based on the mandate of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has helped thousands of war victims and displaced refugees gain official identification and freedom. Davis firmly believed one could personally start bringing about world peace, in a pragmatic and legitimate way. By publically declaring oneself a World Citizen, one signifies to all fellow World Citizens one’s recognition of humanity and refusal of war. In a practical sense, one “makes peace” with the human family. At a global level, Davis believed world law enforced by a World Court of Human Rights would resolve conflicts through law, replacing the anarchy of war.
He is survived by two of his siblings, Ginia Wexler-Davis and Emery Davis; four children, Kristina, Troy, Athena, and Kim; grandchild Emma Davis; former wife (France, 1963) Esther Peter Davis; and many extended family members and his close friend, Robin Lloyd. His son, Troy, is the president of the World Citizen Foundation, which Davis created in 1996, and has plans to create a school of democracy based on fundamental principles of world citizenship. A memorial will be held on Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, 2013: universalrightsfestival.org. Donations may be sent to worldcitizen.org.