BENEFITING: Innocence Project
Back again! If you are familiar with my prior projects, you'll know that most of the time I am asking for contributions in connection with a run or bike ride, but this time, I thought I'd shake it up a little bit. Until I reach my goal, I will be selling my books, clothes, toys and other items on Craigslist or Ebay in an effort to raise money for the Innocence Project. UPDATE: As of the end of 2014, I've sold over 30 items and contributed $666 toward my goal. I have a long ways to go but I am confident I will get there eventually! I'll be back in 2015. UPDATE: Happy New Year 2015: I've been busy raising money for the Innocence Project in connection with the IP Team for the NYC Half Marathon held in March. I'm pleased to say I raised $2000 and the TEAM raised over $15,000! I've also been busy selling things on eBay and I'm now up to $1000. UPDATE September 2015: I'm up to $1500 and still have more to sell....I recently started using Spinlister.com to rent my bike and donate the money to the Innocence Project: so far, two rentals and $40!
(By the way, I took a 400 mile bike ride in July 2014 and in September I participated in the NYCentury bike ride, a one-day 100-mile bike ride through NYC sponsored by Transportation Alternatives and in support of traffic safety, especially for cyclists and pedestrians -- but enough about me, and these personal adventures only make me think more of those who are wrongfully imprisoned and can't experience the joys of freedom like the rest of us do.)
If you're not already familiar with it, the Innocence Project is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to obtaining freedom for wrongfully convicted citizens in prison. Most of the exonerations achieved by the Innocence Project occur through the use of DNA evidence to prove innocence; since the first DNA exoneration in 1989, 330 people have been given the freedom they deserve through the use of such evidence. After achieving freedom, however, many exonerees struggle with getting back on their feet, mostly due to a poor financial predicament. The Innocence Project is also dedicated to helping exonerees obtain a higher quality of life. I am positive that each individual dollar raised for the Innocence Project helps make a small difference, but when thousands of dollars are raised, the change is even more dramatic, as witnessed by the hundreds of people the Innocence Project has helped.
The Innocence Project has estimated that roughly 4% of convicts on Death Row are innocent, although the actual number could be much greater. The fact that 1 in every 25 people (or possibly more) convicted of the most heinous crimes, which under our country's laws result in capital punishment, are innocent is an absolute atrocity. 20 of the 330 people exonerated by DNA evidence served time on death row and could have been executed. We all must come to the realization that sometimes, despite promising fairness, our systems fail, and when this occurs, we must fight to make it right. We must stop the wrongful discrimination against minorities that has characterized our justice system throughout U.S. history. We must stop the mindset of some politicians who believe that our system always works. We must stop the government from confining people to 6' by 9' cells for decades at a time. And most of all, we must come together to get innocent people out of prison and back to living their lives.
The POPE recently spoke in Washington D.C. about the death penalty and the flaws in the criminal justice system that could lead to an innocent person being executed in the US. Here are some recent facts about exonerees:
The Innocence Project also is working hard to change the laws and procedures to make the criminal justice system more fair and to prevent wrongful convictions.