2016 New Year’s wish for the wrongly convicted

For the souls of the innocent left to languish in prison, according to differing bar associations, between 35,000 and 100,000 wrongly convicted people in North America, I wish the clean air of freedom for you in the new year. In the year 2016, some of you will get to live on the outside like David McCallum, Jabbar Collins, Marty Tankleff, the late Rubin Carter and many will not. May you be among the blessed.

A special wish to our clients, Sebastian and Atif, and a prayer for Leonard Peltier. May President Obama find it in his heart to pardon Leonard and Mumia Abu Jamal. He has been something of a disappointment in this regard, but I can only think how much worse things would be if a Republican became president. Not that I know what to expect from Hillary Clinton, should she win the presidency, given the grievous errors of her husband that exacerbated the incarceration rates of African American men and women. But I do hope that the ignorant voices of those like Donald Trump, a bullying, blustering know-nothing, be disregarded. America is a country with innovative, kindhearted and brilliant people, but those people need to speak out when minority rights are imperiled. We all need to learn or remember our history.

And for those innocents in foreign jails, courageous, tortured and bereft of hope, and those represented by Amnesty International, I also wish justice and freedom.Many of them have been arrested and convicted of speaking the truth to power.

And for all of us who work on behalf of the innocent, may our efforts continue unflagging despite the roadblocks. No work is more frustrating than ours but none is more rewarding at the moment of release.

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About ken

I am a former Toronto teacher and writer now living in Vancouver. I work with Dr. Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, with whom I published Eye of the Hurricane: My path from Darkness to Freedom (Chicago review Press, 2011), as Director of Media Relations and as an advocate for wrongly convicted prisoners. Other publication credits include Songs of Aging Children (Arsenal Pulp Press, 1992) a book of short stories about troubled youth, and Taking Steam, a play co-authored with the late Brian Shein, staged at New York's Jewish Repertory Theatre and Toronto in 1983. Life Without (Quattro Books, 2012) is a novella about a New York cab driver wrongly convicted of killing his pregnant wife. Gary Geddes (Lt. Governor's Award for Literary Excellence) described it as "one of the most brilliant and harrowing short novels I've read since I went on a John Hawkes binge."

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