Since I can remember, passion has always been second nature to me. Everything I was involved in — sports, poetry, student legislation — I have always dwelled in each with a strong sense of advocacy and motivation.
I have carried that passion to college. Wake Forest has opened many doors for me; I have been blessed with opportunities to research and network with renowned professors and faculty. I would have to say the most enchanting experience occurred at a press conference held this month by the Director of the Wake Forest School of Law’s Innocence and Justice Clinic, Mark Rabil, and DNA exonoree, Darryl Hunt. They were giving their reaction to the decision of the Georgia State Parole Board to deny Troy Davis a final chance at clemency. Troy Davis and Darryl Hunt shared very similar experiences. In 2004, Darryl Hunt was released from prison after serving 19 years for a crime he did not commit. This case was stationed right in the heart of Winston Salem. Davis’ case already spurred much talk about the injustices in the criminal justice system, but hearing Hunt reflect on the pain he endured made the situation more than just a headline or breaking news report; it made it real.
After having a conversation with Hunt, I decided to go to Jackson, Ga., to rally with Troy Davis supporters. Immediately, I activated my right to exercise peaceful protest, and the demonstration in Jackson has been imprinted into my memory for a lifetime. It was an amazing feeling to stand up for what I believed in.
This experience has strengthened me in so many ways. I have become more motivated to enter into the law field and exact change on policies. Within 24 hours of returning to campus, I decided to hold a vigil in remembrance of Troy Davis on the steps of Wait Chapel. I wanted to gather my peers together and share my experience with them. It would be yet another grave injustice done had I not done so. Students, preparing to enter into society, deserve to know what they are up against. I wanted to instill the message that change is inevitable, but through our natural rights, we have the power to direct that change in a positive direction. I plan on keeping the ball rolling, I have had the opportunity to speak to Wake Forest’s Amnesty International organization and further share my experience. I have a deep desire to connect with youth in the community, particularly young men, to educate them on their basic rights as citizens. This experience has instilled a saturated fear of getting comfortable and forgetting. So, I plan on remaining active. The struggle for justice must continue.
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