May 2020 Newsletter

May 21, 2020 | News, Uncategorized

Dear Friends of The Sunny Center,

We are all learning new ways to live in the strange world in which we now find ourselves, but we continue to remain connected, bonded by our humanity. This is particularly true for our network of supporters – those men and women around the globe who believe that everyone has a right to live in a just world.

We are grateful for the legion of freedom fighters who are committed to challenging injustice and providing assistance to the wrongfully convicted and exonerated in every corner of the world. We also remain committed to this goal.   

Now is a good time to use this grand pause to reflect on what our priorities are, and should be: health, safety, peace, personal responsibility and our interconnectedness. 


OUR EXONEREE GUESTS AND VISITORS

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Dorothy and Paul outside the new shed.


This month, after a generous gift by the death row chaplain Dale and his wife Susan, our exoneree community residence in Tampa was able to purchase and assemble a shed for a washing machine and dryer that can be used by our residents. Our exoneree outreach coordinator Dorothy and our resident Paul Hildwin teamed up to get the shed erected. And, after three days of hard work in the hot sun, we have a beautiful new shed! Thank you Dorothy! Thank you Paul! Thank you Chaplin Dale and Susan! 

This is the kind of community spirit we welcome and are inspired by! We are grateful for those whose generosity of spirit, skills and wallets have made life a little easier and more convenient for our residents. THANK YOU!!!  

It is no longer safe to go to the laundromat. Many of our exonerees are of an age that makes them particularly vulnerable and are circumscribed from going into public places. This is the time when we need to care for each other, more than ever.

Perhaps this is also a time to consider whether your gift – no matter how small or large – could make a difference in the life of someone like another of our Sunny Center community residents, Clemente Aguirre, whose claim for compensation was denied after he became the 28th person exonerated from death row from Florida – like Sunny, herself – after serving almost 15 years for a double murder he didn’t commit.

We thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.


OUR VOLUNTEERS 

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Dr. Lloyd Lyter.

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Student volunteer Stacey-Ann Downes.

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Student volunteer Yasmine Soliman.

Under the guidance of Dr. Lloyd Lyter, Ph.D., Professor, Director of the Marywood University Pocono MSW Program at East Stroudsburg University, graduate students are currently developing a manual to assist individuals, organizations, lawyers, and activists who work with exonerees, as well as exonerees, in general. It is our hope that this manual will maximize the benefits devoted to helping exonerees. This is a project that was initiated by Sunny and Peter in partnership with Dr. Lloyd Lyter. There are so many volunteers behind the scenes who help daily with the operations of the Sunny Center Home in Ireland and the Sunny Center Community in Florida. 

This month, we’d like to acknowledge the ongoing work of all the local volunteers who are delivering provisions and checking in on us at the Sunny Center Home as we “cocoon.” THANK YOU!!! We are getting through this together even though we are keeping a safe distance apart.  

We would also like to thank all of those who are creating love offerings on Zoom and social media, making it possible for us to connect with each other in meaningful ways even though we must remain physically apart. Our biggest challenge now is to find ways to reach out to and connect with those who are not technologically adept. We know the consequences of extreme isolation. We find it interesting that our prison experience has now become valuable to the rest of the world. And we are happy to be able to give back! It is a way in which we never thought we would be able to connect with the rest of the world.

It is for this reason that Sunny has made her yoga and relaxation/meditation videos public, rather than just sending them to her students. For exonerees, there is a fine line between triggering PTSD and an ironic appreciation of remembering what it is like to deal with isolation. We will share more of this with you in the coming months.


OUR FURRY AND FEATHERED FRIENDS

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Barney down by the lake.

The furry and feathered friends who keep us company at the Sunny Center Home here in Connemara are faithful and dependable company who cheer us up every day – whether it be Barney down by the lake or Millie stretching out lazily on our bed. We are happy to share this corner of earth with our beloved furry and feathered friends. 

OUR ACTIVISM 

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Sunny teaching a yoga session remotely in the time of COVID-19.

Sunny continues to offer her once a week yoga, meditation and breathing class free of charge to anyone needing to practice at home. She has received wonderful feedback on how helpful it is to set aside a few moments to clear one’s inner space and expand out beyond the confines of walls or borders to connect with loved ones and to know that we are never alone. Set yourself free! Look for the links on our social media and on our website and youtube channel. We hope you will not forget them either. Please consider remembering them and supporting them with a donation.

STAY CONNECTED 

PictureSunny facetious with the Sunny Center coordinator Anne Driscoll.


We are living through one of the most challenging periods of our lives. Never before have we been reminded so profoundly of what human contact and companionship means to us, individually and collectively. We want all our friends and supporters to know that we intend to stay connected in every way available to us – phone, text, email, Facetime, Skype, Zoom, and even snail mail! We know how vitally important our network of exonerees and like-minded activists for justice is to keep hope alive for a more humane world. Thank you for your support. And if you’d like to underscore your belief in the mission of the Sunny Center and our commitment that every exoneree deserves to lead a fulfilling life of freedom and peace, please consider making a donation here

Peace and Love, 
 
Sunny and Peter

‘Send them green.’ A special message from a Sunny Center supporter!

“I had the wonderful opportunity to be a guest at the Sunny Center this past July. My first trip to Ireland, it always is a magical moment to visit friends who live overseas…”

Finding Peace, Joy and Hope

The events in Ukraine over the past several days have been ever-present in all of our lives through the daily news and constant social media. These times can be especially difficult for Exonerees because of the traumas they are working to overcome.

Exonerees are succeeding, thanks to you!

Helping people exonerated of crimes they did not commit, setting them back on the path to a fulfilling life, is a monumental task that we depend on the dedication of volunteers, both near and far, to achieve.

Love Is Always the Answer

Winter is always a little bit quieter than the rest of the year. After a long day spent maintaining the Sunny Healing Center and getting it ready for visitors, it’s time for us to cuddle up with the kittens and, of course, Barney, on chilly winter evenings with a warm fire in the hearth.

A Happy, Healthy and Healing New Year to All

Love has no barriers and no limits. And neither does our gratitude for your continuing support and friendship. Know that you are never alone, because you are part of our family.

Happy Holidays to Our Friends Near and Far!

These are extraordinary times. And you’ve all been extraordinary supporters. Thanks to you, we’ve been able to keep helping Exonerees in the midst of a global emergency.

An incredible opportunity to support The Sunny Center

We are so excited to announce that our board member, artist Peter Tunney, is auctioning two of his masterpieces.  You can go directly to usatoday.com/nft to get all the details.

It Takes A Community to Help Exonerees Heal

What an amazing summer this has been. We’ve been at home, raising a litter of kittens in our polytunnel and collecting eggs from our hens. And at the same time we have been able to reach out into the world and continue helping Exonerees.

Have you seen Sunny on YouTube?

Yoga and meditation are so central to our life and work at The Sunny Center. We meditate each morning to help us approach the day with a calm, clear mind (and some extra energy)!

For Exonerees, life’s little legal challenges can be huge

Exonerees face many challenges as they rebuild their lives after a wrongful conviction. One of the things that takes a backseat, as they struggle to access essentials like a place to live, medical care, and work, is thinking about how they will be cared for if they get sick.

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