Our Activism: Moving the Needle for Exonerees

Apr 7, 2021 | Activism, News, Newsletter

Dear Friends of The Sunny Center:

Our youngest volunteer! Volunteer Cliona brought her young son to help feed the chickens, cats and dog. We sent them home with spinach from the garden and a box of fresh eggs.

Thanks to the efforts of many parties around the world, we are able to continue making appearances at events during the pandemic—online, rather than in person. Your help is the key to our ability to keep moving the needle forward and helping Exonerees rebuild.

March was another great month for activism. We got the word out about the struggle that Exonerees face after being freed, and raised awareness of the need for housing, counseling, medical care, and more – all the things that humans have a right to, and that have been denied to Exonerees for so long.

We launched an important outreach effort this year: Sundays With Sunny. Each week, Sunny works with a group of women who are dealing with the effects of incarceration – especially isolation and criminalization. Sunny is also helping them learn how to rebuild relationships with their adult children.

She is also working with Cornell University in conjunction with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and girls in a worldwide effort to bring awareness to the particular traumatization and stigmatization of women as a result of incarceration. We also have a group exclusively for women Exonerees in order to assist with connection and community as an outreach to support this much underserved sector of the Exoneree population. We are here for each other, thanks to your support!

Other Presentations This Month

Miraggiodilux Podcast: We spoke on this Italian-language podcast (linked below) in March.

University of Greenwich – We gave a presentation online about wrongful convictions and their aftermath.

United Nations – We are working with the International Committee on Human Rights to present a paper to the UN on transparency and the death penalty, and its effects on all those involved.

Donegal – We gave a presentation to a community group in Donegal and Northern Ireland, A part of the world that well understands the effects of wrongful convictions. At left: Talking to the Inishowen community development group via Zoom.

Cornell University – We are continuing work on the effects of trauma on women and the justice system in connection with Cornell University.

Workshop – We’re participating in a creative drama workshop as a tool to ease trauma and tell our stories. We are learning this technique to use with, and for, Exonerees. We hope to be able to offer this amazing healing activity to our Exonerees in the not too distant future. This is a specially trained group of experienced clinicians for whom we will have to fundraise in order to make this happen. If you would like to especially contribute to this effort, the total cost will be $2000 for a 10-week session.

Dialogue – We are participating in and learning the dialogue code to be used in groups for creating compassion, understanding and healing. This is a very new and very successful method that has been used with companies like PepsiCo with great success. Again, this will take a certain amount of funding. We will keep you updated.

Amicus Exeter – The University of Exeter hosted us for a discussion on March 29 about our experiences on death row and what it was like to try to make a life after wrongful conviction and beyond.

That word, “beyond,” is what The Sunny Center is all about. Exonerees’ troubles do not end when the prison door opens and they are free. In fact, they face an entirely new set of problems. Many have been incarcerated for years, even decades. They have to somehow function in a world that has moved on without them.

The Sunny Center, through our Healing Center in Ireland, our Living Center in Tampa, Florida, and our outreach around the U.S., provides a way for Exonerees to recover from the trauma of wrongful conviction and incarceration.

We could not accomplish all of this without the generous support of our subscribers. Please consider donating to The Sunny Center.

Support for Exonerees

Exonerees, you are not alone. The Sunny Center is here to help. If you need help finding services, or just need someone to talk to, please contact us. And keep an eye out for and Exoneree community zoom that will be coming up in the near future.

If you are a woman Exoneree interested in joining Sundays With Sunny, contact us to learn more.

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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.