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.

Peace and Love,
Sunny and Peter

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)!

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.

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.

Sometimes, it takes a (small) army

Terry Wanzer fought for more than 20 years to have his record cleared, even though he was exonerated in 1996. Our friend and volunteer Carrie is working to stop injustices like this.

How to Avoid Toxicity

At a time when it seems so many people in the world are expressing so much anger and hatred, how do you maintain your balance? Watch my latest video and share with us on social media!

About Our Wish List Program

One of our most impactful programs that arose during, and because of, the Covid-19 pandemic is the Wish List program. Through this, people who want to help an Exoneree directly can do so.

Wishing You a Summer of Healing, Hope and Joy

While the start of summer certainly feels much calmer and more certain than it did last year, plenty of activity is going on at The Sunny Center!

More Than 2,700 Exonerees Need Your Help

The need for resources and change within the system is immense. But together, we can start making a difference right away!

You Can Make A Difference for Exonerees Right Now

We are happy and hopeful that we can soon return to working in person with fellow Exonerees. But you can help us right now, even from far away.

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