Exoneree Terry Wanzer, In His Own Words

May 4, 2021 | Newsletter

Dear Friends of The Sunny Center,

A beautiful springtime sunset near The Healing Center.

“I feel like I’ve been exonerated for a second time, but this time I’m really free!”

Terry Wanzer was exonerated in 1996. But it took more than 24 years for the state of Georgia to clear his record.

In Their Own Words: Terry Wanzer

Last year, I contacted Sunny with The Sunny Center, a foundation that helps with housing when no one else can or will. I explained to her my situation: I couldn’t get housing or a job. Even though I had received a full pardon in 1996 for a crime I didn’t commit, the state of Georgia refused to expunge my record and fully restore my rights.

I couldn’t get a job or a place to live. Every time I applied for a job, I would be turned down because that felony conviction, of which I had been exonerated, would show up on the background check. Every time I applied for an apartment, I would be turned down based on that background check.

I explained my situation to Sunny. She contacted a lawyer here in Atlanta, and they went to bat for me.

The lawyer found that a new law was passed last year, SB 288, which stated that if you received a pardon from the Board of Pardons and Parole, the state must expunge your records. No ifs, ands or buts. How about that!

My record has been fully expunged. I can now say to a landlord or an employer, when asked if I’m a convicted felon: NO. If they run a background heck, absolutely no felonies will show up because my sentence has been vacated.

I’ve fought for 48 years to clear my name. Thanks to Sunny, I finally have done it.

That girl changes things by not giving up. ~ Terry Wanzer

Terry’s Wish List

We have created an Amazon Wish List for Terry, who is having trouble with his car. It is very old and won’t pass the inspection that is coming up in June. A gift card in any amount would be greatly appreciated and can make a huge difference for Terry!

Support for Exonerees

If you are an Exoneree who needs someone to talk to, or needs help in some way, contact us and visit our Outreach page.

Even though we are not yet allowed to travel or bring others to us, we can connect over the phone or online.

How You Can Help

Being exonerated of a crime they didn’t commit doesn’t mean an end to legal issues. Often, Exonerees must continue to fight for full restoration of their rights.

When you donate to The Sunny Center, you’re helping us continue and expand the work we do with Exonerees. Their needs have only grown during the time of Covid.

Every day, we speak directly with Exonerees to learn what they need – from housing to counseling to legal support and more – and we connect them with organizations and individuals who can help them.

Please donate to The Sunny Center today and help fight the good fight. Thanks to you, another Exoneree can get started on building a new life after unthinkable pain.

Peace and Love,
Sunny and Peter

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)!

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!

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