The Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP), one of the preeminent organizations fighting wrongful conviction, was kind enough to invite me to its annual Justice for All Gala last week. I was honored to receive the Cookie Ridolfi Freedom Award for my legal work and activism.
This is not why I attended the event, though. I came to be around the exonerees and the NCIP members, all of whom are committed to battling miscarriages of justice. It was inspiring and humbling, and a reminder that I am just a sliver in a larger movement.
As I noted in my remarks at the event, this movement depends on the advocacy of exonerees and the dedication and hard work of men and women at organizations such as NCIP. The latter often relies on pro-bono work and monetary donations to continue its important work.
I urge you to donate to NCIP, but there are also other ways to help our movement. Innocence organizations may welcome and be in need of folks to dedicate their time. If you’re a doctor or dentist, for example, think about doing some pro-bono work to help exonerees who are in need of medical care. I do pro-bono legal work and know that just a small amount of time can be a huge help. (Check out the Innocence Network website, find a local organization and contact it to see if you can be of help.)
297 years. That’s the amount of time spent in prison by the men and women whose freedom was secured by the NCIP. That warrants taking some time to figure out how to help organizations such as NCIP.