BY KIMBERLY COOK, PHD
“The sun does shine,” was one of the first things Anthony Ray Hinton said when he was exonerated from a wrongful conviction and death sentence in Alabama. He was incarcerated for 30 years fortwo murders he did not commit. During the time he was on death row, he rarely saw the outdoors, he did not see rainfall, or sunrises, or the moon. He did, however, see 54 other inmates executed; he saw the justice system work slowly and ultimately acknowledge its error and reverse his conviction. While he was condemned to death, his mother passed away, and his family members went on with their lives as best they could. He was not part of that life. During that time, he was able to maintain hope that he would be released and vindicated. Mr. Hinton refused to give up on his quest for freedom; eventually, he was represented by Mr. Bryan Stevenson, famed civil rights attorney at the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama.Mr. Hinton remained optimistic and says, “they took thirty years of my life, but I could not let them take my joy.” His life is a testament to the importance of having faith, never giving up and the importance of support systems in everyone’s life.
LINC, Inc. is delighted to host Mr. Hinton as the keynote speaker for its 3rd annual Milestones Dinner to celebrate the accomplishments of the residents and participants on February 10, 2017 (6:00pm at the Hilton Riverside – tickets available online at www.lincnc.org). Mr. Hinton’s story serves as a reminder of the importance of community support for people whose lives have been impacted by incarceration. The community can help people get back on their feet and offer guidance, support, and resources to formerly incarcerated people who often feel shut out from employment, housing, and community.
LINC, Inc. is a local non-profit organization in Wilmington that provides residential and therapeutic services to men and women returning to community after being incarcerated. The organization also houses the LITE Manhood program which provides culturally specific youth development services to young Black men (ages 16-24) to make positive life choices and be productive members of society. Established by Executive Director, Frankie Roberts, seventeen years ago, LINC, Inc., has served more than 1200 men and women, 92% of whom have remained out of prison.
The 3rd Annual Milestones Dinner is a time to celebrate the achievements of LINC participants and show community support for the organization in its programming to promote public safety. Mr. Hinton will share his inspiring story of survival, hope, and joy; to honor the work LINC, Inc. does in this community, and to encourage continued community support.
The Milestones Dinner will be at the Hilton Riverside, Friday, February 10, 2017, reception 6 pm and 7 pm dinner. Sponsorship and ticket information are available at www.lincnc.org or call 910 332 1132. Kimberly Cook, PhD is a Professor and Restorative Justice Practitioner in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.