A recurring theme in this blog is the celebration of people and/or organizations that have a positive impact on their communities. What they do is not easy, but it’s inspirational, and we don’t hear enough about them. So I’ve decided to commit to singing their praises at least once a month. I’ll be calling it Mid-Month Marvels. If you have any suggestions for the focus of this monthly spotlight, let me know in the comments below!
Given our current atmosphere, I can think of no better organization to highlight this month than The Innocence Network. This is a network of 55 U.S organizations and 12 international organizations that are working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions. They do this by providing pro bono legal and investigative services to people seeking to prove their innocence.
Since the advent of DNA testing, there has been a shocking number of convictions that have had to be overturned. Part of police reform needs to be in the area of interrogations that obtain false confessions. It has also been shown that witnesses can be very unreliable or biased.
Hand in hand with wrongful convictions is the horrifying amount of police brutality. According to this network’s home page, between 2013 and 2019, police violence in the US lead to the deaths of 7,666 people, most of whom were black. This network also directed me to a very sobering website called MappingPoliceViolence.org, which states that 1,098 people were killed by police in 2019, and that there were only 27 days that entire year where police did not kill someone.
Also, in 99 percent of the police killings from 2013 to 2019, police were not convicted of a crime. In 96 percent of them, they weren’t even charged with one. Yes, I imagine there are instances where they shouldn’t be charged, but come on. These are some very scary statistics.
The Innocence network has a page dedicated to ways you can get involved. Whether it be educating yourself and others, advocating for legislative reform, or fundraising for one of the local Innocence organizations, there are a variety of ways that you can make an impact.
At a time when many of us are feeling frustrated and ineffectual, fighting for justice for those who are still alive, and making a difference via the Innocence Network sounds like a fine idea to me. I hope you agree.
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