I remember the day in July 2015 when Chani Wiggins insisted we read a Washington Post article chronicling the life of Sharanda Jones who was serving life without parole for a first time drug offense.
Chani was so compelled that we had a role to play in helping in Sharanda’s clemency petition. She immediately reached out to the incredible and incomparable Brittany K. Barnett, Sharanda’s lawyer. Brittany was exhausting all opportunities to make sure Sharanda’s name, plight, and case were known in the halls of Congress and the Obama Administration.
After a conversation with Brittany we knew we had to do something. But we’re tech lobbyists? What could we do? This began a journey of using social media, relationships with the left, right, and center to know and SAY Sharanda’s name.
To be clear, we played only a bit part.
But President Obama granting clemency for Sharanda Jones in December 2015 was one of the most consequential and meaningful moments I’ve been a part of in my 20+ years in DC.
Brittany’s book, A Knock at Midnight, was recently released and chronicles her fight for justice on behalf of her clients. She has been responsible for the successful clemency petitions for Sharanda Jones, Corey Jacobs, Alice Marie Johnson and others.
When I finally had the opportunity to meet Sharanda she was a free woman with such a loving heart. Her clemency was a long time coming. Too long. Regardless, her heart was warm, welcoming, and pure.
My life has been made better from meeting Brittany and Sharanda. Brittany’s book is worth the read. It reminds us that justice can prevail. Learn more about Brittany’s Buried Alive Project.
And a special thank you to Ximena Lin for allowing us to use the Phone2Action platform. She didn’t hesitate to say yes once we told her about Sharanda! We were able to amplify Sharanda’s voice because of P2A!