Community in 2019

Lauren Kaeseberg, Legal Director of the Illinois Innocence Project, marching with her family, and Chelsea Desruisseaux, Innocence Project Senior Case Analyst, at 2018 Innocence Network Conference in Memphis. (Lacy Atkin for the Innocence Project)

A worldwide community for change

We recognize and honor each member of the global community who spoke against injustice and demanded a more fair legal system.

“No matter how hard it gets, we will not stop.”

Rodrick ReedBrother of Rodney Reed

Brittani Smith protests against the execution of Rodney Reed on November 13, 2019, in Bastrop, Texas. (Nick Wagner/AP for Austin American-Statesman)

Rodney Reed speaking from prison with Dr. Phil, who took a leading role in spotlighting the case and the evidence of Rodney's innocence. (Courtesy of The Dr. Phil Show)

Overwhelming evidence indicates that Rodney Reed is not guilty of the murder of Stacey Stites, for which he was sentenced to death in 1998. When Texas scheduled Rodney’s execution for November, a nationwide movement of advocates, celebrities, politicians, and more took action to stop the execution. After millions signed a petition, and tens of thousands called Texas officials, the court granted Rodney an indefinite stay of execution, allowing him and his legal team another day in court. Rodney no longer has an execution date — but he’s still on death row. Join the team in the fight for Rodney.

Thirty years ago, the legal system and the media robbed five innocent teenagers of their presumption of innocence. This year, the world learned their story.

Yusef Salaam and Raymond Santana in police custody after their arrest in 1989. (New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Korey Wise, Raymond Santana, Innocence Project Board member Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray and Kevin Richardson at the BET Awards in Los Angeles in June. (Courtesy of BET)

When They See Us

In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers were arrested and terrorized by police before being wrongfully convicted of brutally assaulting and raping a white woman who was jogging in New York City’s Central Park. Ava DuVernay’s Emmy-winning Netflix miniseries showed the world the wrongful conviction, incarceration, and exoneration of Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam (now an Innocence Project board member), Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise. Learn the whole story of the Exonerated Five.

Huwe Burton and Susan Friedman training for the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon. © Innocence Project/Sameer Abdel-Khalek.

Huwe Burton, on why he ran the 2019 New York City Marathon

Running the marathon started as a joke in prison,” Huwe Burton remembers, “where I told myself I’d do the run if I ever got the chance to go home.” When Huwe was exonerated in January, 30 years after he was wrongfully convicted of his mother’s murder, reporters at the Bronx County Courthouse asked about his plans. Huwe told them he would run the New York City marathon as a free man. He and one of his Innocence Project lawyers Susan Friedman ran the marathon together on November 3, 2019.

"Huwe inspired me as my client, and it’s an honor to share in such a meaningful journey with him — on marathon day, and every day."

Susan FriedmanStaff Attorney

Huwe Burton, exonerated 2019, and Susan Friedman, who litigated his exoneration. © Innocence Project/Sameer Abdel-Khalek.

Archie Williams at the Apollo Theatre in October 2019.

Archie Williams, fulfilling his life-long dream of singing at the Apollo Theater

Archie Williams joined his first band at age 12, and his life-long love of music helped his mind and spirit endure three and a half decades of wrongful incarceration at Louisiana’s infamous Angola prison. After Archie was exonerated in March 2019, he continued his pursuit of music, taking piano and singing lessons along with computer courses at a local community college, and realized his life-long dream to appear at Amateur Night at the Apollo Theatre in New York City. 

“Throughout my incarceration at Angola, I sung. Music helped me get through prison. I always envisioned myself on stage at the Apollo one day.”

Archie WilliamsExonerated March 2019

Archie Williams at the Apollo Theatre in October. (Sameer Abdel-Khalek for Innocence Project)

Speaking up for innocence

Our community keeps growing as thousands speak out against injustice and demand a more fair legal system. Join us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to share your story of what it means to be part of the innocence community.

132,000people took more than 143,000 actions to help fight injustice and advocate for the innocent.
3,000,000people visited
700,000social media community members.
100exoneree stories reached thousands of people through speaking engagements.

Seven people were freed or exonerated, and we changed policies to transform how millions interact with the U.S. legal system. With your support, more change is possible.

Join us