We first reported his story back in February. And if you've been following us since our days in Rough Cuts, you might remember how we were convinced that this was right up our alley. (We were brainstorming heavily during those early piloting days — actually, we still are — to discover and craft our "voice" in the larger media landscape). It wasn't through the AP Wire, nor did it appear to be major headline news elsewhere...except in Atlanta, of course, where the story originates.
We're all (including you) a part of these infamous e-mail chains where, basically, a friend e-mails a friend, or friends, something interesting — and sometimes bizarre, making us completely incredulous — that just doesn't sit quite right.
One day, remind us to tell you about Wendy's e-mails...
Simply put: An e-mail found itself to one of our producers (not me) and it left us wanting to know more...
Fast forward to Monday. We learn of a Georgia judge's decision to void Genarlow's sentence and commute his conviction to a misdemeanor. (By the way, this time it was headline news). Knowing me...or I guess you really don't know me...I thought it would be a good idea to fish in the same pond, so to speak, that made this story first stand out to us. So, I initiated my own personal chain e-mail on the matter to see what my "peoples" were thinking.
One friend, who just happens to do community relations for the Chicago Bulls, wrote back, saying:
I remember being so disturbed about this...When we think about the amount of young Black men who are suffering from this system of the prison industrial complex, false imprisonment, and flat out injustice when people like Paris Hilton...getting headlines for skating the justice system...it just really makes you angry. But I thank God, indeed, that there is still hope for what seems hopeless.
This was before the notice of appeal.
Now my question to you: If Genarlow is released, say, by the end of the summer...what should he expect of post-prison life? Will he ever really be a free man? What's been lost in these 28 months (or gained)? We're talking young adulthood here. Arguably, they're the most formative years of life...re-establishing a place in society, after being locked away, could prove to be just as difficult as adjusting to prison-life, no?
Hmm...There goes an idea for a follow-up.