“the exonerated five”
While here at Davidson, I was given the opportunity to attend a talk given by Raymond Santana, Raymond Santana is a member of the “Exonerated Five”, formally known as the “Central Park Five.” The Exonerated Five’s story is based off of the New York Central Park jogger case. This case was based off the assault and rape of Trisha Melli, a 28 year old white woman. Also, attacks that also happened simultaneously throughout central park. In these other attacks at Central Park, it is said that teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 were harassing other joggers, such as throwing rocks etc. Investigators on the assaults grouped both cases together and began investigating. The formerly known as Central Park five, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Anrtron McCray, Yusef Salaam, and Korey Wise were all accused of the rape of Trisha Melli. The teens were coerced into admitting their involvement of the rape and thouroughly interogatted and wrongly led and interrogated. Despite the lack of evidence, the lack of clear connections between statements, the boys were convicted. Twelve years later, after another lengthy investigation the boys were exonerated in 2002.
During this talk by Raymond Santana himself, my heart was completely uplifted. The reason this session had such a positive impact on me was set on the fact that the bulk of our conversation was focused on his healing and what he hopes for the world. He is aware of the hardships he has endured and how him and his friends have been wronged, however, he has chosen to take this and run with it in a positive way. He is investing in us, what he considers the future to fix things and make an impact. His events are a part of his healing, and to see the joy and hope on this mans face has given me hope and joy. I am blessed to have met this man and will forever hold this experience near and dear to my heart.