The Winston-Salem Journal publishes an OpEd, "Darryl Hunt on the threatened Racial Justice Act."
Christmas Eve marked the ninth anniversary of my release from prison after being wrongfully incarcerated for more than 19 years. Since my exoneration, I have dedicated myself to fighting the systemic injustices that nearly took my life. One reform I am most proud of is the Racial Justice Act, a law intended to finally end the effects of racial bias on the death penalty.
No one knows better than me that racism continues to infect our justice system. I am an African-American man who was charged with sexually assaulting and brutally murdering a young white woman. I have no doubt that my wrongful conviction was strongly influenced by race.
I have supported and advocated for the passage of the Racial Justice Act since 2007, and I watched proudly as it passed in 2009. I also watched as its opponents spread false rumors that the Racial Justice Act would result in the release of criminals. In truth, no one will ever be released from prison under this law. The only sentence it allows is life in prison with no possibility of parole.
What our legislators don’t seem to realize is that the ugly truths of racism can no longer be brushed under the rug, not after they have been exposed in a courtroom. With the Racial Justice Act, North Carolina is on the cusp of finally creating a justice system that inspires faith in all its citizens. A system that acknowledges our shameful history and strives to leave it behind.
Related posts are in the race index.