This Black History Month, we at the Exoneration Project recognize the racism and oppression in the criminal justice system. We also affirm that Black history is about more than just suffering and continue to celebrate Black joy, resilience, and legacy as allies in the legal community.
Black lives matter. Justice for Black lives matters. We will continue to persistently and tirelessly pursue change in our courts and in our world, one wrongful conviction case at a time.
In the United States, Black people are seven times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder than their white counterparts. In 2020, about 42% of people on death row were Black, even though Black people only make up 13% of the total U.S. population. Wrongfully convicted Black people on death row spend 45% more time incarcerated before being exonerated: an average of 13.8 years. Once exonerees re-enter society, less than half of these individuals receive compensation for their time spent wrongfully incarcerated. Of this percentage, Black exonerees receive an average of $42,000 a year less than white exonerees.
As Exoneration Project advocates, we challenge you to learn more about the ongoing struggles and victories that our country faces when confronting racism in the criminal justice system. Read, volunteer, and continue to advocate. Tag us in your pursuits (@exonerationlaw) on social media and you’ll enter our raffle for a free Exoneration Project t-shirt. Each post is an entry for our raffle; there is no limit on the amount of entries you submit. We’ll be drawing for a prize at the end of the month.
- Volunteer with Black-led community organizations:
- Read about wrongful conviction through Black authors (links are to Black-owned bookstores in Chicago)
- Other ways to get involved
- Volunteer or donate to your local organization at the Innocence Network
- Host a PowerPoint party with your friends and give presentations on Black history
- Support a Black-owned restaurant every time you eat outside
- Start a book club highlighting Black authors and discuss with others
- Visit the DuSable Museum of African American History
Happy Black History Month and continue to keep fighting toward justice!