Hello there readers: I wanted to reach out and ask for your help. My friend who manages my Gmail account has posted a petition online at www.change.org asking that some much needed attention be brought to my clemency application. I am asking Oregon Governor Kate Brown to let me out of prison after more than two decades inside.
As I understand it, I'll need at least 100 signatures on my petition so the governor will take me seriously. I don't know exactly how this will work, but this is an opportunity for you to be my advocate and show that you support the repeal of HIV criminalization laws. I have been sent materials that talk about people who are working to end HIV discrimination and criminalization. More than ever, I need those of you right now fighting this fight to help me!
This is a critical time in my life because I really want to get out to spend time with my elderly mother before the Good Lord takes her home. That is why I feel a sense of urgency. I want to make something of my life when the opportunity presents itself and prove that I have what it takes to be someone who can stand on his own two feet after being in prison for more than half of his life.
There are lots of folks that have followed my blog from day one, so you know where I started. Since you have been reading my words, hopefully you have seen some growth in me? Whether you have Googled my name and seen what bad things people wrote about me or just taken me at face value, I am asking for a chance to get out. With your signature, it could make a difference in my future, which is why I am asking anyone who reads this for a second chance at a life.
Talking about second chances, did you all see that Chelsea Manning was granted clemency by President Obama? No one else in her position has ever received that kind of prison sentence of 35 years. She has served seven years already, which is way too long for what she was accused of doing. Sounds kind of familiar to me.
The conduct I was found guilty of in 1994 could have caused some people harm and even death. Thank God that no one died as a result of my conduct. Chelsea Manning was found guilty of conduct that could have caused some people harm but didn't that I am aware of. I took my case to trial in front of a jury that thought what I did was morally wrong. Since violations of morality aren't illegal, something had to be done. This translated into criminal charges and being found guilty out of fear instilled in the jury by the prosecutor.
The judge made a very public example out of Chelsea Manning and gave her more time than she was legally guilty of. I was given a 70-year prison sentence for my immoral conduct and publicly humiliated because I had HIV. I want you to sign my petition, which shows that it is not OK to discriminate against someone just because they have HIV. Also, it is not OK to allow the discrimination to continue by keeping me or anyone in prison or jail because of our HIV status.
I am begging you please go to www.change.org and sign my petition, so I can do right by those of you who can believe in me. Thank you to all who have written to me over the last couple of years and shared your stories with me.
You can also check out www.hivjusticeworldwide.org and get involved with fighting discrimination and criminalization of the HIV virus.
Stay healthy and stay safe.