Ava DuVernay’s Netflix series When They See Us has sparked tears and outrage among those reliving the horrific injustice of the case, and those who are just now learning about it. But one anecdote about the aftermath of the case offers a ray of hope.
While reflecting on the Central Park 5 case, during which five Black and Brown men were wrongfully convicted of raping a jogger in New York’s Central Park, Rev. Al Sharpton shared that his organization, the National Action Network, gave Korey Wise, one of the five wrongly convicted, a job following his ordeal.
“Korey Wise, who worked here ‘cause he couldn’t get a job anywhere else when he got out,” Sharpton said to an audience during his NAN Saturday Action Rally event. “Don’t miss this: their family suffered.”
He continued: “Don’t ever forget that they mommas had to get up in the middle of the night and catch buses to ride out to a prison and wait on line and empty their pocketbooks and go through the humiliation and degradation of visiting their sons who were charged with rape. Nothing more series than that.”
Ava DuVernay retweeted the video posted by Sharpton and added more context as to why the employment opportunity was imperative.
“After Korey Wise was exonerated, but before the city settled the lawsuit about its wrongdoing, he could not get a job,” DuVernay wrote. “Falsely convicted at age 16. No skills from over a decade in NY state prisons. Only one man quietly gave him a job. That was @TheRevAl. Respect. #WhenTheySeeUs.”
This is just a reminder of how difficult life was for the young men even after they were released from prison and exonerated.