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Exonerees Speak to Students in Virtual Events

Witness to Innocence is continuing to find creative ways to share our stories and advocate against the death penalty. Many of our speakers have been speaking at different schools in virtual events.

On April 2nd, Herman Lindsey spoke to a capital punishment class at Temple University. The professor shared, “…his [Herman’s] joyful, kind personality came shining through.” On April 9th, Herman spoke to another group of students in a death penalty class at University of Colorado Boulder. After the presentation, the professor stated, “Herman gets ten stars. The students (and I) loved what he had to say.”

Kwame Ajamu spoke to a class on juvenile justice class at Caldwell University on April 15th. Students asked questions about how Kwame stayed hopeful during his incarceration, what challenges he faced re-entering into society, how he works with Witness to Innocence to support exonerees and campaign against the death penalty, and what advice he would give to his younger self. The professor shared, “I think my students really enjoyed it and learned a lot. It was a nice change of pace from what we've been doing the last few weeks. I think the talk went really well!” On April 16th, Sabrina Butler-Smith spoke to a justice studies and criminology class at Humboldt State University. Sabrina spoke to an introductory criminal justice class and shared her experience from her childhood to her wrongful conviction and exoneration to her life and work today. The professor shared, “I can't thank you enough for taking the time to speak with our students today. I've already received several emails from students stating how much they enjoyed the talk."

Witness to Innocence’s Speakers Bureau empowers death row exonerees to share their stories of wrongful conviction with audiences around the world. These speaking engagements also give exonerees - many of whom received $0 in compensation - a chance to earn income through speaking fees. As organizations and schools are cancelling in-person gatherings and switching to virtual meetings, lectures, and classes, Witness to Innocence is working to ensure that exoneree speakers can continue to secure paid speaking engagements and advocate for criminal justice reform. Witness to Innocence speakers are available to deliver talks and Q&As to organizations, faith groups, clubs, legislators, schools and more using video services such as Skype or Zoom. Speaking fees are negotiable and will continue to go directly to exoneree speakers. If you are interested in hosting a remote speaker, or if you have any questions, please contact Alison Walsh at or (484) 352-3346.

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