The Start of a New Year: Step 1 Host a Picnic

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By: Joan Williams

On Saturday, September 5, Life After Justice (LAF) hosted its second annual picnic in Jackson Park.  LAF, co-founded by two exonerees, Jarrett Adams and Antoine Day, also assists exonerees re-enter society.  For the picnic, LAF invited exonerees and their families to come celebrate life with barbecue prepared by “Chef” Jarrett Adams (self-proclaimed third ranked chef in the Midwest), good music orchestrated by Antoine, and spirited conversations had by all.  Jarrett shared that the invitation was for “exonerees first, exonerees last, and sprinkle in lawyers.”  The picnic is a time for the exonerees and the lawyers to have discussions outside of the law and their individual cases.  The event also gives LAI students the opportunity to meet many of the exonerees in person.

I had the pleasure of talking to Alton Logan and Tyrone Hood.  Both men spent over 20 years in prison prior to being released.  I was struck by their positive outlook on life.  They both attributed their mental state to God’s help and they feel fortunate that their experiences have not deterred them from living their lives.  The conversations were a reminder that your response to life’s challenges is critical for survival.  I also became more motivated to do what I can to assist the current LAI clients transition back into society.

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