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The Innocence Project: A Call to Action at Collin College

On October 11th, 2017, the Psi Beta chapter at Collin College hosted three men to discuss injustices in our legal system. Two of the presenters – Johnny Pinchback and Charles Chatman – collectively served over 50 years in prison. The third man, Cory Session, is vice-president of The Innocence Project of Texas and the brother to Timothy Cole, the first posthumously exonerated man via DNA evidence. Tim Cole was never released, dying of a major heart attack while incarcerated, Mr. Cole’s case is one of the more famous DNA cases. There is now a statue commemorating him at the entrance to the Texas Tech University campus in Lubbock, Texas. Additionally, Cory Session worked tirelessly with then Governor Rick Perry to achieve the best compensation package in the country for wrongfully convicted individuals.

In addition to telling their stories, the speakers put out a call to action to the student body at large. We wanted students to leave this event with actionable steps that they could take to help reduce injustice in their community. The speakers discussed various organizations that they are working with to free innocent men and women. Charles Chatman also encouraged the students to give their time and energy to a cause, even if it wasn’t in the legal system. We all have the ability to make change and we should strive to be the change that we want to see. Mr. Chatman also encouraged the students to consider that no matter what job they choose to do in their life, they should “do that job with integrity. Without integrity, you cannot be happy.”

There were over 200 community members in attendance and with few exceptions, eyes were not dry, hearts were not warm, and students were uncomfortable with these men’s stories. This is exactly what we were going for. Development and growth cannot come without conflict and being uncomfortable.

Chapter officers with speaker Johnny Pinchback
Chapter officers with speaker Charles Chatman
Chapter officers with Corry Session

 

 


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