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Cyntoia Brown

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"A rare and precious jewel was cast out to sea, and I must fight with everything in me to get it back."

I became aware of Cyntoia Brown on social media when Rihanna called for her clemency on Instagram. Digging into her story, I was sorrowed by the mash up of the bad hand she'd been dealt and the verdict of an unrealistic judicial system--particularly towards people of color.

The documentary Me Facing Life shows the roots of her childhood leading her through a path of abandonment, ultimately trapping her with a rapist pimp. On a fateful night in August 2004 "Cyntoia Brown shot and killed Johnny Mitchell Allen, 43, who had paid to have sex with her." (The Guardian) The subsequent trial tried her as an adult for first-degree murder despite the argument that she acted in self-defense. She was found guilty and won't be eligible for parole until she's 69.

Despite this, Cyntoia is a true story of beauty from ashes, earning her Associate's Degree from Lipscomb University while in jail. In the documentary she concludes:

"The biggest thing I learned about myself the 10 months I was in solitary confinement is that a rare and precious jewel was cast out to sea, and I must fight with everything in me to get it back where it can be held as one of the world's greatest treasures. I learned that at my life was and is not over."

Images L-R via: You CaringPeople, Gotham City Esq, PBS.