12 Moments of Joy and Celebration From 2021

From hugs to happy dances, these are some of our highlights from the Innocence Project’s 2021

12.23.21 By Daniele Selby

12 Moments of Joy and Celebration From 2021

This year presented intense new challenges to communities all over the world. As the Covid-19 pandemic continued, so did its devastation. But, despite many moments of sorrow and struggle, we’ve also seen small steps forward, and celebrated moments of light.

Our year at the Innocence Project has been filled with many wins as we’ve overcome new and unique challenges. With courts opening back up this year, the wheels of justice gradually returned to their slow turn. Legislators from Oregon to Rhode Island moved forward with important policies to protect the communities they represent. And families around the world were safely reunited with their loved ones, including several of our recently freed clients.

As 2021 comes to a close, we at the Innocence Project are reflecting on the many occasions for joy we experienced this year. Below are some of our most cherished moments of the year:

1. Rosa Jimenez reunites with her children

In January, after 17 years of wrongful incarceration in Texas, Rosa Jimenez was finally freed. Ms. Jimenez, who gave birth to her son in prison, but was never allowed to hold him, was finally able to hug both her children.

2. The Innocence Project made its TikTok debut

@innocenceMalcolm spent 38 years wrongly imprisoned in Louisiana. He’s still fighting for compensation with Inn by his side. #tiktokdog #dogsoftiktok #doglove♬ Will to Live – Jacob Yoffee

This year, we were overwhelmed by the support Pervis Payne received from the incredible community of advocates on TikTok. Over 750,000 people signed our petition in support of Mr. Payne, who was facing execution in Tennessee, after learning about his case on TikTok — and we were so inspired by your action, we decided to join you on the platform.

3. A rare moment of prosecutorial accountability

In April, former Dallas County prosecutor Richard “Rick” Jackson was disbarred due to his “professional misconduct.” Mr. Jackson withheld evidence in the cases of two men — Dennis Allen and Stanley Mozee — in 2000, leading to both of their wrongful convictions. Mr. Allen and Mr. Mozee were both exonerated in 2019.

“…it’s exciting to me to know he’s been held accountable.”“…it’s exciting to me to know he’s been held accountable.”

“I’m not a person who holds grudges and I don’t have hard feelings toward anybody or towards the judicial system, but it’s exciting to me to know he’s been held accountable,” said Mr. Mozee.