Korey Wise of the ‘Exonerated Five’ shares story at UMES
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – For 90 minutes, Korey Wise captured the attention of children, teens, and adults who listened to the heartbreaking story of a man wrongfully convicted for the rape and assault of a jogger in Central Park.
“I followed the story closely I remember when it happened even though I was younger then And the impact it had on the community,” said Interim Dean for the School of Graduate Studies, Dr. LaKeisha Harris.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event. His story is true. Him here at an HBCU, we need more stuff like this,” said one attendee, Daronn Wright .
Wise was the oldest of the five teens convicted in 1989 but was the only one sentenced as an adult serving part of his time at Rikers Island. And as the hit Netflix series ‘When They See Us’ showed, Wise had the most difficult experience of all.
“The fact that he wasn’t supposed to be there and he got the worst treatment out of all the boys. It’s very inspiring to see how he went through and he overcame it,” said senior, Tolu Opeewe.
Despite spending 14 years behind bars before being exonerated in 2002, Wise uses his story as an opportunity to advocate for criminal justice reform. And to stop something like this from happening to anyone else again.
“I have a son, I have nephews, and I have nieces. It could be any of them at any time and that’s scary,” said Harris.
“For him to be railroaded the way that he was and for this to be 30 years later, there are so many parallels that haven’t changed we have a lot to do,” said Publications Coordinator, Tahja Cropper.
Those who listened to Wises’ story Thursday say what moved them the most was the fact that Wise didn’t hold on to the anger of being wrongfully convicted, but rather used that experience to inspire others.
“To show what kind of stand up man he is, he let that go and now he’s educating people and it’s a great thing,” said Wright.
47 ABC was not able to speak with Wise directly because he preferred not to talk to the media. Officials say tickets were sold out for this event and more than a thousand people attended.