1 of ‘Exonerated 5’ joins local political leaders to kick-off National Innocence Project Tour

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — In 78 years, the Magic City Classic has grown from a weekend football game, to a full week of festivities including community empowerment sessions. 

Among the many events this week is one presented by the Dannon Project and the Jefferson County Commission called the Social Justice Initiative.

Joining Art Franklin Wednesday morning to talk about the kick-off the National Innocence Project Tour is Jefferson County Commissioner President Pro-Tem Lashunda Scales and Korey Wise, one of the Central Park Five, now known as the Exonerated Five (see video above).

The event will be tonight at 6 p.m., doors will open at 5 p.m. The event is FREE to the public.

Response to the latest information in the Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney Case

Scales place emphasis on community unity.

Scales said, “As a community, let’s not become so disappointed until we stop doing what we need to do to stay together. The family needs us now and they need us like never before. Now…we want to change our perspective and say ‘How do we go over in Avondale and embrace this family, and most of all work toward a change in terms of how this came about and why these things need our undivided attention?'”

Wise had an opportunity to meet Kamille’s family. He said all he could do for Kamille’s family was just hug them.

“If what is alleged did occur, then we have to say that mental illness is real. It does not just affect just one set of community it affects people in general. I want us to come together as a community and not be so quick to respond. Let the process play itself out. Be there for the family, they’re going to need us like never before” Scales said.

About the National Innocence Tour

For tonight’s event, Wise wants to share his experience at Rikers Island.

Scales aid, “Just to know what to happen with him, it’s sobering. You’re talking 12 years, this young man went to just to help a friend, age of 16, and went from ‘I’m going to help a friend’ to, ‘Now I’m serving time for a crime I didn’t even commit.’ And then to have to go to most traumatic, for lack of better words, a prison in the country, Rikers Island. And for him to make it out. Obviously it had to have some kind of effect. It’s still gripping.”

Why is the event held during Magic City Classic Week?

Scales explained, “Because it’s so important. We’re expecting more than 100,000 spectators to come in for the Magic City Classic. This is not just Korey’s story, it’s America’s story. And we’re going to have to change the way we do business as a nation and where we are as a county.” Scales continued, “Because we have so many people coming in, this is when you talk the most. The party’s is good, the gathering, and fellowshipping and so forth, that’s wonderful, but how do we galvanize the people and say ‘Let’s talk about something that is really gripping our community and how do we change that?’ “

Rise said, “I’m glad to be here. Finally here, and I’m looking forward to having some fun.”

Doors open at 5 p.m. for the event at 16th Street Baptist Church. Art Franklin will be moderating the event.

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