New York Governor Commutes Prison Sentence for John White

(Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin)

Last week, after struggling for four years to clear his name, John White was released from prison and reunited with his family -- just in time for Christmas.

In 2006, a group of teenagers came to John's Long Island home shouting words of violence, yelling racial slurs, and threatening to kill his son. John did what any father would do -- he defended his home and his family.

In the ensuing struggle, one of the teenagers lunged at John's handgun and was tragically killed. John was sentenced to prison.

NAACP members across New York rallied behind John, supporting his family during the trial and guarding his home. One stalwart NAACP life member, a woman from a working-class background, donated $20,000 of her life savings to help.

"It wasn't easy financially," she said, "but it was an easy choice to make. Justice only happens when we sacrifice." And yesterday, New York Governor David Paterson made his own choice: to grant John clemency.

NAACP members made this Christmas reunion possible. Join them with a donation so that other families can know justice:

Governor Paterson faced a difficult choice, and we commend him for having the courage to do what is right.

John White's release strengthens my faith that the arc of this nation continues to bend towards justice. Since our inception, NAACP members have worked diligently to encourage governors and presidents to use their clemency powers to achieve justice.

Still, there are many more who languish in prison unfairly -- people like Gladys and Jamie Scott, whose story I shared with you earlier this year. Unlike John, Gladys and Jamie will not spend this holiday at home with their children.

NAACP members have stood by the Scott sisters just as we rallied around John White. Your letters of support have given them comfort during their lonely holidays. But we still have more to do.

You can join NAACP activists around the country to help find justice for the Scott sisters and many others who deserve clemency. Contribute today to help put an end to inequality in the criminal justice system: