After enduring a harrowing experience as a result of a flawed criminal justice system Korey Wise—a member of the Exonerated Five—is turning his pain into positivity through activism. According to the Amsterdam News, the Harlem native recently provided youngsters in his community with school supplies and backpacks just in time for the new school year.
Wise teamed up with a group called Friends of Public Schools Harlem Inc. for the initiative. The organization provides local schools in the community with the supplies needed to ensure the educational success of their students. Friends of Public Schools Harlem Inc. also donates funds to schools for the creation of health and wellness and arts programs. The group is on a mission to provide 4,000 students in Harlem with backpacks and supplies through a grant provided by The Migdol Family Foundation. At the event hosted by Wise at Harlem’s Schomburg Plaza over 200 students were served.
Wise says he was grateful to be able to pay it forward to children from his community. “It was great to be back at Schomburg Plaza where I grew up and give something back to today’s children,” he said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “Being here and providing school supplies helps students start the school year better prepared to succeed and sends a message that somebody cares. It was great to see the smiles from parents and children. I thank the Friends of Public Schools Harlem and the Migdol Family for making it happen.” FPSH board member Jerry Migdol says that Wise’s support is instrumental in leveling the playing field when it comes to educational resources.
Since being exonerated in 2002 Wise—who has become a criminal justice reform advocate and public speaker—has continually used his platform and resources to give back. In 2015, he donated $190,000 to the University of Colorado’s Innocence Project to help fight wrongful convictions.