She has trended on numerous social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, with the hashtag #FREECYNTOIABROWN, and because of this hashtag Cyntoia Brown has been granted the freedom she deserves.
If you’re clueless on the facts, here’s what you need to know. Brown was convicted of first degree murder and the robbery of Johnny Allen, a john/”client,” in August 2006. Allen picked up Brown with the understanding that she was a prostitute. His assumption was not wrong, however Brown was not a willing participant.
At the age of 16, Brown was a sex trafficking victim forced into prostitution by her abusive pimp boyfriend, Ice. One night she was picked up by Allen at a Sonic drive-in and brought back to his house. Regardless of what he assumed her profession was, Brown stated that she was uncomfortable while being there. She wanted to leave, but he continued to stress that he needed to be pleased first.
According to the documentary film, Me Facing Life: Cyntoia Brown Story, Allen was not only demanding, but he also continued to showcase his extravagant gun collection. When Allen turned to reach for something Brown assumed it was one of his guns, and immediately she grabbed the small handgun her abusive pimp boyfriend gave her and pulled the trigger.
Today Brown is 30, and has spent 15 years in prison while still facing life. On January 7, 2019, her defense team has succeeded in getting the supreme court to grant Brown clemency. They were originally having difficulty because in December of 2018 the court ruled that defendants convicted of first degree murder after July 1995 are required to serve a minimum of 51 years in prison before they are eligible for a release.
There is no question that Brown shot Allen in the head and fled the scene, however what the prosecutors originally failed to acknowledge were the devastating events that led up to this tragic circumstance. All of her actions were in self-defense.
Since November 2017 a number of celebrities, including Rihanna, have brought attention to this case, demanding justice for Brown. Social media posts have asked people to call the Governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, demanding that Brown be granted clemency.
The call of action made on Brown’s behalf has brought great media attention to her case, and it has managed to help Governor Bill Haslam make a decision before leaving office.
The Huffington Post reported that Brown is eligible to be released from prison August 7, 2019. Brown’s story is not only moving, but it is also extremely inspiring to see what can be down when a nation bands together for justice.
By Vernita Bediako, Mizzou Alumna
Twitter: @bediakoabena / Instagram: @rastaxgoddes / Blog: smalltalkbigthoughts.com