Once Clare is set on a specific goal, she’s committed to seeing it through. She’s quick on her feet and she likes the short and sweet aspect of engagement. I knew this episode would be over in a flash so as soon as Clare flew into high gear I followed her lead. We only had to wait a few moments before He came into view and headed our way. Secret service men were all around him so we’d have to be diplomatic and stay calm. Things actually unfolded easier than I expected. I stood back and observed while Clare went into action, that is, after being given the go-ahead…
This was Clare’s deal. She had known Reynold Moore and his former wife for years before Rey was convicted. Rey was always kind and thoughtful towards Clare and now she was determined to do something for him in return. Rey is the only black man among a group of six so-called co-conspirators in the 1992 death of paper mill worker, Tom Monfils. Clare never doubted Rey’s innocence and that day, Clare was going to speak on his behalf in front of a prominent black man whom Rey had delegated for, in a 1988 bid for president. She was going to make sure that this political figure understood the full scope of Rey’s current plight.
In an instant Clare stepped directly in front of Rev. Jesse Jackson, causing him to literally halt in his tracks. She was armed with powerful words and a book that documented all of the aspects causing Rey’s wrongful conviction. She would make sure that Rev. Jackson understood what was at stake. Included in the book she was about to give him was information to contact us, should he find it within his power to help out in some way.
All eyes were on my sister as she boldly looked directly into this man’s eyes. She leaned the book on his chest and spoke…
“Rev. Jackson, I have a book for you to read about Reynold Moore, a friend of mine who aided in your 1988 presidential campaign. He was wrongfully convicted of murder many years later and remains behind bars to this day. I am here to ask that you help him in his release. Please take this book and read it. Then you will understand what this is all about. I thank you, sir.”
As fast as she had stepped in front of Rev. Jackson, she now stepped away, allowing him to grasp what she had said. He paused and acknowledged her message by repeating it in its entirety. She nodded to confirm as he turned and handed the book to the secret service man behind him. He commenced his walk towards the main stage and as they commenced their walk to the stage, the one holding the book promised to make sure that Rev. Jackson would get it back.
Later that day, after Rev. Jackson’s powerful speech to a crowd of thousands, Clare and I were filled with a renewed hope that maybe the encounter with him would be a turning point in our mission. I remember stopping what I was doing to watch as the caravan pulled out of the grounds. I hoped that the chance for Rey’s vindication did not exit along with it.
Unfortunately, despite our efforts to follow up and contact Rev. Jackson, we never heard back from him or his associates. All other efforts to get books into the hands of other politicians went unheeded as well. It was a a major disappointment for all of us in trying to bring an awareness of this controversial topic into the political realm.
I still wonder if Rev. Jackson ever thought about us or read that book. My reasons for telling this story do not rest on what Jackson did or didn’t do, but rather to illustrate the lengths we went to accomplish our mission. Although the day was relatively unsuccessful, we had done our best. We knew we could not dwell on the failures. We had to move on and continue the search for those who could help.
It would be many moons and bumps in the road before we’d find legal representation for these men. Sure, it took us five years, but we did it. And now we feel certain that we will be successful in our mission.
I’m proud of all we’ve done and of what we’ve accomplished. And although not everyone we encountered along the way was able or willing to step up, the right people ultimately did. What this really is about is doing what is humanly possible to help those in need no matter how impossible a goal may seem.
Click here for more information on this case.