I recently became friends with Nina Bingham, author, life coach and clinical hypnotherapist. Nina has seen her share of heartbreak but because of this, she’s one of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met. She’s supportive of my mission for the wrongfully convicted and was kind enough to put me in touch with Alex Okoroji, another remarkable lady from Lagos, Nigeria and host of The Naked Talk blog radio show.
On Wednesday, February 25th, 2015, Nina facilitated a guest appearance on Alex’s show. It was a live broadcast from Lagos, channeled through a New York affiliate. Also invited on the show was my friend and partner, Johnny Johnson-the retired private investigator who picked up this torch alongside me. For us, this opportunity to speak about our five-year journey to free five innocent Wisconsin men and to promote the Innocence Project of Minnesota was an exciting prospect. It was a great experience that will not be forgotten anytime soon by those listening in. I say this because of the unexpected call we received from our good friend, Joan Van Houten.
Joan knows firsthand the tragic realities of a wrongful conviction. Being an actual family member of someone wrongly convicted, she is representative of what I refer to as collateral damage of wrongful convictions because of the continued injustices experienced, but seldom referenced in the telling of these stories. So when she called in to share her personal perspective, it tugged at the heart strings of the audience, including us!
After the show ended, Joan sent me a poignant message saying it was not her intention to get emotional on the show. I told her we were glad that she felt at ease in doing so. “Joan, you represent the heart of this matter and are the reason Johnny and I have become so passionate about this issue,” I remarked.
Note: The day before the show aired, I had asked Joan to call in but she said she couldn’t muster the courage to do so. It was a pleasant surprise when we did hear her familiar voice early on in the show. We understood how hard it was for her to overcome the fear of exposing her deepest secrets. On the show she had openly expressed her nervousness but we thought she carried on bravely. Johnny and I had relinquished the floor to allow her to speak, to pour her heart out, to heal. It served as an authentic and heartfelt testimonial that benefitted all who listened.
Here’s the full 90-minute interview.