Letter to Gov. Patrick in support of Arnie King

November 13th, 2008

Dear Governor Patrick,

It is with urgency and humble impatience that I write you this letter. My dear friend, Arnold King, has been unanimously supported by the Massachusetts Parole Board for commutation. This commutation support has been sitting on your desk for some time now. Arnie needs you to take action now.

Arnie has gone above and beyond what a prisoner should need to do to have his/her sentence commuted. Arnie made a terrible mistake over 35 years ago. He has done his time and given himself over to serve his larger community.

Arnie has worked with hundreds of young people. Arnie has gotten himself an education. Arnie runs an event at my church every 4th Friday of the month. He is able to organize and inspire for justice even while sitting behind the prison walls. Imagine, please just imagine what this man could do with his energies and talents if he was living with us outside of the walls.

I have had the privilege of knowing Arnie King for the past 3 ½ years. I serve the Community Church of Boston as the pastor and Arnie is a long time friend of my congregation. We will be among the many, many supports that Arnie has when he gets out. I know that Boston University has offered him access to even further education and that he also has numerous job opportunities awaiting him. A man, currently in prison, is being supported by so many people during this economic hardship because we believe in him.

As a faith leader I believe in the possibility of forgiveness and transformation. I also understand that Arnie has had a choice. He could have chosen not to get involved in his community. He could have chosen not to care about young people in the streets. He could have chosen not to look after new young men entering the prison. He could have chosen not to organize for justice. However, Arnold King chose differently and has shown that he will continue to choose to stand on the side of conflict resolution, community safety, and justice. We cannot bring back the life Arnie took, however we can give him a greater opportunity to benefit the lives of even more people.

In faith and justice,

Jason Lydon

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