Barack Obama Writes Congratulatory Note to Former Prisoner Turned Dean's Lister after He Granted Her Clemency
Danielle Metz used the freedom Barack Obama handed her to attain a bachelor's degree and even make it to the dean's list. Her accomplishment was affirmed by the former president who sent her a handwritten note with an important message.
This woman made the most of her second chance and Barack Obama couldn’t be prouder.
ICYMI, here's the story about how Danielle Metz got an education after incarceration: https://t.co/im4M1WVw9d— Casey Parks (@caseyparks) July 11, 2019
A PRISON LIFE SENTENCE DIDN'T KEEP HER FROM PURSUING HER DREAM
In 2016, Danielle Metz was granted clemency by Barack Obama. She had been sentenced to three life sentences plus 20 years in prison after her arrest in 1993 due to her role in her husband’s cocaine trafficking. She was only 26 at the time.
Determined to make a difference while behind bars, Metz earned her GED inside while persistently appealing her case and fighting for her freedom. It paid off three years ago when her sentence was commuted by then-president Obama.
"Tell your children I say hello, and know that I’m rooting for all of you.”
Danielle Metz spent 23 years in prison before President Obama granted her clemency in 2016. Now she's in college and on the dean's list thanks to Louisiana's work to #BantheBox.— ACLU of Louisiana (@ACLUofLouisiana) July 16, 2019
This is how #cjreform changes lives. https://t.co/68JBjQXXP5 pic.twitter.com/4Kd4fFx0mf
SHE STRIVED TO EARN A DEGREE UPON HER RELEASE
Metz used her freedom to pursue her studies and enrolled in Southern University in New Orleans the next year where she took up social work. At 50, she was probably the oldest freshman in the campus but that didn’t keep her from achieving a 3.75 GPA and making it to the dean’s list on her second semester.
News of Metz’s accomplishment reached the press and an article about her was published on USA Today. There the New Orleans native expressed her gratitude to Obama for the opportunity to restart her life. She shared with the publication what she would tell him if she had the chance.
“You don't know what you did for me. I’m finally coming into my own. I made the honor roll,” she would say.
According to studies, less than 4% of former inmates attain a bachelor’s degree. Metz was determined enough to make the statistic.
"Since I got the letter, I haven't slept in two days ... why would he write little old me?" @CNN talked to Danielle Metz, the woman I wrote about who is pursuing a degree after Obama granted her clemency, about getting a letter from the former president. https://t.co/myDhg6AhhQ— Casey Parks (@caseyparks) July 15, 2019
OBAMA TOOK NOTICE AND CONGRATULATED HER
Unknown to Metz, Obama read her story and responded with a handwritten note. In it, the famous president congratulated her and revealed how proud he was of her.
“I am so proud of you, and am confident that your example will have a positive impact for others who are looking for a second chance. Tell your children I say hello, and know that I’m rooting for all of you.”
SHE THOUGHT IT WASN'T POSSIBLE
Metz used to think college was only for White people but she certainly proved herself wrong. Hers is a story of perseverance and will. According to studies, less than 4% of former inmates attain a bachelor’s degree. Metz was determined enough to make the statistic. She credits a message she received from a former prison friend who taught her the value of education.
“To Danielle – There’s so many things we can’t get in here, but knowledge and education can’t be kept out by walls.”
Indeed, there is no limit to what a person is capable of regardless of the odds once you set your mind to it.
“I thought, ’this has got to be a joke.’”— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) July 15, 2019
Danielle Metz, a woman who was granted clemency by Pres. Obama, describes her reaction to receiving letter from him after she made the dean’s list at Southern University, where she enrolled after leaving prison. https://t.co/klHJRfXpXk pic.twitter.com/P20kqNqhzK
HE'S A MAN WHO FREQUENTLY PENS MESSAGES TO THOSE WHO DESERVE IT
Meanwhile, Obama has proven time and again how thoughtful he is when it comes to giving credit when credit is due. In the recent past, he's penned congratulatory messages as well as words of encouragement to people who deserve them. These include LeBron James for the success of his "I Promise" school and even Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodgriguez on their engagement. More recently, he congratulated the US women's soccer team for their impressive win in the World Cup.