We encounter a lot of stories of tragedy, injustice and triumph. None is more heart-wrenching than the story of Sara Kruzan.
Sara, who was once her elementary school's student body president, met the man who would become her pimp when she was just 11. After acting as the father figure she never had for two years, he raped Sara at age 13 and trafficked her into the commercial sex trade.
For the next 3 years, from 6pm to 6am, strangers would pay Sara's pimp to rape her and other adolescent girls he recruited and preyed upon.
Finally, physically and psychologically traumatized, Sara snapped. She shot and killed her pimp.
Her punishment? Life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The sentence was handed down by a judge in 1994 against the recommendation of the California Youth Authority, and before there was much awareness about the violence of child trafficking or an appreciation for the trauma of adolescent sexual and physical abuse.
The sentence was extreme and unjust. And it can now be overturned by one man: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Governor Schwarzenegger is leaving office at the end of the year, and will soon be considering clemency petitions. In response, there is a grassroots movement building to call on Governor Schwarzenegger to commute Sara's sentence to time served.
Join the movement to ask Governor Schwarzenegger to free Sara Kruzan now.
Tragically, the sexual exploitation Sara suffered is not unique. But what makes her case especially poignant is not just the injustice of her life sentence, but her response.
Rather than descend in hopelessness, Sara has found redemption in jail and become an inspiration to all those around her. She has graduated from high school, is on her way to completing her college degree, and started the prison's Committee for Youth to serve as a mentor to younger women. She was recently voted "Woman of the Year" at her prison.
However, without intervention from Governor Schwarzenegger, Sara will likely die in prison.
Don't let this happen. Sara has more than paid her debt to society with 16 years of incarceration. It's time to set her free.
Call on Governor Schwarzenegger to free Sara Kruzan now.