Life sometimes can be very cruel. But never give up on your dream. Even when there is no reason for hope, you must always bring your hope alive.

You have reasons to give up in life especially when we are a victim of injustice. You have reason to be silent when nobody wants to hear your voice. You have many reasons to give up on your dream when nobody believes in your dream. You have reason to be weak in spirit, soul and body when you have nobody on whose shoulder you can lean on. You have reasons to abandon your dream when everything within and around you is working contrary to your dream. You have reason to give up when you cannot see beyond the present condition.

But I want to tell you that, never give up on yourself. Sharing with you today is emotional story of Archie Charles Williams, who hails from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is an American singer who appeared on season 15 of America’s Got Talent. He was wrongfully incarcerated for 37 years in prison and released on March 21, 2019.

On December 9, 1982, a 31-year-old woman heard a knock on her door. She went to check the door in innocence only to encounter a man who forced the door open and eventually entered her apartment. She was raped, stabbed in her chest and abandoned by her assaulter. While all this was happening, Archie Williams, who was 22 years old then was sleeping at home. The police stepped in to investigate the case. The rape victim while still in hospital on December 15 of the same year said that her attacker was 5’ 9 to 5’ 11 inches tall. She also helped the police to create a sketch of the attacker. A number of people were brought before her including Archie Williams in order to identify who assaulted her. Multiple times in the line-up, the woman could not identify the assaulter. As the story went, she was encouraged and urged by the police to point Archie out as her assailant. Despite weak evidence against Archie, on April 21, 1983, the jury convicted Archie Williams, a black man, of attempted murder, aggravated rape and aggravated battery. He was sentenced to 80 years imprisonment without the possibility of a parole.

While in prison, something worked for Archie, he never gave up hope of gaining freedom someday. He continued to tell everyone who cares to hear his story about his innocence.

He said in one of his interviews after he regained his freedom, “I know if only one of the people picked up my case file and read it, they would know that I am not guilty. I am innocence. If I could get a DNA test, it would prove my innocence.”

After about 11years behind the bars, the Innocence Project, a non-profit legal organisation that works to overturn wrongful convictions through the use of DNA testing, picked up his case in 1985. It re-examined the case, and in 1986 filed a motion for DNA testing. After several intrigues, Archie Williams was set free on March 21, 2019, after spending 37 years behind the bars for a crime he never committed. In one of his interviews, he told the interviewers, “My body was in the prison, but my mind was not there.”

Life sometimes can be very cruel. But never give up on your dream. Even when there is no reason for hope, you must always bring your hope alive. Always believe that there is a light at end of the tunnel, if only you will never give up. No matter how tough the circumstances may be, take your mind off them like Archie Williams did. You may be in the middle of the crisis now, but never allow the crisis to swallow you up. Never give up yourself.




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