After Raymond Santana and the rest of the young men in the Central Park jogger rape case were exonerated of all charges in 2002, he knew that he wanted to start reclaiming the life that was stolen from him.
“When the incarceration happened, it was me losing something,” Santana, who was 14 at the time of his arrest, told NBC News last week. When a friend asked him what he wanted to do with the rest of his life after he was released, Santana said one thing he wanted to focus on was encouraging young people to become civically engaged.
Shortly after their arrest, Trump, then a New York City real estate magnate, spent thousands on a full page advertisement placed in four newspapers, that called for the restoration of the death penalty in New York while also bemoaning the state of public safety and the lack of policing.
Surveying the demise of “law and order” in New York City, Trump wrote, “At what point did we cross the line from the fine and noble pursuit of genuine civil liberties to the reckless and dangerously permissive atmosphere which allows criminals of every age to beat and rape a helpless woman and then laugh at her family’s anguish?”
That 1989 advertisement is incorporated into the design of one of the T-shirts in a new capsule line that was recently unveiled by Park Madison NYC, a design brand Santana and his friend Rasheed Young founded in 2018.
Santana says the line specifically focuses on voting because it can be a relatively easy way to get young people engaged in civics.
One of the T-shirts in Santana’s new line specifically invokes Trump’s 1989 advertisement and its “Bring Back The Death Penalty” headline.
Santana said he ultimately hopes that other people who have survived traumas of any kind are encouraged to use their voices to create a better world. Santana spent five years in prison, but the others served different amounts, ranging from 5 to 12 years, according to the Innocence Project.
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