Catherine Toney Takes the First Step

“One day I woke up and I could fly… I’d look down and see. And I wouldn’t know myself. I’d have new hands. I’d have new feet. I’d have new vision. My eyes would be open a little better… For one moment of my whole life, I would know how it would be to be free!” – Nina Simone

“How do you feel about going home today?” the guard asked.

“It would be great,” Catherine replied.

“So you’re leaving us today, huh?” said the case manager.

“It was like an out of body experience for me,” Catherine Toney recounted the moment she was told she was going home from prison. She had to sit as her soul leaped in gratitude for God’s deliverance.

Catherine Toney had spent 14 years of her life in prison. She had no idea President Trump’s recently passed First Step Act prison reform bill would affect her sentence. She had tried and failed multiple times to get her sentence reduced. The surprise rescue from a 20 year sentence for a drug offense was a miracle.

Leading clemency champion Amy Povah of the CAN-DO Foundation introduced me to Catherine shortly after their visit to the White House in February, where she stood on stage with her family and President Trump and gave a powerful thank you to an electric crowd at the African American history celebration. She is the first woman to be released under the First Step Act.

Watch my interview with Catherine here:

Three weeks before the White House, Catherine woke herself up in the middle of the night on her steel prison bed shouting, ‘Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus!’ She startled herself by her outburst and looked around to see if she had disturbed her bunk mates. She could not recall any dream that led to her praise in the darkness. The next day, as she was…

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