As the son of a single mother, Father’s Day is different for me. It is also different for the children of the wrongfully imprisoned. Like most Father’s Days I will be presenting my mom with a card that reads “Happy Father’s Day,” and a bouquet of flowers that express the love and appreciation I have for her. It, however, is not for the reasons you may think. My father passed away when I was one year old and my mother raised me to be the man that I am today.
A situation like mine has no one to blame because the circumstances leading up to my father’s death were completely out of human control. But what about the children whose lives are impacted every day by the yearning for a father who has been imprisoned for a crime he did not commit?
This Sunday as we wake and celebrate Father’s Day with elaborate gifts, great food, and the men who have been father figures in our lives, take a moment to reflect on the countless children who will not being able to wish their daddy a happy Father’s Day or the men whose chance to have children of their own was stolen.
Think of men like William Dillon, a man who spent 27.5 years in prison before his exoneration, who had the opportunity to start a family of his own ripped away from him due to a eyewitness misidentification and jailhouse snitch among other things. This Father’s Day, think of men like Luis Diaz, who while serving a life sentenced missed the chance to create memories with his three children for 26 long years. This Father’s Day we should think of the innocent men serving time for crimes they did not commit, but we should also think of the innocent children who are missing out at a chance to wish their dad a Happy Father’s Day.