Jennifer Thompson, "Picking Cotton"

Tuesday, February 21

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Jennifer Thompson is an advocate for judicial reform, combating sexual violence, death penalty abolition, the fallibility of eyewitness testimony, and the healing power of forgiveness. Her strong convictions were born of a brutal rape suffered as a 22-year-old college student at Elon University. Her testimony sent an innocent young man to a life term in prison. That man, Ronald Cotton, was eventually freed thanks to his persistence in maintaining his innocence and newly developed DNA tests which identified the true perpetrator. Together, they co-authored Picking Cotton, a memoir and New York Times best-seller that recounts the tragedy that brought them together and importance of reforms to the justice system, along with the role of forgiveness and grace in their lives.