Grant Commutation for Incarcerated Survivor Wendy Fong!

Grant Commutation for Incarcerated Survivor Wendy Fong!

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Shayleen Shell started this petition to Governor Gavin Newsom

SUMMARY 

My name is Shayleen Shell and my mother is Wendy Fong. She is an incarcerated survivor of sexual and domestic violence. My mother has experienced neglect, abandonment, and compounded trauma since childhood. She has suffered devastating long-term effects after repeated abuse. My mom was 15 years old when I was born, and I was barely 17 years old when she - the only person to ever raise me - was taken away from me. My mother is one of the most hardworking people I have ever known, always making sure I had everything I needed. I missed her on my graduation, my wedding, and the birth of my children. 

Please join us in asking California Governor Gavin Newsom to commute my mother Wendy Fong’s sentence from Life Without Parole to a parole-eligible sentence.

BACKGROUND

My mother is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment, and domestic violence. Although my mother had brief periods of stability, she has still suffered profound trauma from life-long experiences with physical violence, sexual violence, emotional, verbal, and financial abuse - which is an important context for her conviction. 

Throughout her life, my mother’s trauma from surviving abuse impacted her boundaries. When one of the co-defendants asked my mom to help him buy ammunition for protection, she felt she needed to “fix” and save people so she agreed to help him. Then, while my mom’s peers were living at our apartment, one of them stole my grandfather’s gun. However, neither the ammunition that my mother purchased nor my grandfather's firearm were used to kill the decedent. Nonetheless, Sacramento County prosecutors decided to charge my 33-year-old mother for aiding and abetting a murder in the first degree with the special circumstance of lying in wait.

Understandably, my mother never shared with anyone about the sexual and domestic violence she survived throughout her life - she felt it would be used against her in court. She was also terrified to testify against her co-defendants as a result of the effects from compounded trauma and distrust of the police. Ultimately, my mother was 34-years-old when a jury convicted her to Life Without the Possibility of Parole. My mother continues to express profound remorse and grief for the life that was taken in addition to contending with her own experiences of violence. 

During her incarceration, my mother has devoted her time in prison to seeking healing and creating positive change. She was elected by her peers to serve as the Inmate Advisory Council’s Yard Chair. She led Physical Education classes as part of the Wellness Program offered by the Mental Health Department. The groups that have had the most impact on my mother’s growth have been Asian Pacific Islander Group, Codependency, and AWARE, a 13-week accountability and restorative justice education program. My mother also received her high school diploma and co-facilitated domestic violence peer support groups. She remains committed to her growth and transformation, all while being my best friend and being of service to others. 

Like many criminalized survivors, my mother’s life reflects the impact of our society’s failure to provide child and adult survivors of sexual and physical abuse with the healing, resources, and support they need and deserve. This inadequacy reinforces and sustains ongoing cycles of violence. I urge Governor Newsom to help end the conditions of violence that struck my mother’s life by giving her the chance to seek parole and continue to heal, make amends, and give back to her community. #FreeWendy

Join me in asking Governor Newsom to commute my mother, Wendy Fong’s, sentence from Life Without Parole to a parole-eligible sentence. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!