A Second Chance at Freedom for Negus Thomas

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Hello, my name is Aswad Thomas. I'm a first-generation college graduate, former star college basketball player, and a victim of gun violence. I always think about the trauma of being a victim of gun violence. I am now beginning to understand the impact of how complex trauma has impacted the life of my oldest brother, Negus Thomas, and the decisions he made. Here is his story and the need for a Second Chance.

Our mother had Negus when she was 16 years old in Hartford, CT. Negus grew up in a single-parent home, along with his four younger brothers. He grew up in a community riddled with drugs, violence, systematic and personal barriers that did not provide him with many opportunities to succeed. It was, and still is, a poverty-stricken community that provided little hope for young males such as Negus. At an early age, Negus found a love for basketball and used it as a tool to keep him, his siblings, and the neighborhood kids away from the street life and into a safe haven for them. He was a standout basketball high school student in Michigan with a chance to make something out of his life. He attended Capitol Community College in Hartford, CT, Erie Community College in Buffalo, NY, and Buffalo State University to pursue an education and play basketball. He was on the right path in life. 

Nearly 20 years ago, Negus made some poor choices that ultimately cost him his freedom. He is now serving a life sentence in federal prison for the choices he made at 23 years old. Now a 43-year-old man, he has changed his life for the better. He has completed numerous rehabilitative programs and has been a model prisoner. In fact, he's one of the most notable workers in all the facilities he's been in. Back then he didn't know his purpose, but now a mature man with a purpose is asking for a Second Chance at freedom. The Negus of today is a better person compared to the kid he was 20 years ago.

"I can say with sincerity and honesty that I am sorry and remorseful for the crime I was convicted for" - Negus Thomas

Life is a test and God puts us through trials and tribulations that allow us to live life, grow, and also learn from our mistakes. In life, it's who you are, and today Negus is a changed man. A father of two daughters who he has helped raised from behind prison walls. Both of his daughters are now committed to attending college next year under guidance from their father. The past 20 years or should I say the past 30+ years Negus has had a tremendous impact on so many lives across the country. He's always been the role model that I looked up to and still do today. 

He was the one who after I was shot said don’t think about your basketball career, God has another plan for you and that is to back to school for my master's degree and work with victims of crime. My brother like so many other people in prison was also a crime victim who experienced severe trauma. In my career, we work to address unhealed trauma in communities like the one Negus grew up in that experience high rates of crime, poverty, and violence. 

Negus is asking the United States Civilian Society to please give him a Second Chance by accepting him back into the free world to pursue his goals of providing mentorship to at-risk youth and starting a non-profit organization.

If you believe that Negus Thomas is deserving of a second chance in life of the personal life transformation that he has made, then please sign this petition. Thank you! 

"If people are indeed worthy of a second chance, I'm asking for mine. I'm not a threat to society." - Negus Thomas