Sacrifice is demonstrated in numerous ways. Sometimes the sacrifice is not only uplifting, but inspiring. Sometimes it is not only inspiring, but a true measure of what we as human beings are capable of. Sacrifice is measured in many ways and all sacrifice should be applauded.
We as humans are measured by how much we sacrifice, and most religions have this as a main tenet. We all like to think we would risk everything to do the right thing, but the large fact is most of us would not SACRIFICE EVERYTHING for someone they barely know. This is not an article about how wonderful human beings are, no instead this is an article about how one person defied the negativity of 2020 and showed all of us what we truly are capable of!
The story of Johnathan Irons is sad and unfortunately a story we have heard too many times. In 1998 Mr. Irons was arrested on suspicion of burglary of a house outside St. Louis. Irons was 16, he would be charged as an adult and despite no physical evidence, he was sentenced to 50 years by an all-white jury. Personally, as a white man, it is hard for me to fathom how this could happen, to some men of color in this country it is all too familiar.
In 2006 Irons’ story was presented to high school basketball standout Maya Moore through a family member. For 12 years Maya fought for Irons while becoming one of the greatest college players of all time at UCONN and winning everything you can in the WNBA. For Maya it was not enough. Maya did something very few of us could even fathom and put her career on hold, in her prime, to fight for something bigger than herself. Following the 2018 season, Moore announced she was stepping away from basketball to fight for Irons’ freedom.
She decided that writing letters, or just using her platform was not good enough. A year and a half after her shocking announcement, Johnathan Irons’ conviction was overturned due to lack of evidence. An emotional video was posted upon his release and Moore, overcome with emotion, dropped to her knees. Her battle was over, but in a way had just begun. There is something special in Maya Moore and it is not a common trait, but maybe one day it could be.
As uplifting as this story is, one fact remains. An innocent man had 22 years of his life stolen from him! This is not a new story or even one that isn’t happening as I write this. Nobody deserves what happened to Mr. Irons, but it is happening. Maya Moore has not yet said if she will return to the WNBA.
I do know that this will not be the last time Maya makes a difference in this world. While superheroes like Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman may be works of fiction, we all can rest assured that we do have at least one superhero here with us.
On behalf of the people of the country, Thank You Maya for showing me and others what sacrifice looks like!