Barack Obama Congratulates Woman He Granted Clemency To After She Made The Dean’s List
Former POTUS Barack Obama has kept a pretty low profile this year, as it marks two years since he officially left office.
But a recent follow-up revealed Obama still has his hand on the pulse of what’s going on after it was discovered that he wrote a congratulatory letter to Danielle Metz, a woman he granted clemency to during his second term in office.
Metz was offered clemency in 2016 after being sentenced to three consecutive life sentences, plus 20 additional years, once she was convicted of drug trafficking. Metz had served 23 years of her sentence and had obtained her GED during her time in prison.
Metz made national headlines last week after she spoke to The Hechinger Report, recalling her past history and how she was able to find her calling by enrolling in Southern University where she studies social work. During the interview she revealed she made the Dean’s List, by maintaining a 3.75 GPA.
Metz, a resident of New Orleans, also appeared at EssenceFest 2019 where she shared her story. A few days after revealing her academic achievements, she received a letter from Obama congratulating her on making the Dean’s list.
“I am so proud of you, and am confident that your example will have a positive impact for others who are looking for a second chance,” Obama wrote. “Tell your children I say hello, and know that I’m rooting for all of you.”
In other Obama news, Rapid City in South Dakota unveiled a bronze statue of Obama which will be added to a gallery of bronze statues made in the likeness of past U.S. presidents.
The statue which initially just featured Obama by himself, was changed to depict the energy of the night Obama made his victory speech in 2008 after securing the presidency against Sen. Jon McCain. In the imagery of that evening, Obama was seen holding hands with his daughter Sasha as he walked onstage in Chicago to a crowd of thousands waiting to congratulate the first Black president of the United States.
James Van Nuys, the artist who created he statue, told the Rapid City Journal that he found it necessary to add Sasha to capture the joy of the moment.
“The idea of a man and his daughter was meaningful to me because my daughter was literally my best friend,” Van Nuys said. He spent between 400 and 500 hours constructing the statue, he said.
Van Nuys spent over two years working on the piece until it was completed. The statue will be on display in perpetuity among the City of Presidents exhibit in Rapid City.