Hi 90 / Lo 64
|Volume 72, Issue 34,
Friday, October 6, 2006
Wrongly convicted boxer delivers message of hope
by KELSIE HAHN
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, former middleweight prizefighter wrongly imprisoned for 22 years on triple murder charges in 1966, delivered a message of hope and a call to "wake up" Wednesday night at the Cullen Performance Hall.
"I bring you the message that I heard in prison -- not the message of despair, but the biblical message of hope," he said.
"The truth is invincible," he said. "And when you speak the truth, you are invincible."
One-time boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter said Wednesday in the Cullen Performance Hall that an unaware society leads to hate, anger and suffering. Carter spent 22 years in prison before having his murder charges overturned.
Matt Campbell/The Daily Cougar
Carter described his mental and emotional journey in prison from a place of anger to a place of hope and self-awareness.
"The miracle I have discovered is that when you change, the world around you also changes," he said.
Carter used the image of an eagle that was raised as a prairie chicken and told he could never soar and died still believing he would never fly. To Carter, all of humanity is in a similar prison of imaginary limitations.
"We are convinced that our limitations are who and what we truly are," he said. "If we fail to evolve, and continue down the destructive path that we are now headed, humanity will simply disappear from the Earth."
Carter spoke of his own awakening as coming in the most unexpected way following his second trial and conviction in 1974.
"People did not understand that I was still seething inside. I was furious," he said.
Just like the justice system was not prepared to release Carter, his mind was also not prepared to be released, he said.
"I was not yet ready to leave the prison," he said. "I still considered myself a victim."
After Carter witnessed a vision of a hole in the prison yard wall through which he could see people in the world passing by, he began reading prolifically and learned to separate himself from his surroundings.
"I could intensify my inner growth rather than give in to the squalor and degradation," he said.
Carter actively sought his own awakening, he said, and urged his audience to do the same.
Humanity is asleep, he said, and unconsciousness keeps people trapped in cycles of hate, anger and suffering.
"Mercy itself lies in the fact that as individuals we can escape the confines of this prison," he said.
The first step to release, he said, is the death and rebirth of the inner self.
"I began to love the man I saw in the mirror. I didn't have to be the mask," he said.
Carter called for others to make the same transformation.
"The terrible things that people do to people cannot be the behavior of conscious people," he said. "We were all born perfect, but we were also born into a world of sleeping people … You have to die to yourself. Becoming what we truly are is a miraculous achievement."
In closing, Carter again urged every individual to make the change and follow the dream of a better world.
"You must act like you already attained that dream," he said. "Dare to dream. Hate put me in prison, love busted me out."
Carter holds an honorary doctorate in law from York University and founded the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted.
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