Kim Kardashian West has come a long way since famously crying over losing an earring in the ocean. Over the past decade, Kardashian West has transformed her image from a ditzy sex symbol to a successful businesswoman, loving mother, and dedicated activist.
Kardashian West’s activism in criminal justice reform was the subject of an Oxygen documentary, Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project, that premiered Sunday night. This goes to show that Kardashian West is proof that influencers can use their power for good.
Alice Marie Johnson’s Clemency
Kardashian West became interested in criminal justice reform after learning about the case of Alice Marie Johnson. Johnson was sentenced to life in prison for a non-violent drug offense, and, like many, Kardashian West was outraged that someone with a non-violent drug offense was serving a sentence similar to serial killers and child molesters. After learning of Johnson’s story on Twitter, Kardashian West decided to use her influence for good and vowed to help free Johnson.
Kardashian West helped appoint a team of lawyers to help free Johnson by having her granted clemency. This involved meeting with President Trump, a move that was considered controversial. But Kardashian West ignored the criticism and focused on the bigger picture. She said, “To me, I always had the stance of, ‘Okay, well, my career or my reputation, that will be in a small, fast news cycle, versus someone’s life?’ To me, their life was more important than a bad story about me. I know where I stand. I would always want to fight for people that can’t fight for themselves, no matter what administration I’m working with.”
The meeting was a success, and Johnson was granted clemency. Shortly after her release, President Trump signed the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform law. Kardashian West believes that Johnson’s case was an eye-opener for the President. She said, “I feel like Alice really was a good eye-opener and heart-opener for people that might not have been sympathetic toward reform. Once they saw Alice, I really believe that she helped change so many people, both on the right and the left, to come together to pass these bills that would change a lot of people’s lives.”
Kim Kardashian West has ignored the criticism and focused on the bigger picture of helping people.
Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project
Her documentary, Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project, premiered on April 5. Kardashian West covered four different cases of inmates who believed there had been a miscarriage of justice. One of the cases included Momolu Stewart, who was convicted of murder at the age of 16 in 1997 and has since proven to be a model citizen in prison after receiving his GED and becoming a mentor to young men in prison. He was released after Kardashian West wrote a letter of support to a judge.
Another case covered in the documentary was the story of Dawn Jackson. Jackson, 48, has been in prison for 21 years. She is serving a 30-year sentence for the murder of her step-grandfather, Robert McBride, whom she stabbed in 1999 when she was 27 years old. Jackson was not given a fair trial because not all of the evidence of her case was presented in court. Jackson had killed her step-grandfather in self-defense as he was raping her. Furthermore, she had been experiencing violent sexual abuse since she was five years old and had turned to drugs to cope.
None of these important pieces of evidence were presented in court, which led to Jackson’s lengthy sentence. The case infuriated Kardashian West, who said, “Her letter made me angry at the people that have betrayed her like this. It made me think of my own kids and what I would do if that happened to them and I knew that I wanted to help her.”
Jackson was not given a fair trial because not all of the evidence of her case was presented in court.
Jackson’s case is a perfect example of a miscarriage of justice and someone being denied the right to a fair trial. Jackson is still serving her 30-year sentence, but Kardashian West is hard at work with her lawyers to free Jackson.
With 164 million Instagram followers, Kim Kardashian West is one of the most influential women in the United States. Some laughed her off when she started taking criminal justice reform activism seriously, but it truly goes to show how far she is going in using her influence for good. Her recent documentary and dedication to becoming a lawyer is proof that she is a force to be reckoned with.