LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Amidst a slew of pardons, two Louisville activists had their past convictions cleared. Longtime community activist Christopher 2X and Amanda Hall with the ACLU no longer have records thanks to a pardon from former Gov. Matt Bevin.
2X received support from figures across the community including the Spalding University President and the head of surgery at UofL Hospital. People who know him wrote letters on his behalf after the office of U.S. Senator Rand Paul got involved. Those letters led to a phone call from the governor.
“I’m going to be issuing you a full and unconditional pardon,” said Bevin on a voicemail, words 2X never thought he’d hear.
He missed the call, but got a message he’ll treasure forever.
“I’m delighted to be able to help you clean that up,” Bevin said of 2X’s past record. “You’re a good man, you’re a great citizen.”
“It means a whole lot to me and my family, not just me,” 2X said.
Christopher 2X’s 30-year-old conviction for drug possession in Louisville and a 23-year-old theft conviction in Hardin County were both pardoned.
His pardon was unique because 2X didn’t apply for it.
“He was reluctant at first. It was a painful period in his life, and I think we can all imagine that,” Givens said.
Once Givens and Paul got the thumbs up from 2X, community members including UofL Hospital Chief of Surgery Dr. David Richardson got involved.
“He’s not a guy just for the cameras,” Richardson said.
He says everything he’s seen from 2X is genuine.
“I’ve seen him here (hospital) at 2:30 in the morning when families call or he hears someone, especially from west Louisville or the African American community, has been shot or injured,” Richardson explained. “He’s here and there are no cameras, no TV, there’s no personal glory in it for him.”
Senator Paul said in a statement to WAVE 3 News,
“As someone who has known Christopher 2X for many years and watched him change the lives of so many Kentuckians, I am truly honored to have helped make this pardon happen and congratulate him on this wonderful news. Christopher 2X is a great example of someone who made mistakes when he was a young man and used his second chance at life to positively impact his community, especially through reaching out to Louisville’s youth, providing safe places for them, and advocating for parents to be more involved in their children’s lives. I’ve been proud to work with him over the years on criminal justice reform and issues like Economic Freedom Zones, and look forward to continuing our efforts together.”
2X wasn’t the only pardon celebrated Thursday. The ACLU’s Amanda Hall works with 2X on criminal justice and addiction issues.
“It just makes my happiness 100 times more,” Hall said.
Hall’s happiness comes from her 2009 drug trafficking conviction in Martin County being pardoned by Bevin. She says her record affected her entire life; she couldn’t go on her children’s field trips or get student loans to go to school.
"Employment, housing, life insurance," she explained, "you can be turned down for life insurance because of your criminal history."
Hall developed a drug problem as a teen in eastern Kentucky and was in and out of jail for drug possession and trafficking. She applied for a pardon several years ago under former Gov. Steve Beshear after getting her life back on track.
She told Wave 3 News she was surprised after learning about her pardon while doing a radio show with 2X.
Hall hopes future governors will continue to grant pardons in the future.