‘I Am So Proud Of You’ Obama Writes In Letter To Prisoner He Freed Who Made The Dean’s List

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison

After spending more than 23 years of her life in prison, Danielle Metz is a free woman and honor-roll college student at Southern University. After being blessed with clemency in 2016 by then President Barack Obama, the 50-year-old mother from New Orleans is making the most of her second chance and inspiring others to do the same. In a personal note, Obama told Metz he is “so proud” of her, reported USA Today.

Metz was sentenced to three life sentences plus 20 additional years in 1993 when she was only 26-years-old for being a part-time drug courier for her husband, Essence reported. Like many non-violent Black and brown offenders during that era, the weight of the punishment was excessive for the crime.

Danielle Metz
Former President Barack Obama accepts the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award at a ceremony, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

But thanks to President Obama’s gift of freedom Metz is now on Southern U’s Dean’s List with a 3.75 GPA and studying to become a social worker. She recently spoke on a re-entry panel at the Essence Festival alongside the city’s mayor Latoya Cantrell and others.

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In an interview with USA Today, Metz expressed her immense gratitude to the 44th President of the United States. “You don’t know what you did for me,” she said she wanted to tell him. “I’m finally coming into my own. I made the honor roll.”

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After coming across the story, Obama sent Metz a note of his own with some very encouraging words.

“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. Tell your children I say hello, and know that I’m rooting for all of you,” Obama wrote to Metz.

Metz has encouraged younger students to capitalize on education.

“Now here I am outside in society living my best life. I love the fact that I can just ride down the streets of New Orleans and get me a hot sausage sandwich or yaki mein. But what I value most is my education,” she told a group of students according to Essence.