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12.22.2010

tell governor schwarzenegger to pardon eddy zheng

I've been familiar with Eddy Zheng's story for the better part of a decade now... after many ups and downs, he needs the community's support again: Community Activist, Ex-Con Eddy Zheng Faces Deportation.

Eddy served over twenty years behind bars for a robbery he committed at age 16. Since then, he's turned his life around and become a valuable, passionate educator, activist and community leader in the San Francisco Bay Area. But now, he faces deportation to China.

Eddy has dedicated his life to preventing youth violence and delinquency through his work at the Community Youth Center, Community Response Network, and many other Bay Area programs and organizations.

Unfortunately, flawed immigration laws make Eddy deportable to China, even though he's already served his sentence and was found suitable to re-enter society by Governor Schwarzenegger himself. Here's some background:
Why does Eddy deserve a pardon?

After being convicted as an adult for a crime he committed when he was 16 years old, Eddy served over 20 years behind bars where he transformed himself into a renowned prisoner rights advocate, youth mentor, poet, and author. In 2005, Eddy won his parole only by demonstrating to the parole board and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that he was a model inmate who acknowledged his mistakes, expressed remorse for his crime, and did everything he could to improve himself. At his parole hearing Eddy had letters of support from the judge who originally sentenced him, the Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted him, a former director of the California Department of Corrections, and dozens of state legislators, local politicians, and community leaders.

Today, as a Program Manager for youth outreach programs in the San Francisco Bay Area, Eddy is an asset to the community. Eddy’s immigrant teenage years in Oakland and his incarceration experience have enabled him to conduct effective outreach and intervention strategies for youth, many of whom who are at-risk for entering the criminal justice system.

Eddy has already served his time for his crime. It is unfair for him to be punished twice for the same crime. Keep Eddy at home with his family and his community!
Eddy Zheng has submitted an application for clemency with Governor Schwarzenegger, who will be termed out when the new governor takes office on January 3. Many governors historically have granted pardons before leaving office. Eddy's supporters are making a strong push for his pardon during the governor's last week in office.

Here's what you can do. Sign the petition at Change.org: Tell Gov. Schwarzenegger to Pardon Eddy Zheng. (This is a different petition from one that was recently circulated on Change.org, so even if you think you've signed it double check and sign again.) Pass it along and tell a friend about Eddy's situation. For further background on Eddy Zheng's story, read this Easy Bay Express article from 2005: The Last Stand of Eddie Zheng.