Tonight, President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, VP Mike Pence, and Second Lady Karen Pence, joined prominent black pastors, community leaders, political leaders, and political pundits to celebrate Black History Month in the White House.
After President Trump acknowledged some dear friends in the audience and revealed some amazing, positive economic and employment statistics related to the African-American community, he turned to Catherine Tone. Tone was incarcerated for a drug offense when she was only 39 years old. Now, at the age of 55, she’s been given a second chance at life, thanks to President Trump and his efforts to help push through the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill aimed at reducing recidivism and refining sentencing laws and harsh penalties.
Watch at approximately the 9: 00-minute mark when President Trump introduces Catherine Tone to loud cheers from the audience. A smiling Tone thanked President Trump and Jared Kushner for their prison reform efforts that allowed her to have a second chance at life with her beautiful daughter and granddaughter who stood beside her and next to President Trump on the elevated platform.
Here is Catherine Tone’s story:
I was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the U.S. Southern District of Alabama after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine base. My co-defendant, my older brother, was indicted along with me for 132.3 grams of cocaine base combined together with 54.7 grams attributed to me. My brother received 62 months and also received the two points he was released in 2007.
I have spent the last 13 years and seven months in Federal Prison rehabilitating myself. I am now and have been preparing myself to be a productive citizen that contribute to society. I am 53 years old and I was 39 when I came to prison and I have missed out on so much of my daughter and family lives over the past years. Before prison I look back at myself as being lazy, looking for an easy way out instead of being an adult, a mother and a hard honest worker. I take complete responsibility for all the mistakes and failures I have made in my life. Today I can honestly say that I am not that woman I was 13 years ago with time to think about my wrongdoings and how I can make amends with myself, my family and society. I am very remorseful for causing my daughter and my family pain, heartache and embarrassment. My daughter was 14 years of age when I was first incarcerated and now at 28 years of age, she has become a productive young woman (for which I am very proud) with an eight-year-old daughter herself.
I have worked very hard to rehabilitate myself. I have missed out so much of my daughter and family lives over the past 13 years. Before prison, I look back at myself as being lazy. I didn’t push myself enough when times got tough. I was looking for an easy way out instead of being an adult, a mother and a hard honest worker. In the end, I still lost everything I own, even my dignity. I take complete responsibility for all the mistakes and failures I have made in my life. Today, I can honestly say that I am not that woman I was 13 years ago. I have used this time to think about my wrongdoings and how I can make amends with myself, my family and society.