Dec. 03, 2013

‘Picking Cotton’ Duo Bringing Their Story to Geneseo


GENESEO, N.Y. – The final speakers of the semester in SUNY Geneseo’s All-College Hour Distinguished Speaker Series will feature Jennifer Thompson and Ronald Cotton. They will present “Picking Cotton” Dec. 4 at 2:30 p.m. in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.

Thompson was raped at knife point by a man who broke into her apartment while she slept. She was able to escape and eventually positively identified Cotton as her attacker. Cotton insisted that she was mistaken -- but Jennifer's positive identification was the compelling evidence that put him behind bars.

After 11 years, Cotton was allowed to take a DNA test that proved his innocence. He was released, after serving more than a decade in prison for a crime he never committed. Two years later, Thompson and Cotton met face to face -- and forged an unlikely friendship that changed both of their lives.

In their own words, Thompson and Cotton unfold the harrowing details of their tragedy and challenge ideas of memory and judgment while demonstrating the profound nature of human grace and the healing power of forgiveness. They have taken their story to audiences around the world, including a segment that aired on the CBS program “60 Minutes.”

The All-College Hour Speaker Series is sponsored by the college's Division of Student and Campus Life. It supports the College mission and embodies the principles of the The Bringing Theory to Practice Project. The aim of the series is to provide opportunities for the campus community to come together to engage in learning that promotes cognitive, emotional, and civic development. The topics of the series are intended to challenge thinking, spur self-reflection, encourage civil discourse, and promote social responsibility.

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