On Wednesday, July 10, Blue Ocean received the Defender of Innocence Award at the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project’s (MAIP) 12th Annual Awards Luncheon. The event was held at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. The Annual Awards Luncheon is an inspiring event that raises MAIP’s greatest source of income that helps to provide free, timely legal services to incarcerated citizens who maintain their innocence.
The Luncheon celebrated the leadership and community investment of Blue Ocean, including its recent partnership with MAIP. In 2018, Alex Ehrenfeld, Blue Ocean’s Director of Community & Investor Relations, reached out to MAIP to learn more about their work in the community and invited the organization to speak at a staff breakfast. After serving 13 years in prison, MAIP’s most recent exoneree at the time, Lamar Johnson, shared his amazing story.
After that meeting, Blue Ocean offered to help Lamar work on his resume, only to subsequently hire him. Lamar now has a steady career path, is learning new skills, and has settled into his own apartment within one of Blue Ocean’s properties. Blue Ocean is honored to receive the Defender of Innocence Award for commitment to our community and the valuable individuals therein, who may feel they are out of options in proving their innocence.
When accepting the award for Blue Ocean, Alex commented, “We at Blue Ocean believe that life’s persistent question of ‘What are we doing for others?’ is one we must answer with action, time and resources; and that we have a certain responsibility to expand our understanding of social injustices so that we might provide relevant and timely support. We couldn’t be more proud to have a small part in supporting such an important organization, and we are looking forward to many more years of friendship in the future.”
About the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project:
Founded in 2000, the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project corrects and prevents the conviction of innocent people in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. At the time of this award, MAIP is one of the most successful of the 54 innocence organizations in the country, helping to secure the release and/or exoneration of 33 innocent men who have spent a total of 600 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. The project has also helped to pass 14 laws that prevent or make it easier to correct wrongful convictions.