Our Cast

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Inthrive Film Festival - Official Selection - 2024
Pan African Film Festival - Best Documentary Nominee - 2024

Main Characters

Pete Petty

Anthony "Pete" Petty

Colie Levar Long Headshot


Gene Downing


Family Members

Debbie Allison

Shadon Petty

Lisa Twitty

Patricia Ann Long



Charles Allen

D.C. Council

Annalisa Butticci

Annalisa Buttici

Georgetown University


Lamont Carey

Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens Affairs

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Crystal Carpenter

Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth

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Sarah Comeau

School Justice Project

Halim Flowers Headshot

Halim Flowers


Destiny Fullwood-Singh[81]

Destiny Fullwood-Singh

Second Look Project

Kris with Georgetown silhouette[9]

Kristin Henning

Georgetown University

CHEVY CHASE, MD -- 6/11/19 -- Marc M. Howard is a professor of government and law at Georgetown. He originally studied European politics, got tenure, and went back to law school, partly because a childhood friend of his was wrongfully convicted of killing his parents. He now works on innocence cases, exonerating prisoners, and educating prisoners before they are released.…by André Chung for the Chronicle #_AC27789

Marc M. Howard

Georgetown University

Eleanor Norton

Eleanor Holmes Norton



Karl Racine

Former Attorney General

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Kevin Ring Headshot

Kevin Ring

Arnold Ventures


Marc Schindler

Maryland Department of Juvenile Services

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Eric Weaver Headshot

Eric Weaver

National Association for the Advancement of Returning Citizens


James Zeigler

Second Look Project

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Anthony Petty has been on a profound journey of transformation. After spending 30 years behind bars, he has emerged as a beacon of hope and inspiration in the reentry field. Incarcerated at 16, Anthony is a testament to the power of resilience, personal growth, and the unwavering pursuit of positive change.

As a youth mentor and program manager for the Violence Interruption program, Anthony plays a pivotal role in creating safer communities. His work involves preventing violence and guiding young people towards positive alternatives and opportunities for personal growth. His remarkable journey, from incarceration to community change maker, is an inspiring example for those he mentors.

Anthony is a living embodiment of the potential for change and personal transformation. He is a source of inspiration for individuals striving to overcome the barriers that life may present and a testament to the impact that dedicated individuals can have on those around them. Anthony Petty’s story illustrates the human spirit’s capacity for resilience and redemption, and he continues to make a lasting impact on his community as a mentor, advocate, and program manager.

Colie Levar Long

Colie Levar Long was sentenced to life without parole in 1998 for a violent offense as a youth offender and was denied release under is a beneficiary of the Second Look Amendment Act. He was released under parole in July 2022, after serving more than 26 years of incarceration. Colie joined Georgetown’s Prison and Justice Initiative (PJI) as a Program Associate, where he supports program administration, returning citizens, and Prison Scholars at the D.C. Jail. He is a published author, speaker, and criminal justice reform advocate, and works as an agent for change in his work with at-risk youth in underserved communities in the District.

From 2022-23, Colie has also served as a Justice Reform Fellow at FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums).

Gene Downing

Gene Downing is a Washington, D.C. native and a returning citizen who served 21 years in prison after being arrested at the age 19. After his release, due to the Second Look Amendment Act, he was selected as the 2022 Congressman John Lewis Fellow. Gene is currently the Gelana Yorktown Fellow at the Council for Court Excellence, where he leads an initiative called the Second Chance Hiring Alliance. He is also a Community Outreach Specialist for Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop.

Gene currently serves as a Poet Ambassador and as the Co-Chair of Thrive Under 25, a transformative coalition in the District that uses advocacy, legislation, and public education to end the racist, damaging, and punitive responses of DC’s adult criminal legal system toward people who came into contact with the system when they were under age 25. Gene is also a very talented spoken word artist and actor, and he uses his talent to raise awareness to the social injustices that plagues our country and to connect to the youth.

Gene is also a public/motivational speaker, and since his release, he has spoken at national conferences, colleges such as Howard, Georgetown, American University and Yale. Gene is passionate about giving back to his community, advocating for criminal justice reform and changing the narrative for what being formerly incarcerated looks like.

Charles Allen

In his first three terms on the DC Council, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen has successfully championed bold legislative efforts around education, the environment, safer streets, strengthening Metro,public safety and criminal justice, campaign finance and elections reform, LGBTQ rights, and women’s health. His first piece of legislation, “Books from Birth”, has delivered more than 2.2 million books to the homes of DC families with a child under the age of five, at no cost to the families, with targeted enrollment of children in communities with lower literacy rates. It remains one of the most popular government-run programs in the District.

As Ward 6 Councilmember, he has focused his efforts on ensuring every student has a great neighborhood school, improving public safety, supporting small businesses, and creating more affordable housing – and in recent years, Ward 6 has created more new affordable housing than any other Ward, with many more homes in the pipeline. He has brought community members together to lead transformations of beloved public spaces, including Eastern Market Metro Park, the Southwest Library, the Southeast Library, and Swampoodle Park and Terrace, as well as nearly all of Ward 6’s public schools and playspaces. His “Vision Zero” legislation has pushed the District to move quickly to create safer streets for all. And the Council recently passed his landmark “Metro for DC” legislation to make bus service fare-free in the District and give DC residents a $100 balance on their SmarTrip cards.

As Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety for three Council Periods, Councilmember Allen led the Council in passing comprehensive policing reform and crime victims’ rights legislation, overhauling the city’s crime lab, banning ghost guns, creating the District’s “red flag” gun safety law, passing landmark second chances sentencing and workforce development laws, and expanding access to justice in the courts. Through the budget process, he created the District’s first-ever Gun Violence Prevention Director and exponentially increased funding each year for critical violence prevention and reduction programs and crime victims’ and reentry grants. Also passionate about elections and campaign finance reform, Councilmember Allen has passed legislation to make vote-by-mail permanent, create the District’s automatic voter registration system and “Fair Elections” public financing program, expand voting rights, and ban so-called government “pay-to-play” contracting.

In Council Period 25, he serves as the Chair of the Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment and sits on the Committees on Business and Economic Development, Health, and Judiciary and Public Safety. He is also the Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. InCouncil Period 24, Councilmember Allen also served as co-chair of the Council’s Special Committee on COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery, tasked with producing recommendations to equitably shape the District’srecovery. Charles lives in Northeast DC with his wife, Jordi, their two children, and their dog.

Annalisa Butticci

Annalisa Butticci is an assistant professor at Georgetown University. She is an anthropologist and sociologist with expertise in religious experiences, aesthetics, and practices in Southern Europe and West Africa. Her research in Italy, Nigeria, Ghana, and The Gambia has resulted in numerous publications, including several books and articles. She teaches classes on the anthropology of religion, religion and spirituality in Africa, religion and colonialism, and ethnography and storytelling.

Sarah Comeau

Sarah Comeau began her legal career as a JD Distinguished Fellow at the Juvenile Services Program at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS). At PDS, she worked as a post-graduate attorney in the District’s secure detention facilities–Youth Services Center and New Beginnings Youth Development Center. Comeau primarily focused on conditions of confinement and due process and liberty issues. During her time at PDS she was first exposed to the failures of the education system within correctional facilities. She co-founded School Justice Project in 2013 with a PDS colleague after they were awarded an Echoing Green/Open Society Foundations Black Male Achievement Fellowship.

 SJP is a legal services and advocacy organization that provides special education representation to older (ages 16-22), court-involved students with disabilities. SJP uses special education law to disrupt mass incarceration and ensure educational equity.  While at SJP, Comeau has litigated several federal court cases surrounding access to education in correctional facilities and IDEA entitlements for incarcerated young people–Easter v. District of Columbia, 128 F. Supp. 3d 173 (D.D.C. 2015), Brown v. District of Columbia, 324 F. Supp. 3d 154 (D.D.C 2018), Charles H. v. District of Columbia, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83065. In addition to her impact litigation work, Comeau advocates for policy and legislative changes affecting access to education for court-involved students with disabilities.

Recently, Comeau advocated for the passage of a law that establishes a panel of court-appointed special education attorneys available to eligible young people with disabilities involved in adult criminal proceedings in DC Superior Court. Comeau co-chairs the Thrive Under 25 Coalition, a diverse coalition with leaders with lived experiences that aims to reform DC’s adult criminal system on behalf of young people under age 25. Key priorities for the coalition this year include ensuring that all young people under age 25 in DC facilities can enroll in high school and can access meaningful and quality education and workforce development programs. Comeau is seen as an expert in the special education entitlements of older, court-involved students with disabilities and in best practices in promoting quality education in correctional settings.

Halim Flowers

In 1997, Halim A. Flowers was arrested at the age of 16 and given two life sentences. His experiences were filmed in the Emmy award-winning documentary Thug Life In DC. In 2005, he started his own publishing company, through which he published 11 books.

In 2019, Halim was released from prison after serving 22 years. Upon his release, Halim was awarded the Halcyon Arts Lab and Echoing Green fellowship awards. In 2020, he signed to be represented by DTR Modern Galleries as a visual artist. His visual art has been commissioned for the Queen of England Platinum Jubilee and Warner Brothers centennial celebration. 

Destiny Fullwood-Singh

Destiny Fullwood-Singh is the Co-Executive Director of the Second Look Project (SLP), located in Washington, D.C. SLP is a DC-based criminal legal services non-profit for those given extreme sentences in their youth. Destiny graduated from American University’s Washington College of Law (WCL) in 2014. Prior to SLP, Destiny worked as an assistant public defender in West Palm Beach, Florida, where she defended the rights of children and adults accused of crimes.

Destiny focused her law school career on indigent representation and the protection of civil and human rights. She was a student defense practitioner at WCL’s Criminal Justice Clinic, a law clerk at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, and interned with ACLU-NC working on racial justice issues. Destiny received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Affairs from Campbell University, in North Carolina.

Destiny is an attorney admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and Florida.

Kristin Henning

Kristin Henningis a nationally recognized advocate, author, trainer, and consultant on the intersection of race, adolescence, and policing in communities of color. She is the Blume Professor of Law and Director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic and Initiative at the Georgetown University Law Center and was previously the Lead Attorney of the Juvenile Unit of the D.C. Public Defender Service. Kris has been representing youth accused of crime for more than twenty-six years and is the co-founder of a number of initiatives to combat racial inequities in the juvenile and criminal legal systems, including the Ambassadors for Racial Justice program and a Racial Justice Toolkit for defenders. Kris also trains state actors across the country on the impact of racial bias in the courts and the traumatic effects of police contact and surveillance.

Professor Henning has received many awards including a 2023 Embracing the Legacy Award from the RFK Community Alliance, a 2022 Women of Distinction Award from the American Association of University Women, and the 2021 Juvenile Leadership Prize from the Juvenile Law Center. She has published many articles advocating for reform in the juvenile legal system, and her recent book, The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth (Penguin Random House), was featured on the front page of the New York Times Book Review and received rave reviews in the Washington Post. The book was awarded a 2022 Media for a Just Society Award by Evident Change and the 2022 Social Justice Advocacy Award from the In the Margins Book Awards Committee

Marc M. Howard

Marc M. Howard is one of the country’s leading voices and advocates for restoring humanity to the American criminal punishment system. He is a Professor of Government and Law and the Director of the Prisons and Justice Initiative at Georgetown University, which he founded in 2016. Under Howard’s leadership, the Prisons and Justice Initiative provides educational opportunities for incarcerated individuals and hosts reentry programs for returning citizens. He is also the Founder and President of the Frederick Douglass Project for Justice, a non-profit organization that launched in 2020 and allows members of free society to connect with people in prisons in order to discover firsthand our common humanity and advocate for systemic change.

Howard’s scholarly research addresses the deep challenges of contemporary democracy and the tragedy of criminal justice and prisons in America. The author of three books and dozens of academic articles, his work has received numerous awards. His most recent book is Unusually Cruel: Prisons, Punishment, and the Real American Exceptionalism.

Howard is also a prize-winning teacher, whose “Prisons and Punishment” course has become one of the most sought-after courses at Georgetown. The students in his “Making an Exoneree” course — co-taught with his childhood friend, Marty Tankleff, who was himself wrongfully imprisoned for almost 18 years — re-investigate likely wrongful conviction cases and create documentaries that suggest innocence and advocate for exonerations. Their project has already contributed to the exonerations and releases of Valentino Dixon, Eric Riddick, Keith Washington, Arlando “Tray” Jones III, and Kenneth Bond, with more to come.

Professor Henning has received many awards including a 2023 Embracing the Legacy Award from the RFK Community Alliance, a 2022 Women of Distinction Award from the American Association of University Women, and the 2021 Juvenile Leadership Prize from the Juvenile Law Center. She has published many articles advocating for reform in the juvenile legal system, and her recent book, The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth (Penguin Random House), was featured on the front page of the New York Times Book Review and received rave reviews in the Washington Post. The book was awarded a 2022 Media for a Just Society Award by Evident Change and the 2022 Social Justice Advocacy Award from the In the Margins Book Awards Committee

Eleanor Holmes Norton

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, serving as congresswoman for the District of Columbia since 1991, is the Chair of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. She serves on two committees: the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Before her congressional service, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to serve as the first woman to chair the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She came to Congress as a national figure who had been a civil rights and feminist leader, tenured professor of law, and board member at three Fortune 500 companies. Congresswoman Norton has been named one of the 100 most important American women in one survey and one of the most powerful women in Washington in another. The Congresswoman’s work for full congressional voting representation and for full democracy for the people of the District of Columbia continues her lifelong struggle for universal human and civil rights.

Congresswoman Norton’s accomplishments in breaking barriers for her disempowered district are matched by her success in bringing home unique economic benefits to her constituents. Among them are senatorial courtesy to recommend federal judges, the U.S. Attorney, and other significant federal law enforcement positions for the District; up to $10,000 per year for all D.C. high school graduates to attend any public U.S. college or university and up to $2,500 per year to many private colleges and universities; a unique $5,000 D.C. homebuyer tax credit, which has sharply increased home ownership in the District and was a major factor in stabilizing the city’s population; and D.C. business tax incentives, including a significant wage credit for employing D.C. residents, which has maintained businesses and residents in the District.

Congresswoman Norton also has brought significant economic development to the District of Columbia throughout her service in Congress, creating and preserving jobs in D.C. The most significant are her work in bringing to D.C. the U.S. Department of Homeland Security headquarters compound, now under construction, and is the largest federal construction project in the country; her bill that is developing the 55 acre-Southeast Federal Center, the first private development on federal land; her work that resulted in the relocation of 6,000 jobs to the Washington Navy Yard; and her successful efforts to bring to the District the new headquarters for the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, along with an additional Metro station at New York Avenue, which has resulted in the development of the NOMA neighborhood.

Congresswoman Norton helped end the city’s most serious financial crisis in a century, in the 1990’s,by achieving a historic package that for the first time restructured the financial relationship between Congress and the District, by transferring $5 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and billions more in state costs to the federal government.

The Congresswoman, who taught law full time before being elected, is a tenured professor of law at Georgetown University, teaching an upper-class seminar there every year. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Antioch College in Ohio, she simultaneously earned her law degree and a master’s degree in American Studies from Yale University. Yale Law School has awarded her the Citation of Merit for outstanding alumni, and Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has awarded her the Wilbur Cross Medal for outstanding alumni, the highest awards conferred by each on alumni. She is the recipient of more than 50 honorary degrees.

Before being elected, Congresswoman Norton served as a trustee on a number of public service boards, including the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Board of Governors of the D.C. Bar Association, as well as served on the boards of civil rights and other national organizations.

The Congresswoman is a third-generation Washingtonian, and is the mother of John Holmes Norton and Katherine Felicia Norton.

Kevin Ring

Kevin directs the state and federal advocacy portfolio for criminal justice reform at Arnold Ventures. In this role, Kevin works with the criminal justice team and all of Arnold Ventures to develop and implement the most effective advocacy strategies to achieve meaningful, lasting reforms.

Before joining Arnold Ventures, Kevin served as president of FAMM (formerly Families Against Mandatory Minimums). In that capacity, he testified before Congress and state legislatures across the country regarding sentencing and prison reform. He has been profiled in various national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, National Journal, Bloomberg News, and The Hill. He has appeared as a justice reform expert on FOX News, CBS News, MSNBC, Headline News, National Public Radio, Al Jazeera, and many other television and radio outlets. He has spoken at major conferences and events, including TribFest, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Conference, Conservative Political Action Conference, and the Variety/Rolling Stone Criminal Justice Summit. His writings have been published in numerous outlets, including USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Hill, and Washington Examiner.

Kevin began his career in Washington, D.C. as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill. During his tenure, he served as counsel to the Senate Judiciary’s Constitution, Federalism, and Property Rights Subcommittee under the leadership of future U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. He also served as executive director for the Republican Study Committee, the largest member organization in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 2004, Kevin’s first book, Scalia Dissents: Writings of the Supreme Court’s Wittiest, Most Outspoken Justice, was published by Regnery. In 2016, Kevin updated and revised the book, which was published as Scalia’s Court: A Legacy of Landmark Opinions and Dissents.

Kevin is a graduate of Syracuse University and The Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He lives in Maryland with his two daughters.

Eric Weaver

Eric Weaver, a native Washingtonian raised in Southeast D.C. was convicted of a violent crime as a teenager and charged as an adult. He would spend the next twenty-two years in prison. While incarcerated, Mr. Weaver received his GED, two college degrees and three vocational trades. He also started a self-help group call A.Y.M (Another Youth Movement), that was an empowerment group for the younger incarcerated men age 18-26. 80% of the groups members got there GED and some went on to get college degrees. Eric Weaver also taught the GED program while incarcerated. Once released he started working with Peaceoholics where he taught the GED program to at risk youth. Some whom went on to college. He is also founder of

“NAARC – National Association for the Advancement of Returning Citizens”. An organization that educates, organizes, and mobilizes returning citizens. NAARC has an annual cookout and softball games with returning citizens playing against the police department. NAARC was the first organization to implement Cure Violence in DC. (Cure the Streets) He is a former member of the Mayor’s commission for re-entry and returning citizens affairs. Mr. Weaver continues to advocate for the returning citizens population and at-risk youth. He worked at DC Department of Corrections where he has held positions as Intern Director of the READY Center and Deputy Director. Currently He works for the Corrections Information Council (CIC)

Mr. Weaver is a proud father and grandfather.