In a statement shared with Complex, Ralo—who’s currently serving time for a nonviolent marijuana-related offense—pointed to Hall’s history of “good trouble” and said his support “means a lot” to him as he continues his fight for freedom. Hall, notably, served as a member of the House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district after running for the position in a special election following the death of civil rights activist John Lewis.
“It has been a hard battle these past few years, and I just want peace,” the 1017 Records artist, whose real name is Terrell Davis, said. “Once you make your bed you have to lay in it, and so I accept responsibility for my actions and am ready to move on with my life. I don’t want the honorable court to feel like I’m against them. I have renewed myself during my trials and have become a more mature person. I have been introduced to better things in life and learned lessons that I didn’t know prior to my arrest. Most of all, it’s about growth and becoming wiser as a man.”
In a letter to President Biden dated April 25, Hall congratulated the former VP on the first 100 days of his administration while noting “there is so much more to be done” before urging him to give attention to Ralo’s case and consider clemency.
“[Ralo] has pleaded guilty, accepted reasonability and is currently awaiting sentencing,” Hall said in the letter, which was shared with Complex. “Mr. Davis has been incarcerated since his arrest and faces up to 9 years in federal prison. As a long-time advocate for racial equality and justice reform, I truly believe that it is long past time to end the war on drugs, particularly with regard to marijuana. During your campaign, you promised to decriminalize marijuana, release those who are still in prison for marijuana-related offenses, and expunge the records of those with felony marijuana convictions so that they may go on to live meaningful lives.”
Later in the letter, Hall asked Biden to “intervene in this case” by commuting the sentence.
“He is very influential amongst young people throughout the nation and can be a very strong force for good working with myself and other justice reform advocates,” Hall said.
Ralo’s plans for after his release include partnering with the Youth Generation Movement, whose vision includes goals of increasing graduation rates and ending substance abuse among young adults, as well as other similarly aligned groups.
“I want them to learn from my mistakes so that they don’t follow the path that landed me in jail and down the wrong path,” Ralo said. “Mentorship is a huge need in our community and I want to be someone who fills that role and shares the lessons I learned these past three years.”
In a separate letter to Biden shared with Complex, Derek Spencer—one of the founders of Young Generation Movement—asked for Ralo to be given a second chance at life.
“He has always been a pillar in our community,” Spencer said. “Terrell has always given people opportunities and places to live when they didn’t have anywhere to go. Before the fame that came with his music career, I’ve seen Terrell pay for funerals, sponsor neighborhood give-backs, and help people with their bills in times of need.”
And in another letter supporting Ralo’s fight for freedom, Mia Turner—an Atlanta woman who said Ralo paid for her husband’s funeral arrangements—detailed the artist’s history of giving back to his community.
“He is one who deserves a second chance at life, and I believe in my heart he will come out a better and more grateful man,” Turner said. “If incarceration does not teach an individual anything else, it will teach them humility, and force an individual to relook the course of their life. My community and the community of Atlanta misses him dearly, because you do not find great young men like Mr. Davis too often where we are from. May this letter touch your heart and please give Mr. Davis a second chance at making right his wrong.”
Ralo has also now received support from Ruleville, Mississippi City Councilman Tommy Boykins. In a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Michael L. Brown of Georgia, Boykins offered his assistance in “further rehabilitation” and looked forward to a hopeful act of clemency.
“I respectfully ask for leniency,” said Boykins, a former police chief. “We are falling on the mercy of the court to give consideration to the time he has served to be time served on good faith and asking for a pardon or clemency for this sentence.”
Ralo, Boykins added, “is very influential amongst young people throughout the nation” and has the potential to be a “very strong force for good.”
The case, which has received considerable attention in recent months due in large part to the expanding of marijuana legalization nationwide despite many people still being behind bars for marijuana-related offenses, previously got the support of a number of fellow artists. Drake, Meek Mill, and others shared a letter to President Biden in April urging him to grant clemency.
“Our nation’s view of cannabis has evolved, and it is indefensible to incarcerate citizens based on the unduly harsh attitudes of past generations,” the letter said.