Isaac Wright Jr., whose life is the basis of the ABC series For Life, officially announced his bid for mayor of New York City.
As For Life viewers would know, Wright was falsely convicted of a crime he didn’t commit in 1989. He served seven years in prison after he was accused of leading a drug trafficking network, among many other things, in New Jersey. By 1991, he had been sentenced to life in prison and was ordered to serve at least 30 years before becoming eligible for parole. During his sentence, Wright began studying law and working as a proxy lawyer for inmates. It was that tenacity, and skill that would eventually help him to prove his own innocence in court.
Wright filed a lawsuit against the state and several law enforcement employees, including the prosecutor, Nicholas Bissell, who Wright alleged had engaged in misconduct. That was proven to be true in 1996 when Bissell was convicted on 30 felony counts and later killed himself. That same year, during an evidentiary hearing, Wright cross-examined a police officer involved with the case, and lead him to confess to misconduct and illegal cover-ups. Wright was released from jail that December.
Now, despite all the unjust hardships Wright had to face, he has his sights set on another goal that would have seemed unattainable at the time of his imprisonment: the New York City mayor’s office.
Wright officially declared his candidacy for mayor on Tuesday, with a promise to “address the racial, economic, environmental, and educational injustices that plague our city’s institutions.” He will be running as a Democrat against Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) in next year’s election.
In an interview with PEOPLE, Wright explains what led him to launch the campaign: a combination of concerns about New York’s future and a feeling that he was positioned to govern in the current political and social climate. He also shared that his candidacy offers, “an understanding of where the root of change occurs.”
Upon being on the other end of systemic racism, the mishandling of the law, and abuse of power, Wright believes he is the perfect candidate for New York mayor.
In my experience in life, nothing good happens, most of the time, without a fight,” Wright said. “You can scream, you can holler, you can protest — which are all good things, because we have to be heard — but no real, significant changes occur without rolling up your sleeves and getting into a fight.