From the Old Colony Correctional Center where he is currently serving a 15-year sentence, Anthony Warren apologized and then thanked the little Dorchester girl he shot and paralyzed in 2003.
"I have been blessed to be forgiven by a beautiful person like Kai Leigh. It has made me want to change," Warren said. "It has made me accept the change. It has shown me that forgiveness is good. And I appreciate the opportunity Kai Leigh has given me to grow as a person."
This video of Warren was played before 7-year-old Kai Leigh Harriott, her teary-eyed mother Tonya David and dozens of community members gathered at Dorchester House Multi-Service Center on April 30 for a morning peace conference. Harriott has grown up confined to a wheelchair since a bullet fired by Warren struck her on her family's Bowdoin Street porch five year's ago.
When the clip ended, Kai Leigh faced the crowd and thanked Warren for his words. "It was a nice video," she said. "And it can inspire so many people to change."
Tonya David says that her daughter long ago made the conscious decision to forgive Warren and has stood by that choice daily.
"As I watched that video and I look at Anthony understand the error of his ways I can only pray that he goes a step further and finds inner peace by forgiving himself," said David through her tears.
"Too many of us are behind bars," continued David. "Too many of us are throwing our lives away in lock-up. But, also, too many of us are behind invisible bars. Bars of anger and rage-- it takes the act of forgiveness to be free."
Warren was one of nine inmates interviewed for the video "Voices from Behind the Wall" which will be presented at Teen Empowerment's 16th annual Step Up to Change summit, which will be held from proceed from 1 to 5 p.m. on May 10 at the Strand Theater in Dorchester.