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Albuquerque Organizer Clifton White Released From Prison

Lonnie Anderson
Clifton White meets his granddaughter for the first time on Thursday, Oct. 29. She was born this summer while he was in prison.

For months, demonstrators fighting police violence and racism have been calling for the state to release Albuquerque protest organizer Clifton White from prison. His wife, Selinda Guerrero, said she was surprised by a call from Santa Rosa prison staff on Thursday saying she should come pick him up. 

Not many hours before speaking with KUNM on Friday, Clifton White was behind the walls, he said, trying not to think about the upcoming holidays, and his kids and wife. "I'm trying to get back into the reality that’s a possibility for me at this moment," he said. "It was just the other day when I was trying to block that out of my thoughts."

White said thought he would be in there another year or so. But now he’s home for good—no probation and no parole.

White was taken back to prison on an administrative parole violation after being arrested on June 1, a couple of days after he and his wife organized the first Black Lives Matter demonstration of the summer in the International District. Guerrero said his arrest was retaliation for the couple's organizing efforts for Black Lives Matter and on behalf of people who are incarcerated. 

White’s attorneys showed in a recent hearing that he had overserved his prison sentence, Guerrero said. They are certain the months of calls to the governor and chants of “Free Free Clifton White!” in the streets are what got him out of prison.

"It’s mind-blowing. It’s unimaginable," White said. "I mean, think about it: I don’t know nobody this has ever happened to. I’m just so humbled. And I just can’t wait to utilize these blessings and community and all this love I'm getting to continue the great push for equality and justice."

Guerero and White said they plan to file a civil rights lawsuit in the coming weeks. 

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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