Amazing Women, Life

Sara Is Finally Free

Sara Kruzan niceIn November 2009, I featured Sara Kruzan’s story on in a post entitled “How Much Time for This Kind of Crime?

At the time, I tried to make sense of the violence of her desperate action, and the life of abuse that had driven her to it.

I wrote:

“This moral dilemma leaves me torn: a teenaged girl kills the ruthless and manipulative pimp who has entrapped and abused her. She is then sentenced to life in prison without parole for his murder. I’m 100% against violence and killing; and yet, somehow, something doesn’t seem right… It feels to me like she has gone from one prison to another…”

I updated the post in 2010 with:

“You are invited to help free Sara Kruzan who has spent 16 years in a US prison for the murder of her pimp, who molested and prostituted her from the age of 13, by signing a petition or sending a letter to then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

On his last day in office in 2011, former Governor Schwarzenegger commuted Kruzan’s sentence to 25 years to life with the possibility of parole, noting her “significant abuse starting at a vulnerable age.”

Three days ago, on October 31, 2013, Sara Kruzan was released from prison on parole.

Interestingly, I learned of Sara’s release (thank you Gia Ibarra!) after an afternoon of contemplation and soul searching. I had been wondering if I make a difference in the world. The universe provided an answer via Gia Ibarra, Sara Kruzan, and a couple of Facebook friends.

Tonya Britton (in Texas) shared a touching story about a friend of hers, Bill Stein, who made a difference in Columbus, Texas, by gathering history and transforming a library.

Another friend (in Alberta) shared the gone-viral story of photographer Angelo Merendino who documented his wife Jen’s battle with breast cancer. (The images will make you weep, guaranteed.) Through Merendino’s photographs, millions will be impacted by Jen’s life, even though she is no longer with us.

My contribution to Sara Kruzan’s freedom may have been infinitesimal. Or it may have been pivotal – perhaps someone who read the story on played a significant role in securing her parole.

I’ll never know.

What I do know is someone who undoubtedly deserves to be free, is free. Many, many individuals campaigned and worked in small and big ways to make her freedom a reality. My part was likely small, but it was a part, however tiny or titanic it may have been.

The universe, through the delivery of these stories today confirmed to me that yes indeed, I DO make a difference. Just like we all do when we fight for what we believe in, and live our lives with love and compassion.

Some of the lessons I relearned today?

  • Small actions can have big impacts
  • One person can make a difference
  • Keep fighting for things worth fighting for

(More life lessons here, here and here.)

I’m grateful to a universe that sends me messages just in the nick of time. Thank you angels, thank you universe for being with me today and every day (even when I doubt you), and especially, this week, for seeing to the freedom of Sara Kruzan.


7 thoughts

  • Thank you Susan! for writing about Sara’s story and bringing awareness to your readers of her life story, through the crimes, abuse and injustice she endured to her struggle for freedom to the fight for justice in her case and her liberation from the prison that had further enslaved her. Through your writing and sharing of Sara’s story you have made a difference in helping to make freedom a reality for her. I believe that everyone can make a difference, big or small but 1 person can truly make a difference when they inspire others to believe and you inspire us everyday! Thank you for sharing your wisdom, inspiration with the world.
    Blessings ~Gia

  • Susan,

    Let me add one more wrinkle to your story. I think it is an important one.

    Sara Kruzan was forced to give up her right of redress in order to secure her freedom. Let me say that again: Sara Kruzan was force to give up her right to hold the State of California accountable for her wrongful conviction and sentencing in order to get her freedom.

    This to me, feels like just what pimps do — they put you in a place of vulnerability and then take advantage of that vulnerability. The pimps needs come first, and in this case, the State of California said that the only way they’d free Sara is if they were certain that they would not be held accountable for their judicial error. They put her needs last and their needs first.

    Did the State ever take responsibility for not looking out for the interests of her as a child? No. They didn’t remove her from a physically abusive home. Did they intervene when she was not in school during the time she was being made into GG’s slave? Again no. You might say, that those are sins of omission, mistakes, or that she slipped through the cracks somehow. But the judge actively denying her the right to talk about the circumstances that led up to the crime of killing him — that was the State actively taking advantage of her. And telling her, while she was still a prisoner, that the only way they’d let her be free is if she gave up her right to call them out on the errors that put her there and kept her there for 19 years, once again it was the State using the situation the State created and her vulnerability against her. To me, the State is looking an awful lot like just another pimp.

    I am so glad she is free — but I think the State needs to give back the *rights* that they stole from her through force. Give it back, California!

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