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Community Highlights: Meet Ricky Kidd of I AM RESILIENCE

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ricky Kidd.

Hi Ricky, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
At age 21, I was charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action. Before turning 22, I was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to four life sentences without the possibility of parole in a maximum level five prison in the state of Missouri. The prevailing thought would be that I would die in prison; the worst part, for a crime I did not commit.

My early thoughts were, “Why Wait To Die?” “Go ahead and take your own life Ricky.” For the type of help I would need, the cavalry isn’t coming. Then my second thought was “Why Wait To Be Set Free?” Begin setting yourself free by working hard on your own case,” I began to do just that.

I got a job in the law library and began fighting from the inside; developing case law that supported my facts of innocence while reaching out to lawyers and organizations for help. I eventually found that help in Professor Sean O Brien and subsequently the Midwest Innocence Project. They had early success in being able to prove my innocence but the state of Missouri would still fight the case on technicalities of law. What should have brought me home in 2009 took ten more years before a judge finally concluded that I was innocent at the highest standard. That police got the case horribly wrong and that the prosecutor maliciously withheld key evidence of my innocence.

On August 15th, 2019, I was able to walk out of my nightmare and into my dream! I was finally free!

Eight week after my release, I was registering my new business “I AM RESILIENCE,” A resilience training, motivational speaking and criminal justice reform platform; designed to share with others how they too can find their resilience in difficult situations. I also began crossing the country, speaking to the issues that cause wrongful convictions in America. I’ve been covered by the Kansas City Star, The Pitch, Local News Stations, Buzzfeed, PBS News Hours and abroad. I’ve delivered over 70 speaking presentations to youth schools, to universities, and to corporations such as Koch Industries.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Naturally, serving almost 25 years in prison for a crime you did not commit has not been a smooth road. I had to fight back against suicidal ideations, racism, the violent nature of prison, substandard health treatment and the presence of hopelessness. Once released, while my pathway forward has been one of inspiration; nothing was handed to me upon reentry. No apology, no compensation, not as much as a care package. Friends and family were there, of course, but it became my true resolve and willingness to prevail over any circumstance that stood in front of me. Such became the case when the pandemic hit us all and again when in February 2021, I suffered a cardiac event that led to me having a triple bypass surgery. I truly believe that my life embodies the name of the company “I AM RESILIENCE.” If we’re speaking about the challenges of starting a business; that particular struggle was intense. Although I had a unique story to tell and a set of talents to match; running a business was not that simple. I was missing key pieces. That was until I met my wife Dawn Elizabeth. She was able to see what I was missing in branding, development and design. I had no systems in place to accept payment processing, no official protocol for bookings, no way to gauge the effectiveness of any giving presentation, etc. I couldn’t seem to break through the ceiling to the next level! She saw me, believed in me, then stepped in and took over daily operations. Her position was then elevated to co-founder, then wife & life partner. Now, together we have been able to grow the business and stretch our reach to positively impact lives across the country.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about I AM RESILIENCE?
The core component to my business and life mission is to educate and inspire. At I AM RESILIENCE, we strive to do just that. Through offering Speaking Presentation, Workshop Training, Video Content and Consultation Services. My experience unfortunately became my expertise, particularly as I spent many of those years studying our criminal legal system and its flaws. Since being released, I was provided the opportunity to complete an official resilience training course. I think what sets me apart from other similar style businesses is the unique first-hand experience, matched with the necessary in depth knowledge about our criminal legal systems origin of false justice. I would like for your readers to first be inspired; to realize that tough times don’t last longer than tough people do. I would like your readers to continue to follow their dreams even if life takes you on a detour. To know that impossible can become possible if you are willing to become the first or the rare. I had life without the possibility of parole where less than 1% is ever successful on appeal. I was willing to be the possible. I would like your readers to remember where they can find inspiration and educational value when it comes to our criminal legal system as well as life in general. That my company is available to offer a unique educational experience; whether it be in the form of a speaking presentation, a workshop training or through our new video content channel on

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
I think the quality of patience helped me reach the heights I now find myself at. I recall repeating to myself while in prison, “it’s not where you are Ricky, it’s where you’re going.” Something I believe can help millions of people if they can silence their fears and summon their “RESILIENCE.”

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