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June 9, 2008
Bill Cosby, ex-inmate celebrate education at ACI/ Photo
Journal photo/ Mary Murphy
Bill Cosby, right, pats Andres Idarraga on the back after Idarraga's keynote speech at the graduations for inmates in various programs at the John J. Moran Medium Security facility at the ACI. Idarraga is a former inmate. His father, Argemiro, is on the left
CRANSTON -- Comedian and education advocate Bill Cosby today joined a former inmate, who's heading to Yale Law School, to speak about something that's important to them both -- education.
Wearing a Community College of Rhode Island t-shirt, white sweatpants and his trademark dark shades, Cosby told a group of more than 200 inmates at an education recognition ceremony, that the world would be better with them in it.
“Responsibility is what it’s about,” he said in an earnest and at times funny speech.
“You can’t go back and let people wait on you. If you want more, you have to give more you have to believe in you. You have to get up. Get up.”
Cosby’s speech followed one by Andres Idarraga, a convicted cocaine dealer who began his college career while he was in jail through a joint CCRI/Department of Corrections education program.
Idarraga, who begins Yale Law School in the fall, spoke today to three inmates who had earned Associate Degrees through the program, and more than 200 who earned high school equivalency or other education certificates while at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston.
Cosby, who has a home in Massachusetts, came to the ACI at his own expense after an invitation, said ACI spokeswoman Tracey Poole.
“He’s here because of his personal mission to speak about education,” she said.
Cosby told the group that in their lives, they could have bursts of achievement and success that would overshadow the mistakes they’d made in the past. But it was up to them.
“You did wrong, you got busted,” he said.
“But are you still dumb?”
--projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson, with reports from Journal staff writer Tom Mooney
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