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To some of you it wouldn’t matter. The family that we come from, in many ways, can determine the path we follow for decades. Our greatest hope is that this path will be righteous and whole. Our greatest fear is that the path is painful and unfulfilling. I’ve found that my path is fulfilling, however disturbing and traumatic at times it may be. Some people could live their lives without regard for the fact that their father is serving a life sentence behind bars.
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This letter was published in the Daily News.
I’m writing this to the surviving members of the Ringleka family and the greater Stanton community.
In 1999, members of the Ringleka family were robbed of a father and husband and the community lost a leader. One of the people responsible for this was my then estranged father, Weldon Lee Mosby, Carla Ringleka and two hired hit men from Detroit.
Carla and Weldon conspired to kill a man. This man was Howard Ringleka.
I began to weep uncontrollably when I found out that someone was murdered by my father. I felt betrayed, again, by a man that was given the privilege to be my father yet never had the opportunity to grasp it fully.
When I found out about the murder, I had no contact with him. I did not and still do not fully know the man who harmed this community and countless other people. I knew I was attached to a person who was convicted of a heinous crime — a crime that felt surreal and terribly wrong.
My first concern was for the family impacted and the children that were left without their parents. Later, when I learned that Carla died of cancer in prison, my heart was compelled to show compassion again.
I know what it is like to live without a parent. For many reasons, not appropriate for this letter, I knew very little about who my father was and what he did with his life outside of his criminal convictions. For many years, the only pictures I had of him came from the Michigan Offender Search website.
I’ve dedicated my life to creating truth, reconciliation and justice that is not punitive. I’ve learned from the mistakes of those around me and through it all I feel connected to the collective healing that is necessary for the Stanton community.
To the Ringleka family: You may not want to have any contact and I understand that. I am not writing to hurt you or to make you think that this public statement can repair the loss you have endured.
I’m writing because I care about the harm my family perpetuated. I also believe that when there is an incident that impacts multiple families and communities collective healing and dialogue is important. Justice is more than incarceration.
Justice is the ability for all impacted parties to heal and find ways to eliminate that harm from repeating itself. Should we attempt that together? As one of the offender’s daughters, I care for the victims and survivors of this tragedy, and wish nothing more than those still suffering to find peace and hope for a better future.
I believe in the power of dialogue and the responsibility of community members far and wide to stand side by side one another and work to find wholeness. I know that a collective healing process is possible not just for Stanton but for all Michigan communities that experience violence — whether it is frequent or not.
If you would like to share strategies for collective community healing, I welcome you to reach out. Know that your loss, strength and the power of community has not been lost even after all these years. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.