Amanda Berry is one of three women to have been captured and held in a Cleveland house for nearly a decade. Since speaking for the first time about the experience, she has become an inspirational voice for many. Amanda Berry was invited by radio talk show host Shane French to a one-day festival and was welcomed on stage at the music festival by music artist, Nelly.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Shane French described just how shocked he was at her acceptance of his request. The invitation was sent out to Berry via French’s show, Rover Morning Glory. He expressed that he was unsure whether or not she heard his invite and just left it at that.
The Cleveland talk show host invited her to a one-day music festival concert and a few weeks later she appeared on the stage with the crowds roaring their support. She was welcomed on to the stage by Nelly and she stood smiling in silence as the crowd showed their overwhelming support.
This was Berry’s first public appearance since she regained her freedom. An earlier interview capturing the first words she expressed about the ordeal was captured in film by Hennes Paynter Communications and can be found on YouTube.
The first public appearance by Berry came the day following abductor Ariel Castro’s guilty plea in court.
Ariel Castro, in a house in Cleveland, held Berry and two other women, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, captive for almost a decade. Patrol officer Anthony Espadas was one of the first among others who assisted in the rescue of the young women. He describes his experience of the rescue in an empathetic interview posted on Cleveland.com: “Very overwhelming. I mean, it took everything to hold myself together.”
Espadas was driving with a partner when a call came in on the radio saying Amanda Berry was on the line. She had seen a break and was brave enough to take the chance while she had it. As the patrol car pulled up to the house in question, they saw a young woman standing out on the porch. Amanda approached the vehicle and it was then, as they identified her as one of the decade-long missing persons, he felt the immensity of the situation.
Shortly thereafter, Espadas explains how he went inside to retrieve the two other girls. Both girls were overcome with relief as they embraced their savior.
“It couldn’t have gotten any better than that, that day,” he said. “I don’t feel like a hero. I’m just glad I was there, you know, just making sure they were safe. I feel so happy for them. It is just unbelievable. It goes through my mind every day.”
The very same day the women were rescued Ariel Castro was arrested. Later, he was charged with three counts of kidnapping and four counts of rape and has since pleaded guilty to holding the three women as his captives for ten years.
Amanda Berry is a shining light as she moves into the spotlight, standing up and speaking out. Being cheered by media and music stars, all three of these young women are a source of inspiration for any human that has undergone trauma of any sort, as many of us have, and is seeking for the ability to breathe easily again.
A heartfelt high five is making the rounds for those involved in the rescue and support system provided for these liberated young women.