KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been around ten months since Ricky Kidd was exonerated. Since then, his life looks completely different.
He describes it as a wild and fast roller coaster ride with a whirlwind of meaningful and surprising moments.
Kidd was freed from prison in September after spending 23 years behind bars for a 1996 homicide that he did not commit.
“I feel like I just walked out of a nightmare and into a dream,” Kidd said.
But when the news cameras lost their focus, and he had to start his life, Ricky took action.
“To have that opportunity where the coach says you’re in. So, you take that ball, you dribble it on the court, you square it up, and you try to make a basket,” Kidd said.
He started his own company, ‘I am Resilience.’
Kidd began speaking engagements, taking private classes on resilience itself, started therapy, and is working toward teaching workshops about how to live your life with purpose.
One way he is getting his message out is through TikTok. His 9-year-old granddaughter told him about the app, and he signed up to use it with her.
People started encouraging him to use it to connect with people, and his videos took off.
He has more than four million views, nearly one million likes, and more than one hundred thousand followers.
“It started going viral. Fast. You get to put the little bubbles up top of 23 years wrongfully convicted, now helping others, using my life, and it didn’t stop. The numbers just kept ticking and ticking.” Kidd said.
The funny videos have a serious message about being resilient and criminal justice reform. Ricky says it’s exciting to tell a new generation about his story.
He also fell in love with a colleague, Dawn Elizabeth. They work together on Ricky’s brand. Recently the couple got engaged and found out they are having a baby girl.
When Kidd was originally arrested in the mid-1990s his girlfriend at the time was pregnant with a baby girl. Kidd was released from prison as a grandfather, and now feels he gets to finally experience what being a father to a little girl is outside of prison.
“Now I get to see what that looks like, and feels like, and fully present. I mean, fully present,” Kidd said.
“It means everything to me, I’ve waited a long time,” Elizabeth said. “To have a little girl, to be able to bring her up in the world and to know that she has fierce strong parents.”
Kidd says they are naming her Harmony Justice Kidd to match his life’s mission. He plans to work on criminal justice reform helping others he believes are wrongfully convicted get out of jail like he did.
Ricky says, while what he went through was wrong, what he has now 23 years was worth the wait.
“I’m happy. I am happy. For the first time, and I think I can say that,” Kidd said.
If you are interested in taking one of Ricky’s resilience workshops, or learning more about his mission, you can subscribe to his mailing list. You can find him on TikTok at the handle @mrresilience.