The man who inspired the hit ABC drama For Life is now running to become the next mayor of New York.

Isaac Wright Jr. was wrongly sentenced to life for drug trafficking and cocaine possession and distribution charges in 1991. He studied to become a lawyer during his seven years in prison, eventually trying his own case and winning his freedom. Now, Wright has officially begun his mayoral campaign Tuesday, saying he promises to “address the racial, economic, environmental, and educational injustices that plague our city’s institutions.” His major issues, he said to People Magazine, will be criminal justice reform, the economy, infrastructure and housing. His campaign, he said, will provide “an understanding of where the root of change occurs.”

“I understood law enforcement in such a way that I was able to get a law enforcement officer, a veteran, to actually come clean and admit fault, even though he was facing prison time,” Wright said. “The years of dealing with those issues allowed me to take that experience and individually turn an officer around. I think I could do the same thing with the NYPD.”

Wright also said that while he’s been told to run for mayor many times by friends, he finally decided to run after 2020’s spate of racial killings by police, saying that when he saw the video of George Floyd’s murder, he wasn’t surprised by the outcome.

“When I saw [the video], I was angered by it. But I was not shocked. And I was not surprised by it. Specifically, because I understood the undercurrent and the reasons why that happened,” he said. “Just a look at the face of the officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck is indicative of the cause behind what he was doing. His face showed no concern. There was absolutely no iota of [comprehension of] what he was doing…But there’s a bigger picture: the true blame. The blame in totality should be put on the system.”

If Wright wins his campaign, he would become the second Black mayor of New York. In fact, his announcement comes days after the first Black mayor of New York, David Dinkins, died at the age of 93.


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