LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A respected community activist in Louisville has been granted a full pardon by former Gov. Matt Bevin thanks to the proactive support of Sen. Rand Paul’s office.

Christopher 2X is a calm voice of compassion and reason who stands up for those in Louisville who are hurting and trapped by the strongholds of violence. He leads the group called Game Changers, which focuses on using the life-saving tool of education to provide guidance to kids in metro Louisville.

Before becoming an advocate of compassion and success, Christopher 2X had his own criminal past. In 1990, he was convicted of possessing cocaine, and in 1997, he was found guilty of theft after the person he loaned a rented car to never returned it.

After decades of helping others get a fresh start, Christopher 2X is getting his own second chance. He was granted an unconditional pardon for both felonies by former Bevin on Dec. 4. But it’s not something Christopher 2X asked for or even wanted at first. It started with a phone call from one of his good friends Rob Givens, the retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general who is now the state director for Paul.

Givens and 2X first met in 2017 at a Pegasus Institute luncheon. They were both guest speakers and spoke about the impacts of violence in Louisville. They instantly connected and have continued to support anti-violence efforts together.

“He’s done a lot to try and solve those problems,” Givens said about 2X. “So this pardon is a great opportunity to work with and for those who make a difference.”

Pardons are an end-of-the-year tradition. And hearing all the talk, Givens said it dawned on him that 2X could benefit from a pardon. He reached out to 2X a couple weeks ago, and 2X said he wasn’t sure about it.

“The past is the past,” 2X said to WDRB News. “You move on and keep working hard to do good deeds. No need to look back.”

But after talking with his family, 2X called Givens and said he’d like to pursue a pardon and see what happens. 2X filled out the paperwork and Paul’s office reached out to the governor’s office with the application. Givens remembers when he got the call from Bevin’s staff.

“It was such a wonderful feeling to do something positive and have a direct impact for such a good person,” he said. “You can genuinely see his life has changed. Sen. Paul is really big on redemption and second chances for people and how important that is for us as a society. People make mistakes sometimes and should be held accountable. But you should come out of that a better person. And Chris has certainly done that.”

2X said he was surprised when he got the phone call from Bevin last week with the news. He said he was thankful that “people from different political backgrounds rallied around a person who they thought was sincere about helping kids in dire situations.”

That’s the message he’s trying to spread: If you work hard and focus on doing good, that’s the game-changer in life.

The pardon states it was a privilege to grant this pardon, because 2X has paid his debt to society “with dividends that continue to multiply and bless those with whom he interacts.” Givens said a moment that clearly summarizes 2X’s dedication was when he called to thank Paul’s office.

“He said, ‘I’m going to thank you by continuing to do the work.' I mean, wow. That says it all,” Givens said. “Chris’ pardon is something for all of us in Louisville to celebrate.”

2X thanked Paul’s office, the former governor, and all of the leaders he’s partnered with to help make a change in Louisville for this confidence in and support for him.

Paul released the following statement:

"As someone who has known Christopher 2x for many years and watched him change the lives of so many Kentuckians, I am truly honored to have helped make this pardon happen and congratulate him on this wonderful news. Christopher 2x is a great example of someone who made mistakes when he was a young man and used his second chance at life to positively impact his community, especially through reaching out to Louisville's youth, providing safe places for them, and advocating for parents to be more involved in their children's lives. I've been proud to work with him over the years on criminal justice reform and issues like Economic Freedom Zones, and look forward to continuing our efforts together."

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