Last month, Linda Biehl, the mother of a murder victim, spoke to students in sophomore and junior theology classes at Ramona Convent Secondary School in Alhambra about the impact of forgiveness.
Biehl is the mother of Amy Biehl, a Stanford student who dedicated her life to ending apartheid in South Africa. While working in South Africa in 1993, the 26-year-old white American was dragged from her car and stoned and stabbed to death by a mob of angry black militants.
Biehl told the students that she forgave her daughter’s murderers because “that’s what Amy would have wanted.” She added, “These men lived in horrible circumstances and they were a product of the hostile political environment. Amy’s death wasn’t personal. It was a political action. She would’ve wanted us to forgive in order to help South Africa heal.”
In 1998, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission pardoned the murderers. Amy’s mother not only forgave the murderers, but also gave two of them jobs at the Amy Biehl Foundation in South Africa, an organization she co-founded in order to empower black youth through education.
Student Sophia Fuentes, 17, said the talk was an eye-opening experience. Biehl was a “very strong, touching woman who changed my view on forgiveness and taught me that in order to live a contented life after something tragic happens, I must understand the perpetrators’ motives and forgive them.”