05/20/2011 02:53 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Story of Forgiveness and Redemption

Most StoryCorps interviews are intimate conversations between family and friends. Recently, though, we had a chance to record two people who could have easily remained enemies. It is an extraordinary story of forgiveness and redemption.

As a teenager, Oshea Israel shot and killed Laramiun Byrd, Mary Johnson's only child. Israel was sentenced to 25 years in prison for second-degree murder. Twelve years after his sentencing, Johnson asked to meet her son's killer. It was a transforming experience for both Israel and Johnson. Today, Johnson treats Israel as she would her own son. She calls him her "spiritual son." And Israel is headed to college this summer.

Their story reminds us of our shared humanity, of the liberating power of forgiveness, and that every life really does matter.