Manning vows not to ‘relive past’ in first statement since release
Chelsea Manning has issued her first statement since being released from prison Wednesday. The 35-year-old whistleblower served seven years of a 35-year term before former US President Barack Obama commuted her sentence.
“I appreciate the wonderful support that I have received from so many people across the world over these past years,” Manning said to ABC in an exclusive statement, adding that she would remind herself not to “relive the past.”
“The past will always affect me and I will keep that in mind while remembering that how it played out is only my starting point, not my final destination.”
Manning left Fort Leavenworth military prison at 2am on Wednesday morning. Following her release she tweeted a link to a newly created Instagram account xychelsea87.
An image shared on both the Twitter and Instagram account showed a pair of Converse shoes with the accompanying text “First steps of freedom!!” and the hashtag #ChelseaIsFree.
Prior to her release Manning released a statement through the American Civil Liberties Union, in which she said she could “see a future for myself as Chelsea.” When convicted in 2013 Manning went by the first name Bradley, before later coming out as transgender and identifying as Chelsea.
"I watched the world change from inside prison walls and through the letters that I have received from veterans, trans young people, parents, politicians, and artists," Manning said. "My spirits were lifted in dark times, reading of their support, sharing in their triumphs, and helping them through challenges of their own."