Thursday, April 28, 2011

Compelling is an Understatement

Some of my good traits:  warm, friendly, passionate, brave, empathetic, loyal, giving.

Some of my bad traits:  prideful, vain, overly sensitive, dramatic, anxious, judgmental, and preachy.

Try to forgive me for being preachy cause I'm about to talk about another incredible documentary I just saw that has to do with prison injustice.

Yoav Potash's Crime after Crime is one of those films that will make you feel like you've done something important and powerful with your day.  My students and I were lucky enough to see an advance screening today, as well as have a Q&A session afterwards with Yoav and some of the major players in the film.

Debbie Peagler flanked by her two pro bono attorneys

In a nutshell: Deborah Peagler was abused by her boyfriend, Oliver, from the time she was 15.  He was extremely violent toward her, forced her into prostitution, and sexually abused her daughter.  When she finally escaped with their daughters, he and his cronies came to her door with guns blazing (and issuing death threats).  Feeling like there was no way to escape, Deborah asked two of her friends to rough him up a bit.  Unbeknownst to her, they killed Oliver.  Deborah was charged with first degree murder and given a sentence of 25 to life.  

About 26 years into her incarceration, Deborah was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.  Her two attorneys, Joshua Safran and Nadia Costa, had been working (for free!) for years toward her release.  Watch the film to see what happens--it's a gut-wrenching, inspiring, unbelievable story that leaves you astounded, among other feelings, that the fate of people's lives lies in the hands of folks like, say, Arnold Schwarzenegger.  

This story hit a serious chord with me, as it reminded me so much of a story I heard first-hand last summer.  

Did you know that over 80% of women in prison are there for a crime directly related to their abuse?  It is astounding.  As is the lack of empathy among so many court officials.  What exactly would they do if their lives, and those of their children, were being abused and threatened daily?  

Check out this woman's story.  The filmmakers need all the support they can get so that this documentary gets into the hands of lawyers, judges, and the general public (and not just the advocates for prison reform and social justice who seek out films like this).  If you're in the Bay Area, you can catch it at the SF International Film Festival now, the website is here, it's on facebook and twitter, and the film will be out this summer (in theaters, on Netflix, at festivals, etc.).

What inspiring stories have you heard lately?


Summer Athena said...

i am all over this. it angers me soooo much but what makes me happy is knowing you and your passion for this.

Phoenix Peacock said...

Being preachy when people NEED to hear the message is not a bad trait. Nor are your other traits. They might make you feel less nice then the societal ideal female, but they make you strong. Which is why I adore you.

so preach, sister, preach!

Ashley said...

WOW! Thank you for sharing this story!

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

Wow that is incredible! So sad. I literally have cold chills right now. I honestly feel like in many cases they are just worried about blaming someone so the cops look like they've done their job :(

Diana Mieczan said...

Oh my goodness..Im so glad that you posted about this documentary. I am so going to check it out. Kisses, my dear

Ps: I’m hosting a beautiful jewelry GIVEAWAY today! Just in time for Mother’s Day!

melifaif said...

I know of one. There is this really opinionated and passionate lady I just recently "got to know." She is living in the San Fran area. She is a teacher. And she is truly amazing. And very inspirational, although I am sure she does not know to what extent. Her name is Claire.


And I mean that. Your story and what you continue to do is so very inspiring. Know this!!!

this free bird said...

this makes me SO ANGRY!!

this free bird said...

ps-b/c I can't believe she got locked up for that - just to be clear where my anger is coming from. GO CLAIRE!

AmericanBridget (Jones) said...

OMG, I love you! I love your passion and advocacy!!!! I am a court volunteer representing abused and neglected kids in court (a guardian ad litem, not an attorney). Our judicial system while is strong for the most part, definitely has its faults. I can attest to the unfairness of the system when it comes to seeking out a voice for abused victims (or not). I have my next hearing on Wednesday for the little girl I represent and by golly, I will think of this post. Oh how I wish sometimes I lived in SF again just so we could hang and be friends!!!!!

AmericanBridget (Jones) said...

I am just going to go ahead apologize in advance for my horrid usage of grammar (or lack thereof) in my previous comment. I am always multi-tasking and do a shitty job of typing and writing sometimes.

Micaela said...

i already can't wait to see this!!! (me and netflix have a serious relationship)

ugh, this just breaks my heart. Amazing you got to share this amazing story with your students first hand.

it's a beautiful thing what you do-- you're a beautiful person, "bad traits" and all my friend.