Thanksgiving really snuck up on me. I really counted my blessings and reached out to thank several people in my life that made a difference. Not implied- I explicitly thanked them. Without their love and support I wouldn't have been able to do what I do.
My sister Louise is top of my list. Speaking of lists, this month she drove me to Philadelphia to attend the movie premiere of The List a documentary that is making the film festival circuit right now.
The movie premiere was held at the Lincoln Financial Digital Education Studio at WHYY. A great venue to watch the film and followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker Anne MacGregor, Honorable Lynne Abraham the former Philadelphia District Attorney, Marci Hamilton a Constitutional Law expert and advocate to extend the statute of limitations, John Salveson from FACSA, Mary Beth an Assistant District Attorney, and the moderator.
The film itself was good and I recommend watching it once it is distributed. It takes an in-depth look at the Grand Jury investigations into the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Arthur Baselice is also in the movie talking about his son, and he was the one who told me about the event when I met him in an elevator in Harrisburg.
During the panel discussion, Louise and I both agreed that Lynne Abraham was a gem and someone we would want in our corner. She said point blank that she did what other prosecutors are too scared to do. She didn't care if she was voted out; she wanted the truth. I wish there were more prosecutors like her.
Marci Hamilton mentioned the systemic abuse and the fact that "adults protect adults and let kids go by the wayside". She also touched upon the framers of the Constitution and the fact they wrote it to frame a government to stop its abuse of power. She said, "The least powerful of society is children. Not because they don't vote, but because they don't count." So true, unfortunately. Actions speak louder than words.
Mary Beth talked about coming in during the second investigation and how much she liked the grand juror's take on the proceedings that is in the movie. It really gave a new perspective, and I liked that as well. Listening to her talk about listening to testimony day in and day out, it had to take an emotional toll on those jurors.
John Salveson talked about the "devil in the details". He was in the movie as well, and he also said, "The story has to be told. That is the only way." I admired him when he talked about how he appreciates his wife, kids, and life but the abuse is a hard thing for him to let go of. I felt a real kindredness with him in that moment and I appreciated his honesty.
Near the end of the event, questions were taken from the audience. One of the things that really jumped out to me was when Lynne mentioned, "all you need is for good men to do nothing." So true, and it reminded me of the opening of the Boondock Saints movie during the priest's sermon on the indifference of good men during an attack on Kitty.
Finally onto the elusive Senator. I had the pleasure to meet Pam in Mr. Rozzi's Harrisburg office. She helped to coordinate a few days of Legislature Lobbying Days for survivors and advocates to go around to the offices of several hold outs on the HB 1947. It was a sprint before the end of the legislature session for the year.
To keep things in perspective, the Catholic Conference and the Insurance Federation have at least 40 paid lobbyists circulating in Harrisburg. All the more reasons why our voices need to be heard for a change. I learned so much during the time I was there.
I tried a couple times to get a meeting with my Senator. It didn't work out before the session ended. I was then scheduled to meet a couple weeks after, at his convenience, near the end of the day. As a constituent, I erroneously thought he would be there. It was not to be.
It was really important to meet with him since Senator Argall and Representative Tobash ,along with some staff, were taken on a tour of a gated lakeside community. The very same one that the man that raped me lives. They passed his house on one of the main thoroughfares, where there is a school bus stop across the street.
My question: If your child gets the bus at that bus stop wouldn't you want to know that a man that raped a child lives right there?
Below is a picture of the hall leaving Senator Argall's office at the end of the day- it was a ghost town. The other picture is the 'The Universe of Possibility' mosaic that was outside the studio where The List was screened. It caught my eye and I had to take a picture to remember the beauty.