ALERT: Community Response Required NOW

Last week, we finished our interviews and filming for our documentary about High Point, NC.  While we were there, a woman (and mother) was murdered by her abuser. This was the first instance of a Domestic Violence homicide in High Point where the offender had been notified, and was on the watch list.

We always knew it would happen one day. Domestic Violence is with us like a disease. There is no “cure.”  But there are steps we can take to inoculate the public against widespread serious injury and homicide.  This is what they’ve done in High Point.  This philosophy and approach is the thesis and social commentary that drives our film. Considering this is the FIRST homicide among known offenders in 5 years, the results have been impressive.  Even life-changing.

But, #EVERYDVVICTIMMATTERS.  In High Point, they recognize domestic violence is a public safety issue.  Domestic Violence (a.k.a. Intimate Partner Violence) crosses race, income, gender, geography – every known variable you can track.

The system is not perfect in High Point, but it’s the best there is that I’ve seen after nearly three years of working full-time on this horrific, devastating social epidemic.

This morning, I saw an alert that went out to the entire community:

ALERT:

“I was just asked by HPPD to rally all concerned HPCAV Associates and others who are concerned about our violence in HP to come to ElmTowers at 2pm today (7/21/17) for a Domestic Homicide Response to share with residents and our community that such violence is wrong and cannot be tolerated

…  We are saddened by such loss of life..  It is VITAL that we gather to show our care, our love, our concern and our outrage against such violence.”

– Jim Summey, High Point Community Against Violence

It takes a village to address domestic violence. Imagine if the community rallied in your town every time a woman was murdered?  I don’t mean with vigils, galas, and 5Ks.  I mean with outrage and a call for action to end the violence.  And a plan to make that happen.

Here in Central Florida, a woman (another mother) was murdered by her abuser, and it was just a blip on the nightly news.  When a cop identified the perpetrator weeks later and tried to bring him in, he shot and killed her too.

Only then, the town turned upside down in a nationally televised manhunt.

What kind of message does that send?  When will every community issue a mandate for zero tolerance for domestic violence?  I can only hope it comes sooner, rather than later. It’s unconscionable to think it may never come.

Update: 75 people showed up for this meeting. 

“She Thinks Who She Is”

film

I had the pleasure of attending a free session associated with the Florida Film Festival 2017 #FFF2017 taking place this week in Orlando.

Titled, “Indie Women: Grab’em by the Movies,” the panel included Jennifer Brea (Unrest), Dorie Barton (Girl Flu.), Julie Sokolow (Woman on Fire), and Valerie Weiss (The Archer). It was moderated by Anne Russell, Program Director—Film Production MFA from Full Sail University.

It was terrific listening to these filmmakers.  It occurred to me that they all shared one common characteristic regardless of their experience or genre: confidence.*  They all shared the will to pursue creating a film they cared about, regardless of the professional cost.  I’m sure you could say the same for male directors, but after listening to the alarming stats– 5% of Hollywood film directors are female; only 20% of Indie film directors are female– you can see how it’s more laudable that these women pursued their art and are achieving recognition in a heavily male-dominated field.

One quote particularly spoke to me from Jennifer Brea:

Over the past two years, my two male partners and I have had some rocky ups and downs while bringing our film High Point 10-79 to life.  But, in the end, we consistently focused on what we were out to achieve.  When we show people the film preview, we always get the response we were after.  I know that feeling of satisfaction she is talking about in this remark.

There is no other medium like film to stir one’s soul in ways that need to be stirred.  I’m really looking forward to finishing our film.  It will be a powerful piece of storytelling that stands to ignite a movement. Stay tuned.

*This phrase was always meant to be a catty put-down when I was in high school. But, I always liked it.  I’ve always found if a girl has a lot of confidence, that’s about all she needs. 

I Wrote a Song for My Startup

Okay, maybe not exactly original.  Readers of this blog may not have been alive when this song was recorded or popular, so maybe I can get away with it.

My last post was a poetic, meandering bit of self-reflection about how selfish it was for me to pursue a line of work that could negatively impact the people I love the most.

Well, sorry kids.  I can’t do it.  I’m addicted to this work.

Every day, there’s another death. There’s another reason to keep going.  I realize I’m starting over, reinventing myself at the bottom of a low-paying field, yet all arguments to give up fall away in the face of the opportunity to make a real dent in this particular universe. So, I’m continuing.  I took a pause, but that was about it.  I grabbed those bootstraps and yanked harder.

Good news is coming.  I promise.  Stay tuned.

News flash: it’s not about the money.

(But, you know, we do need that to survive… so, I encourage your support.)