Tag Archives: Family Life Center

Hoping to stall…

Today the Governor held a press conference on the bills before the Senate to basically put women in prison.  The press conference was at 1:30.  At the same time I was going from spa to spa to ask women who were working in them if they wanted to come and defend themselves to the accusations that were being thrown around in the media.

I went to four spas total, spoke to a bunch of women.  But it is difficult to get women to come forward and say they participate in this work.  It is especially difficult to talk to them when I don’t speak their native language.  But I was able to get five of the actual workers to come to the state house, and one former worker to testify too.

When we got there, a translator was provided by The Family Life Center.  Thank God for that.

Donna Hughes had some propaganda poster of women in 8 stages of their life in prostitution.  I think it sort of worked against her argument, because the women who came to testify did not look like any of the women in the poster.  The reason is because they do not use drugs.  Also because they have not been in prison.  Prison and putting these women in the legal system does not effect these women positively, if any thing it effects them negatively.  If the woman who is doing this work wants to get out and get different job, she will be less likely to be able to if she has a criminal record.

More people testified against the bill than for, The ACLU, NOW, DARE, Family Life Center, “Chris” from my film (who gave his real name and address on the stand) and some local residents all testified against the bill.

One man who shared a building with a spa, Donna Hughes, and 2 Christian women, testified for the bill.

When we got there to testify, the Providence Journal was there and wanted to take pictures of the women from the spa who were there to testify.  I asked them not to take pictures.  I understand she was there to do a job, but I asked to have some compassion for these women.  These women were really putting themselves out on a limb to testify, and exposing their names is one thing but putting their picture out in public is another.  I don’t think that their picture was taken but we will see what happens in the paper tomorrow.  Just the thought of having their picture taken scared away 2 of the women and they didn’t testify at all.

When one of the women did testify did a great job, she testified in English and when she was done many of the people in the audience applauded.

For those who are hoping that the bill doesn’t pass, the only thing to hope for now is that it doesn’t come out of committee.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I am half Irish.  My dad says the Irish would rule the world if it wasn’t for alcohol.  The other half of me is Portuguese, but as far as I know we don’t have a holiday that everyone celebrates for being Portuguese.  (I don’t know what you would do for that, clean your house and put a statue of the Virgin Mary on the lawn for the day?)

Any way, I am working full time on the film now.  Today I met with Nick Horton from the Family Life Center.  We will be showing the film in a series he is curating for the FLC.  The series of films will be showing at AS220 and will be a collection of RI Documentary Films on Social Issues.

I am excited about this showing because we will be having a panel discussion after the film.  The other people on the panel have not been confirmed, but as soon as I know I will let you know.  The dates of the shows are May 24. 25, and 27.  Happy Endings? will be showing on Sunday, May 24th at 6:00.

Stronger than their walls…

Last night I went to a viewing of another Rhode Island documentary “Stronger than their walls, Guilty although proven Innocent.”  This documentary was produced by the Family Life Center.  (The FLC is a non profit organization whose purpose is to support the reintegration of ex-offenders into the community. )  The FLC did play a role in my film “Happy Endings?” as they testified against the prostitution law.

This film was very interesting, and sad.  Of course I am interested in social justice documentaries, but in particular the oddities of Rhode Island laws.

“Keeping the Peace.”  That is what struck me about this film.  There is one man who was sent to prison for seven years, although he was found innocent on the charge of assault, just having a charge was enough to send him to prison.  The judge said that even though he did not assault any one, as a man on parole he is mandated to “keep the peace”.  This man, who I would say is a victim of RI’s draconian laws, was just trying to get some neighborhood teens off his property.  These teens had set fires and harassed his children.  He did not push or slap the kids.  He told them to go away.  (At his violation hearing many neighbors testified on his behalf)  I think asking neighborhood bullies to leave with out violence is keeping the peace.

This film is having more local showings, and I urge everyone to see it.  After you see the film please call, email, or write your representative.  The film while bill H7495/53014 was being voted on.  As you will see in the film, the bill is passed but vetoed by the Governor.  Please urge your Senate and House Representative to over ride the Governor’s veto.