March 2021: I am incredibly excited to announce that I have been recognized as a Book Excellence Award Finalist for my book, Justice, in the Performing Arts Category.
Out of hundreds of books that were entered into the Book Excellence Awards competition, my book was selected for its high quality writing, design and overall market appeal.
The premise for the Justice Trilogy came to me with a little help from a dear family friend back in the late 90s and struck a chord with me that I ultimately chose to turn into a reality. What would the guys who wrote the stuff think if they could witness contemporary legal proceedings and would they agree, and does it matter? I say it does and it is through a thought-provoking lens, requiring us to really think about the prevailing factors that shaped our democracy. I started researching our founding fathers, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in 2001 and have remained fascinated by the premise ever since.
I originally wrote Justice in screenplay format but after working with some script consultants in LA, agreed that the dialogue could be powerfully enacted on the stage and shifted my focus to trying to get Justice produced as a stage play. As discussed in the Foreword section of Justice, I came close to getting the original version of Justice premiered at a theater in Sacramento, CA for the 2006 season after weathering years of rejection, which as a writer, you get accustomed to with time. My optimistic interpretation has always been that every “no” just brought me closer to a “yes,” which is all it takes, one “yes.”
As further discussed in the Foreword of Justice, after the brazen arrests of over two hundred protesters at the January 20, 2017, Trump inauguration, I was compelled to do a major rewrite of the script. After many more years of rejection and a refusal to give up, I had received the green light from a local theater in RI to open up their new play series at their newly renovated and expanded theater in November 2020, but then the Covid pandemic emerged. Not to be deterred, I chose to make the best of the situation and have spent the last eight months turning Justice into an eBook and hard cover/paperback book, as reading is one of the tried and true past times that we still have available to us in these times of quarantine and lock downs.
I have now spent almost twenty years trying to get my work recognized and produced and I am proud of my work. I have persevered and believe strongly that I have a message to share with the people of our country regarding what is at the foundation of our democracy and the magnitude of effort that was required, allowing us to remain the oldest enduring republic in world history. Our founder’s legacy has been under renewed scrutiny as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement, which is understandable and justified. As stated in the description on the back cover of Justice, “Our founders were imperfect, aspirational idealists and they were patriots, with a vision of self-governance, the likes which had never been instituted at the scale they envisioned to incorporate and preside over. They penned and ratified our Constitution and Bill of Rights that continue to steer the course of our democracy in the year of 2020 and continue to represent ideologies of unity and inherent freedoms, framing our current, ongoing dialogue of equality and justice for all Americans.” I include their viewpoints on slavery at the time of the push for ratification of our Constitution/Bill of Rights and their efforts to include a phasing out of the slave trade in Justice.
Our founder’s accomplishments and their decisions regarding the eventual phasing out of slavery need to be viewed upon and judged contextually, as they occurred back in the late 1790’s versus through a contemporary 21st century lens. If I could rewrite history, I would, but no writer can. What I could do, was clearly elaborate a passionate, deliberative, contemporary sentencing by Judge Grace Porter, where she condemns every form of systemic racism, religious intolerance and terrorism, ending with a resounding cry for patriotism and a reminder of the great freedoms we all appreciate as a result of the efforts of our framers.
I never considered myself anything close to an activist and remained relatively uninvolved in politics until the 2016 election. The ongoing barrage of events that unfolded in 2017 struck me to the core and Justice refused to let me rest until I once again opened my dusty boxes of research and reignited my passion for our founders to address the travesties that continued to dominate the headlines on a daily basis.
Our democracy has been hanging by a thread for the last four years and if not for the three, separate but equal branches of the federal government that our founders devised as central components in our democratic form of government, it could be argued that our democracy would have been shattered and cast aside for an autocratic dictatorship. While the executive branch made unprecedented and unfettered daily assaults on the historic norms of governance, once held as Constitutionally mandated, the Republican enablers in the Senate cast a blind eye, solely to appease their base of voters. Despite a woefully misguided Department of Justice, the judiciary branch, through our courts, has stayed the course and our democracy remains intact in 2021.
The horrific events of January 6, 2021, will go down in infamy, as the world watched our Capitol overtaken by a mob of untethered right-wing insurrectionists. To quote Judge Porter on page 165 in her sentencing of white supremacist, Noah Lester, ” Throughout these decades there have always been fringe groups like yours rearing their ugly heads but democracy wins, equality and love for our brother man, wins!” When I decided to make my play into a book last spring/summer, there was clearly, no way I could have anticipated the horror and escalation of events that would unfold, threatening our democracy to the very core! The message of Justice is now more timely than ever and is a scathing rebuke of white supremacy, fascism and every other hate-filled group representing white nationalism!
When I awoke the next morning, on January 7th, to watch the continued coverage and the eerie silence of an empty, vandalized and bloodied Capitol building, I took great solace in the fact that our Congress, emboldened to carry out their Constitutional duties, returned to the floor that evening and certified the election results, ushering in a new administration that will sort out the pieces of our tattered but resilient democracy. I had a “Star Spangled Banner moment,” and I shed a tear of pride, as I saw our flag, flying in defiance and victory, same as it ever was!
I am passionate about the message Justice will send to this country, at a time when it seems that a poignant and sometimes humorous portrayal of our founding political masterminds, could encourage a renaissance of what is at the roots and foundation of the United States and our democracy at a time when this message might truly resonate within the people of our country. It is time that this country finds a reason to come together and unite in thought and spirit and take pride in our nation’s greatness versus focusing on the differences that divide and tear us apart!
The sequel to Justice is also finished and I look forward to sharing Liberty, with readers in the coming weeks! Stay tuned as Judge Grace Porter gets ready to tackle her next case with the help of our founding fathers!