Thursday, December 11, 2014

Forced Sterilization: Stripped of Nurture.

Note: I meant to post this two years ago, so some of the information about the bills passed may be out-of-date. 

Until this last month, I didn’t know that America once had Eugenics Laws to forcibly sterilize people. By “people,” I’m referring to an estimated 650,000 Americans, 7600 of them from North Carolina. 71 percent of those sterilized in NC were operated on after World War Two, when the other 32 states with Eugenics laws had toned down their racist genetic-theory enthusiasm. Between 1929 and 1974, if you lived in North Carolina and you were deaf, blind, diagnosed with a mental disorder, had special needs, poor, a minority, a mother out of wedlock, or any combination of the above, it was up to the mercy of a judge and your doctor whether or not you should be forcibly sterilized.

1929- Two years after the Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, when forced sterilization for the mentally ill or feeble-minded was ruled constitutionally OK, North Carolina passed their “Act to Provide for the Sterilization of Mentally Defective and Feeble-Minded Inmates of Charitable and Penal Institutions of the State of North Carolina.” This meant that they were also fans of forced sterilization if it meant eliminating inferior genetics for “the public good.” Those likely to be sterilized were “insane” or “feeble-minded” people who came from “unfit” parents. Or, as Supreme Court Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes stated in Bell. v. Buck, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” By the way, Buck v. Bell still isn’t overturned.

            The Eugenics Board of North Carolina was originally founded, like Eugenics boards in other states, to supervise the sterilization of inmates or the institutionalized. But the EBNC also wanted to lower the state’s public assistance costs by allowing counties’ welfare departments and state social workers to seek sterilization for their uneducated or unemployed clients who were likely to have more children.

The number of sterilization operations performed on free civilians became greater than those performed on the incarcerated and institutionalized. Then Birthright, later called The Human Betterment League, started its biggest chapter in North Carolina. They claimed to study the nature of Eugenics through funding the sterilization of those the League called “Morons.” Their program lasted for thirty years, mainly to targeted poor black women. Their program lasted for thirty years. 

            From 1950 to 1960, North Carolina sterilized more people than they had in any other decade, and Mecklenburg County sterilized three times people than any other county. Wallace Kuralt, nationally known for his advocacy of eugenics, was head of Mecklenburg County’s Welfare Department. His department pushed to sterilize, “low mentality-low income families which tend to produce the largest number of children." Thousands of women were sterilized for being “promiscuous,” including women who had been raped. IQ tests were used to determine if a patient was “capable” of having children.

            99 percent of those sterilized in North Carolina were women, and 60 percent were black. Voluntary sterilization were legalized and offered as a form of birth control to unwed or underage mothers, especially those on welfare. Though some women were recorded as voluntarily undergoing the procedure, many patients were uninformed about the procedure, or told that it was reversible.

Even though North Carolina performed America’s last sterilization in 1974,  Eugenics laws remained legitimate until 2003, when they were finally repealed. In June, the North Carolina drafted the United States’ first bill that proposes compensation for the victims of forced sterilization. 72 victims are verified but around two thousand are estimated to be still alive. The bill passed through North Carolina’s House of Representatives, but didn’t pass through the State Senate. Each victim would’ve received fifty grand, but, as NC Senator Austin Allran said, “The state has no money anyway.” Back in the 60s and 70s, when the state was looking for ways to cut down on welfare costs, they thought that they couldn’t afford to let “unworthy” people have kids. Now, it kind of seems like the state can’t even afford to say that it’s sorry.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Explained

Head-Note (Instead of Foot): I posted a different version yesterday about what I'm going to say today. Yesterday, I posted, frankly, the hardest thing I've ever wanted to write. I explained, through diagrams, historical facts, and Six Feet Under, how having complex PTSD effects my daily life.  I was proud of the post, and I published it so that people could see it and a discussion might begin about domestic violence.

However, I had a panic attack after the post had been up for an hour... My sick-brain logic was: Oh my god, this is just going to make my friends upset with me. Why did I think that? Because, as a recent survivor of domestic violence, I don't have a ton of confidence right now. 

I deleted it. Because I thought people might think negatively of me for having PTSD and talking about it. 

To my Future Self: Do Not Delete This Version. My story can't, and should not be, untold.

This is My Normal Brain 2 Years Ago:

"Normal" meaning everything functions as it should function. My cortex processed sight, and sent what it observed to my Hippocampus, where memory is stored. In return, if my senses interacted with outside stimuli that triggered a memory (such as a familiar smell or tune), my hippocampus would often send images that it had stored to my Cortex so that I could "see" (with my "mind's eye") past experiences. My Amygdala functioned as "normally" as any other amygdala; it was mostly steady with a few occasional freak-outs. Overall, my brain was "healthy," and it patiently sat waiting for its frontal lobe to develop within 5 years.

But its functioning is no longer smooth-sailing. For the last two years, I was in an extremely violent abusive relationship. 

I was a victim of childhood abuse, so the violence inflicted on me from my partner seemed normal.I thought that he was only doing was he had to in order to "punish" me, that I somehow deserved to live in constant fear (though I thought of it as "respect") of him. 

On March 13, 2013, my partner tried to kill me. I almost died on my birthday. 

Even then, I didn't wake up to what was really going on until I began to practice Buddhism. Through studying mindfulness and practicing meditation, my false reality fell apart. Then, a few days into my spiritual studies, my partner locked me in the bathroom (which he often did as a form of "punishment"). I was fighting off a panic attack through meditative peace, and OUT OF NOWHERE (I thought...) my thoughts began to SCREAM:

"Oh my god, he tried to KILL me. Oh my god, I almost DIED. What am I doing here? I'm being ABUSED, this isn't my FAULT, and this is NOT OK. It's NOT NORMAL."


And then: "I have to get out of here, or else I'm going to die."

The next day, I packed up my stuff before heading out to school. I never came back. 

After two years of traumatic experience after traumatic experience, ending with a murder attempt, things, of course, have not become "suddenly easier." This is not because I "don't want to" or "simply can't" "GET OVER IT." It is because, right now, I'm neurologically unable to.

This is My Brain on PTSD: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Not everyone who lives through a traumatic experience suffers from PTSD. 

Not everyone with PTSD are survivors of a murder attempt. 

We don't yet know WHY some soldiers come home from war and are all like, "This is cool, I'm a hero, let's move on and have some babies now." While other soldiers who come home and still suffer the traumatic repercussions of witnessing death, destruction, and living in constant fear of explosives. If left untreated, PTSD can negatively affect a trauma treatment throughout their life. This is because your brain doesn't let go of the fear that you experienced, and is constantly on guard to prevent another traumatic event from happening to you again. Your brain is physically unable to feel calm or safe for any lengthy amount of time, and, at least in the beginning for me, might even be UNABLE to feel calm or safe at all.

What's Going on in My Head? This is How I Think of it:


Yes, why?



In real life, I don't actually FEEL or SEE anything violent or dangerous directed at me.


Oh fuck, I feel the cold floor on my back even though the body is currently standing up, and still.
Oh shit, I even FEEL my partner's hands around my neck. 





Nope. Wait, he's not. 




I never want what I experienced, and what's going on in my funky-freaked-out brain right now to happen to anyone else. We need to start talking, as a community, about the reality of domestic violence. We also need to start talking about PTSD, and how it is not, so to speak, "All in one's head." 

But here's another thing to think about:

Every day, I get to wake up.  
And somedays, it's hard to get out of bed without fearing loud noises, without flinching when my feet touch the floor (if I get that far), without having a panic attack when I'm fully conscious. 

But I get to wake up. And sometimes victims of domestic violence don't GET to become survivors. 
And I don't believe in fate or luck or God's plan. So I don't know why I am allowed to go on living while other women were not given that same chance. 

It's hard for me to go outside without getting afraid, but I do. When I can. It's hard for me to be in large crowds without having one long panic attack, but since I've moved back to Minnesota, I've been to concerts, plays, and other massive events. And I was afraid, and I thought I was dying at times, but I still have to keep trying. It's hard to tell my old friends what has happened to me; some thought that I was just avoiding them or that I didn't care about them anymore. I've even lost my best friend because she refused to believe that my partner could be violent. She believes that one is even ABLE to lie about what's going on in my head, and I can do nothing other than walk away from her and allow her to be wrong.

I don't need to be ashamed that people like her don't get it. I don't need to have those people in my life, not ever again. And even though I've had trouble getting help, I still keep trying. I've still found programs, such as the DAP (the Domestic Abuse Project) that have been more than sympathetic to what I'm dealing with. I've rediscovered friendships that have been there all along, waiting to help me. 

Because every day, all day, all of us are getting a little better. 
I'm not done trusting myself. I'm far from hating myself. I believe that I had a right to survive and that now, I have every right to enjoy living. It's easy to know this, easy to tell myself that everything is going to be OK, but, of course, there are days that I feel dead. When I'm unable to get out of bed, or go out, or even dress. But those days are getting fewer and far between. The voices in my head that warned me, every minute, that I'm going to die have done some major shutting up. They're annoying now, I know that my wiring has flipped, and it'll take a while for my brain to get things right.

But it well. 

Because every day, all day, all of us will get a little better. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Newtown Shooting: What I've Changed My Mind About

I posted this right around the time that the rest of you were saying: THIS IS WHY GUN CONTROL C'MON. (in so many words.)

              So, my real thought, my honest intention, was to get my friends to knock off the "I told you so" statuses. Then I get these replies from someone who I not only think is a tip-top human being, he's also really intelligent and knows what he's talking about. Still, I fought back with him because I couldn't believe that liberals were turning the deaths of children into an agenda.

There's a book called What Have You Changed Your Mind About?: Today's Leading Minds Rethink Everything. It's edited by Brian Eno, and the above commenter, whose profile picture is covered by a cat, might really enjoy reading this series of essays. went around and asked some of the most progressive members of the scientific and technological communities to write a few pages about what alterations in technology and science's place in politics they felt strongly about in one way about but then, through research, through discussion, or, sometimes, through revelation, they changed their mind.

(Examples include: I thought Wikipedia was bullshit when I first heard about its launch, and now I see that it's a valuable source of information because they found a public system of information sharing that words for them)

Or, my favorite: this pissed me off until I read the essay twice: 
 This essay, "More Nobels for More Dumbbells," was written by a (female) scientist who originally thought that more men had Nobel Prizes than women because of unshakeable sexism, but then found a study that provided unsettling information: There are more highly intelligent men than women, but there are more extremely intelligent women than extremely intelligent men. (Extreme, in this case, is greater that "high.") On the flip side, there are more men in the low intelligence level category than there are women, BUT there are more super-dumb women than there are super-dumb men. If I'd drawn the chart better, you'd see that women's IQs are more likely to be extreme in one direction or another, but most men are in the average range. This made the writer, the female scientist, think that she should never label her goal to get a Nobel Prize as a road lousy with sexism; it was a challenge to step up her game and show that she was a good extreme. 

The POINT of this entry: Eno's introduction basically stated the thesis of the book; if one CAN feel strongly about something, but is then willing to listen to other opinions and rethink the details, and this leads to the realization that one CAN change their mind (and does. Change their mind) that shows a level of humanity that is essential for everyone to have in order for our world to move forward with open minds.

Everyone thinks that they're always right; if they thought they were wrong, they'd change their opinion.

I thought I was right, morally, to say Stop It With the Gun Control thing. I've changed my opinion. What's morally right is to honor the kids' deaths by making sure that nothing even close to this ever happens again.

28 people died, including 20 kids, died on Friday doesn't mean I was right.

Over 20 people "liked" my status, and I feel like I can say that I know what they were thinking; "This is a tragedy, this isn't the time." I agree, by the way, with banning assault rifles (for a start) and cracking down on how guns are sold and who sells them. But I thought I was being moderate because even though I personally wish that no one owned guns (light sabers should be where it's at, plus no long-range sneak-attacks), I think that people should have the right to make their own decision about owning guns. And I thought that my liberal friends were doing the, "I told you so thing."

But the friend that I drew as a cat in the first picture, let's call him Don, initially really bothered me by his responses. I knew it wasn't that he was ruining my streak of everyone agreeing with me, but that I knew that my comment was hyperbolic, off-topic, and crude while Don kept insisting (logically) that I wasn't looking at the whole picture; the way to honor the kids and teachers who were killed by Adam Lanzar isn't to give this event a moment of silence. Yes, respect. Yes, sympathy. But every time something like this happens, the NRA promotes the notion that we need moments of silence so that they can push the issue under the table. throughout history, whenever a group of people have been injured, killed, or wronged, and the victims or the family and supporters of the victims step up and call for change, they've had the ability to effect inadequate policies.

So, I was wrong. Conversations about gun control are appropriate after this tragedy. It's necessary to start now, or we'll have to wait until the next group of victims to die by mass shooting to start the conversation again. And with children, ages 5-10, dead because a 20 year old had access to assault rifles that his mom bought to prepare for the downturn in the economy and then brought Lanza, who was so depressed that he had to drop out of school and needed psychiatric help, to the gun range to teach him out to shoot, Kant would refer to it as our "duty" to advocate, not only  discussions, but serious changes in gun control laws.

I mean, remember this guy:

I couldn't stop thinking about "The Batman" shooter and how easy it was for him to walk into a movie theater and kill so many people.

In Florida, you can carry guns around all the time, as long as they're concealed. In Michigan, you can conceal guns on a school campus "for the kids' safety."

So, my question is, what do we do now?

No selling guns at gun shows, where the buyer doesn't need a background check?
No assault rifles of any kind?
The only people who can have guns have to go through 2 years of training, like one does when they get a license to drive?

Sure. Why not. Let's begin now so that it doesn't happen ever again.

Meanwhile, we have Rick Perry saying that it's his state's right to carry around firearms because they're AMERICAN AND THE FOUNDING FATHERS MADE THE 2ND AMMENDMENT FOR IT RAHH!!!

But our founding fathers probably never imagined AKs. They were referring to the right to own muskets in order to form a citizens militia, where every American could fight off the British or whoever was trying to invade their towns and take it away from them. Let's face it; no one is going to take America away from Americas. No other country wants us anymore.

These discussions should've happened before the Northtown kids were killed. Before the people in the movie theater over the summer, before Columbine.

My mom said something really cool last night. I was saying that Lincoln changed his mind during office (which he did) about slavery and his moral opinion about the issue.

Mom said, "Yeah, that wasn't his original agenda, but the need to address the issue arose and he took the opportunity to change the law. Obama probably didn't intend to make gun control apart of his second term in office, even if he agreed that gun control laws needed to be much stricter...but now, this situation calls for him to enact change. And it's going to be hard for anyone to disagree when it involves the death of children."

In summary:

*I'm really upset that little kids were killed. It was brutal, it's horrifying, and I couldn't have imagined something like this happening twenty-four hours before it occured.
*Saying, "Let's be respectful and not talk about it" isn't really giving the victims or their families the respect they deserve.
*Now is the time to seriously change our country's gun laws to honor, not only the Newtown victims, but all victims of mass shootings. It's time to make sure that people who are psychologically unable to handle the power of a gun, or who are just disturbed or sick (I honestly never know, even if a report is issued about so-and-so's history of mental illness, how much respect or sympathy they deserve. Being one of those people who's diagnosed with a "crazy no-no" disorder, I still don't see myself being so disassociated that I would ever want to pick up a weapon and hurt someone.)

So I've changed my mind. Any ideas about what to do now?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

An Incredibly Influential TV Show; How a Positive Show Can Negatively Impact Society

    When I first began to consider what TV show has had one of the biggest impacts on American society, I began by thinking of the question in positive terms. For instance, All in the Family and Roseanne challenged America’s perspectives on home life, social issues, and our own judgmental qualities. But I realized that a show’s influence doesn’t just pertain to how it enlightened its viewers; shows can be negatively influential in how they define what “normal” home lives really are. Leave it to Beaver ran from 1957-1963. Throughout its six seasons, the show rarely addresses the political or social issues of the time. Leave it to Beaver portrayed what was deemed as the iconic symbol of the ideal family, thus warping perceptions of the perfect family dynamic.

In Leave it to Beaver, the writers wanted to set up a “traditional family unit” with a housewife mother, a father who works at an office job, and two sons who share a room, despite the open guest room down the hall. The Cleaver family was identical to every other family on the show; all characters were white, middle-class, had a house and a front yard, and only the father needed to have a job. June and Ward Cleaver never had any marital issues; the conflicts in the show usually pertained to either Wally or Beaver getting into trouble, being caught, and having a serious yet understanding talk with Mr. Cleaver about morality. The show had a Consequentialist aspect to it; good actions were rewarded, bad actions were punished.

Although many Americans still say that Leave it to Beaver represents their life, the show chose to ignore many of the important social issues that occurred during its run. Sputnik launched into space on the same day as the Pilot, the civil rights movement was growing, and even though Wally is, in the later seasons, seventeen and eighteen, there is no discussion of the States’ growing involvement in Vietnam. All conflicts begin and end in their town, Mayfield, and all troubles are resolved within a half hour. The family’s main problems concern events that are simple to sort out; Beaver catches a game-winning football and his ego inflates, or Wally has to take his girlfriend to an overly-expensive restaurant. The topic of Communism is only brought up once, and only one African American actor was ever given a speaking role, that role being as a maid.
    Today, many shows mock the set-up of Leave it to Beaver, such as Mad Men and Desperate Housewives. Both shows play with the idea that, although families may look as perfect as the Cleavers, behind closed doors, husbands and wives sometimes cheat, sometimes divorce, and sometimes don’t punish or reward their children appropriately. Leave it to Beaver also reinforced an unrealistic standard of American living; that one’s family can be perfect if all of society’s moral rules and obligations are met, and that the power of family-strength is universally achievable.

This scholarship is sponsored by

Saturday, January 7, 2012

How I Got Schooled (An Apology)

Last week, I wrote a pretty intense and hateful blog about Dr. Pepper's new ad campaign. I have deleted it so that future employers don't think I'm psycho, but I paraphrased it below:

This ad features a guy running through a jungle or something while shooting things and implying that women don't like movies like this. The ad pushes Dr. Pepper 10 and ends with the catchphrase, "It's not for women."

Being home for the holidays, I literally had nothing better to do than get all riled up about an ad that played over and over again on Hulu. I could have been building my vocabulary and feeding people on (org?) but instead I got all Single White Bitch over an e-mail with Dr. Pepper's Customer Relations about how offensive I found the ad to be.

The following response floored me with its calm, collected explanations and also schooled me about what it means to be a feminist:

Dear ______

We regret that you were unhappy with the advertisement.

I would like to start off by saying that I am a woman who loves and enjoys the full flavor of Dr Pepper TEN. Therefore, no one is going to tell me what I can eat or drink. When I first saw the tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign and the tagline, my reaction was, “I’ll be the judge of that.”

I'd like to go into more detail about our Dr Pepper TEN if you don't mind. When it comes to Dr Pepper TEN , we marketed to male consumers 25-34 who enjoy the taste of a regular carbonated soft drink & feel like diet carbonated soft drinks require them to compromise on taste & image. However, they are at a point in their lives where they want to make new choices about the food & beverages they consume on a daily basis for a healthier, happier lifestyle.

hope you, too, will come to see our advertising campaign for what it is, a humorous take on the many men who are worried about their waistlines but feel they are too “manly” to drink a diet soda.


Consumer Relations

Isn't that badass??? I'm still not happy with how women are often portrayed in ads, such as for do-it-yourself meals and cologne. But I forget that feminism isn't about letting someone else categorize you. Feminism is all about choice.

I can choose to be offended by ads that are only there so that a small amount of people will buy their product, or I can recognize that all ads are sick stepping stones of capitalist propaganda. Or I can just turn the volume off and go back to my other first world problems until my show is off break.

I commend the woman who wrote to me from CR. Not that I'll be drinking soda anytime soon anyway, but she still SHOWED ME hardcore.

Raise a glass of fizzy brown liquid (I'm not endorsing anything here) to every man or woman who has shown "feminists" what's really what!

Monday, October 10, 2011


This past weekend, I got into a van full of eleven boys and headed off to Vermont to meet my friend Max’s parents. The eleven boys consisted of a group of 23 year olds who had all graduated from Pratt, boys who had adopted me during my freshman year and showed me the real city while other freshmen were sitting uncomfortably in orientation group after orientation meeting, smiling desperately in an attempt to make friends.

I read “Burning Down the House” and “Franny” while on the trip, the boys occasionally teasing me for still being only a junior in college, only twenty.

In “Burning Down the House,” Charles Baxter mentions a Winesburg, Ohio story about a woman named Alice who, after years of waiting for a man to come back from Chicago and marry her, realizes that she’s been praying to a guy who will never return. In the end, realizing that the man was lying to her, she runs naked through her backyard. They didn’t have Facebook or Skype back in those days, so I, unlike Alice, still had contact with my ex when he was away. Seeing him the way that he really is, without any pent-up emotion or lingering sense of social conflict, was my way of running naked.

It feels like I’ve woken up from a dream, but one that suddenly puts everything into place about the conscious life. In “Franny,” a college girl meets up with her boyfriend after having become disenchanted with the high-minded liberal educated. While her mindset is adjusting, he blabbers on about a paper that he thought would “go over like a lead balloon” but really is, to him, worth publishing. Meanwhile, she’s fascinated with a book about a pilgrim who searches for the answer to the most complicated question of mankind, but the journey itself is so simplified, beautifully. Franny, in the end, refuses to play the part that’s been assigned to her by her highly educated brain family, her liberal arts college, and society, her boyfriend included.

Like going to a funeral for someone you barely know and having to blend into “the crowd,” I had to play a part around the rest of the guys. They wanted me to be cute, the way I was when they first found me walking around campus alone. They wanted me to smoke them up, laugh in that adorable new-girl giggle, and stay positive. So much has happened to me during the past year, and only Max and Steve have been around to watch my development into a young woman. The rest of the guys see me every few months. We assemble for the Fourth of July, moving-in parties, and weekend road trips. This trip, instead of keeping my cool, I finished off half a bottle of rum with a friend of Max’s, not feeling a thing.

My role has changed in the group, as one’s role often changes in stories of de-familiarization. It’s to the point where I had to pretend that what was going on around me was some sort of stupid teenage-fan-based tv drama. I’m not “Steve’s lil Buddy” or “that guy's girlfriend.” I’m the only girl in the group, and even though the guy and I aren’t together anymore, I’m not going away. I wasn’t initiated with or by him.

We see monsters as sympathetic because we, at some point, see their weaknesses. I oddly equate this to seeing villains for their flaws and strengths in Disney movies. Scar just feels entitled to the thrown, but is scrawny and weird. Ursula just wants to be attractive, the ugly guy in Notre Dame is consumed by lust for a gypsy, Garcon has a small-penis complex. In turn, we also see people that we once held in very high, heroic regard as being rude or openly insensitive. This is because we are all human. Though we play roles in certain settings, such as not appearing like the clever stoner in front of my mom or mentioning all the sex I have at school, or being calm and easy-going when you want to throw your ex-boyfriend off of a mountain, these roles are not always problematic. As humans, we have to go as far as to defamiliarize ourselves in order to conform. As writers, we have to recognize these role-shifts as de-familiarization with ourselves, and develop that notion as our craft.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


“Mom” and We

In 2009, international playwright and author, Lonely Christopher approached producer Jakob Abrams with an idea for a movie. Christopher had started writing a script that was originally only forty-five pages long, but it was the basis of a larger notion. The members of the independent film company, Cavazos Films, created by Jakob Abrams, Melinda Prisco, and Jose Cavazos, pushed for Lonely Christopher to turn his short movie into full-length cinema.

“He came out with a great script in the end,” states Abrams.

“Mom” is a re-structured fantasia that uses the Brooklyn cityscape as its backdrop. Since Christopher first approached me with the offer of an internship, I have been impressed and inspired by the crew of “Mom.” Jakob Abrams, Melinda Prisco, and Jose Cavazos are a group of young and driven producers, filmmakers, cinematographers, writers, and actors. They, as a team, have been making films for the past four years.

Cavazos Films works tirelessly to create contemporary and unaffected cinema, producing at least one project a year. “Mom” is their first feature-length picture for distribution, but it’s not their first time working with Lonely Christopher (author of the book The Mechanics of Homosexual Intercourse). Along with being the screenwriter, Christopher is also the film’s director.

On the surface, “Mom” is a story about a young man trying to make sense of his longing for maternal comfort in a strange city. The themes themselves, however, are much more recondite. This tour de force challenges the audience’s ideals for structure, the nature of love, and our utopian notions of family. Try, a habitual man in his late twenties, is traveling to Brooklyn from upstate New York, having contacted a detective agency with the intention of finding his mom. He isn’t expecting the detectives’ highly unorthodox methods. Through the seemingly deranged antics of his investigators, Try learns that asking the most difficult questions will sometimes yield a truth that we do not want to realize. Abrams and Prisco, who play detectives Arden and Carmen, are also the film’s guides through its transition from a desired outcome into personal revelation.

When asked what it was that attracted Cavazos Films to the project initially, both producers agreed that they trusted Lonely Christopher’s talent and determination. The pacing felt natural, yet the style was unique.

“It’s a very American piece,” says Abrams, “all about true longing. Every character is affected by understanding through confusion, how we deal with failure and how the audience will react to it.”

“The villains are internal,” adds Prisco. “The characters are all in it for themselves, there’s no good guy.”

Working on a budget of little to nothing, Prisco and Abrams are used to facing both personal and professional challenges. Even though they now interact in a brother/sister dynamic, when the pair was fresh out of college, they didn’t initially click. Yet they came together through a mutual friendship with the third member of the Cavazos Films company, Jose Cavazos, the film’s executive producer. The three of them have grown as partners, equal contributors, and pals.

“We always find a way,” says Melinda Prisco. “We don’t take no for an answer.”

The group has previously completed several short, award-winning films, along with a web-series called “Life Coaching” for Brooklyn Public Access, in which Lonely Christopher acted. After working on the web-series with Prisco and Abrams, Lonely Christopher began to develop characters for his script who were specifically written for the duo. Also joining the cast’s detective team is actress Alejandra Bufala, a beautiful and small woman with a “Don’t Mess With Me” attitude. Christopher has written a script in which Brooklyn itself, with its waves of culture shock and unavoidable presence, takes shape as a role. “Mom” embodies Brooklyn’s many communities; every culture is equally represented. The film includes Hasidic families walking in the background, members of Public Housing units, and urban hipsters guzzling caffeine, forties, and salads.

Cavazos Films has the phenomenal goal of always having their next artistic idea in mind, even when working on the project at hand. Abrams has already been sketching out the next journey for the crew to take once this one is complete. “Mom” has been their longest undertaking, it is the project for which they have received the greatest amount donations, and it is the most that they have ever invested in film equipment.

Prisco and Abrams remain confident. It’s a substantial commitment from the crew, the actors, and everyone else who agrees to lend a hand to the film. In the end, the project will flourish based on the enthusiasm of those involved. The story itself holds no unanimous opinion on its own meaning; the plot is intentionally polysemic. The intended result is that no two people will walk out of the theatre thinking that they have just seen the same film.

The further I’ve delved into helping create this intricate and complicated movie, the deeper my respect grows for Melinda Prisco, Jake Abrams, Jose Cavazos, and Lonely Christopher. Melinda and Jake are not just actors, not just visionaries, not just attentive and sincere; they are teachers, leaders, and producers in every sense of the word. They have been the chief motivators in making our project grow to its full potential. As just an intern, I count myself as fortunate for having the opportunity to learn from such a capable crew.

“All we want to do is work with each other,” states Prisco. The trio is always invested in each other’s ideas for projects, and they continually find the right people to work with, such as Lonely Christopher. “Mom” is scheduled to film in September and November of this year.