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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Young Filmmaker's New Documentary Debuts Thursday February 9

Wynona Hogan photo
Not many sixteen-year-olds have completed a 55-minute documentary by the time they are sophomores in high school. But Wynona Hogan of Bridgewater is far from your ordinary teenager.

The oldest of six children, she and her siblings are home schooled, and the film has been one of her school projects. She also enjoys reading, crafting, sewing, playing piano, being a part of the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Era Dancers, showing crafts and canned goods at the annual County Fair, and being an active member of the local (Anglican) Church of the Incarnation.

Two years ago Wynona single-handedly gathered 262 signatures of local people opposed to building a new jail to accommodate the ever increasing numbers of people we incarcerate in our area. She was concerned about the 500% spike in the last two decades during which our population grew by only 25%.

This project got her interested in enlisting some other youth and young adult volunteers in March of 2015 to help her produce her recently completed documentary, Rocktown Justice: UNLOCKED, consisting of candid interviews with key community leaders and others involved in our local criminal justice system.

The result is remarkably professional and impressive. It can be viewed on YouTube, but there is a public showing set for 1 pm Thursday, February 9, at the Trinity Presbyterian Church on the corner of Maryland Avenue and South High Street.

This free community event, sponsored by the local Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Valley Justice Coalition, actually begins at noon at Trinity with a one-hour presentation by Tomika Shine of the Baltimore-based RAPP (Release of Aging Persons in Prison), who is bringing with her Earl Nelson, a former inmate who spent 48 years behind bars.

The recent replacement of the chairperson of the Virginia Parole Board by Governor McAuliffe, due to his feeling the Board was not being aggressive enough in carrying out reforms recommended by the Virginia Commission on Parole Review, may result in a change in the number of geriatric parole releases granted by the Board.  Representatives of statewide organizations including Virginia CURE (Carla Peterson), the Exodus19:4 organization (Jae George), and RIHD (Lillie Branch-Kennedy) also plan to be present.

Please invite others to join you in attending this important meeting.
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