Would it be a good idea to …
… hold a rally in conjunction with the Feb. 7 local premiere of “Kids for Ca$h” — the documentary exploring Luzerne County’s juvenile justice travesty?
Even a few people with placards, expressing either support for the victims or disdain for those area residents whose greed and hubris allowed public corruption to thrive here, would go a long way toward telling the world — and reminding ourselves — that this incident will long be remembered. Its impacts on this community were not superficial, its lessons were not fleeting.
Gather outside R/C Wilkes-Barre Movies 14, or maybe the Luzerne County Courthouse, for a few minutes of reflection on what went so terribly wrong and what has been done so far to correct it. By your participation, let the area’s public officials know your expectations and your children see your convictions.
We haven’t floated this idea past Academy Award-winning filmmaker Robert May for his view; no one, to our knowledge, has yet applied for a parade permit. Today, we simply want to know what you think.
Five years ago, in late January 2009, prosecutors made a stunning announcement, implicating two Luzerne County judges and two accomplices in a scheme that shamed not only the participants but, by extension, the entire area. The dirty duo secretly had accepted millions of dollars in connection with the construction of privately owned juvenile detention centers in Pittston Township and western Pennsylvania. One judge shuffled young people through his courtroom with little regard for whether they had lawyers or other constitutional safeguards. Some youths served time in juvie centers or camps for pitifully minor offenses.
May, a native of the Back Mountain area of Luzerne County, focused his lens on major players and tertiary characters, including reporters from The Times Leader, during the scandal’s prolonged fallout. His work, already screened for some audiences in the Wyoming Valley and elsewhere, is set for a general release next month.
Hopefully, May’s film and related public forums will revive discussions about not only the incident, but also the culture that allowed it — encouraged it? — to occur. There is still much about which this community needs to talk.
Would a rally timed to the film’s release serve as a fitting gesture?
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Likewise, share your ideas for improving the community and making area residents’ lives better. Maybe we’ll spotlight your suggestion in a future editorial and ask readers, “Would it be a good idea to …”