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I was born in Argentina and have lived in Chicago for the past thirty plus years. After working as a journalist, community activist and policy analyst for Chicago’s first African-American mayor, I founded the Coalition for Justice, a volunteer organization made up of Latino and Interfaith religious leaders which successfully advocated for the exoneration of two wrongfully convicted men.
Upon graduating from Columbia College in 2000 with a Masters in Journalism, I wrote “Till Justice is Done,” a book about the case from the coalition’s perspective. According to my friend, mentor, and one of the 2012 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, United Farm Workers Co-founder Dolores Huerta, my book “not only documents the Coalition for Justice's successful efforts to promote the innocence of Alejandro Hernandez and Rolando Cruz but will undoubtedly inspire others to take a stand against injustice."
In addition to endorsing my book, Dolores Huerta secured me a grant from a foundation to write and produce a documentary about the case. This documentary, also titled "Till Justice is Done," was written in English and in Spanish and has recently been updated to reflect what happened to the men responsible for the wrongful prosecutions after the case ended in 1994. "Till Justice is Done" premiered at an event where more than 250 people gathered to watch the documentary, meet Rolando Cruz and honor the many law enforcement individuals who lost their jobs and careers because they took a stand against the wrongful prosecution of Rolando and his co-defendant, Alex Hernandez.
As a result of my activism, I became the first Latina to be appointed to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. At the time of the appointment, I had started experiencing excruciating headaches that, because of the responsibility that came with the position, prompted me to seek the attention of a neurologist. Upon submitting myself to exhaustive tests, I was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm that had not yet ruptured. While this forced me to turn down the appointment so I could undergo an experimental surgery rather than the more traumatic craniotomy, to this day, I credit my survival and full recovery to the fact that in the spring of 1991, I left my job to help exonerate these and other innocent men without pay. For I believe that -had I not been appointed to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board in recognition of my volunteer efforts on behalf of the wrongfully convicted- I would have taken migraine medication instead of asking my doctor to be seen by a neurologist, which would have resulted in the rupture of the undiagnosed aneurysm and possibly, in death.
Further, this saga also took me to my current career path, which was ignited by my experience as an impromptu documentarian. Due to the experimental nature of my surgery, I was ordered by my doctors to live a stress-free life for at least six years. So in 2006, I attended a screenwriting workshop, read a few trade books and got to work on my first script, “The Last Confession," which is based on my husband's life in the priesthood and on my research of the Roman Catholic Church's internal politics and business practices. "The Last Confession" won 3rd place in the 2009 VisionFest Feature Screenwriting Competition in New York. Currently, I am putting the finishing touches on a second project, "DNA," which brings back the main characters from "The Last Confession" to help a man wrongfully accused of murder.
As I keep on writing, my hope is that my scripts will be picked up by a producer keen on infusing entertaining and marketable projects with exciting true life experiences. I thought it was a good omen when I shared my efforts trying to exonerate Cruz and Hernandez with Emilio Estevez at a reception following the Chicago premiere of his excellent film, "The Way," and after regaling me with a big smile, he turned to my husband and said that my life story should be made into a movie.
DNA Drama The main characters from "The Last Confession" reunite to exonerate a young man from the wrong side of the tracks who, in the midst of a highly contentious political race, is being charged with the brutal murder of his best friend and 15-year old piano prodigy.
The Last Confession Drama The death of a controversial cardinal brings together the idealistic priest who took his last confession, a reporter writing about financial irregularities in the archdiocese, the cardinal's secretary and confidant and the priest's best friend to investigate the prelate's death and keep the priest's working-class neighborhood church safe from greedy developers with deep ties to the Vatican. Story rights secured.
Till Justice is Done Documentary This is the story of two innocent men who were sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a young girl, in what has been described as one of the most controversial cases in U.S. criminal justice history. Meanwhile, a sexual predator convicted of similar crimes was not charged even when his DNA matched the one found in the victim's body and despite his own confession to the girl's murder. Why? Behind this story of sacrificial lambs lies a plot filled with the political ambitions of those who, enabled by a society supportive of the death penalty, saw the chance to advance their careers at the expense of two poor individuals from an ethnic minority. Enter the Coalition for Justice, a group of people who believed in the innocence of the two men. This 16 min. documentary tells of the Coalition's efforts to secure the two men's freedom and of their call for the indictment of the confessed killer so these two innocent men could be finally exonerated in the court of public opinion.