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Posts tagged ‘lawyer’

Whatever It Takes

Love Feld by Virginia Alanís.
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

61eBvpsjijLA high school sweetheart, who becomes as possessive as hell, a patriarchal Mexican father, and a prejudiced school counselor, can’t stop Laura Cano from following her dream to be a lawyer and gain independence. She also learns when, and how, to connect with family, and to appreciate all those who help her along the way. Love Field, by Virginia Alanís, gives readers’ insight into growing up in a Mexican-American family in Texas, and if it isn’t told from her personal experience, reads like it is. Her parents, sisters, and grandmother, all sound familiar, comforting, and often controlling.

At age 17, Laura is looking forward to graduating from high school, and applying to college. Since she was young, she thought about being a lawyer to help others. Especially after she witnessed a tragic event from a next door neighbor’s abusive husband when she was a child. Lucky to get a job at a law office, with Vanessa Hamilton, and support from her Godmother, Toni, the narrator of this tale fights to find her way in spite of a father that believes women are only meant to be wives, and her newly married husband, Edward, who does not trust her and threatens to ruin everything.

If you (or someone you know) has ever been in a possessive, and/or abusive, relationship, what transpires between this young couple (Laura and Edward), may feel uncomfortably familiar. What first appears to be support, love, and care, slowly gets twisted and subverted, until Laura must make a choice and risk leaving the young man she once loved, without being harmed (or killed) in the process. She does everything she can legally, and gets help from her retired English teacher, Elisabeth, her mentor at work, Vanessa, and Godmother Toni.

This story encompasses a number of themes. What is family? How much does one owe family, and what parts do you leave behind? Are there any signs that someone will turn out to be abusive when you first meet, and if so, what are they? How does one safely escape from a violent, or threatening situation, without jeopardizing themselves or others? Is family history something that should be respected at all costs, or left behind when it becomes overbearing? If you like the recent memoir of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomeyer (My Beloved World), you’ll enjoy Love Field by Virginia Alanís.

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A Walk Across the Sun

A Walk Across the Sun
by Corban Addison
Released 3 January 2012
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans
New York Journal of Books
22 August 2012

A Walk Across the Sun

“A Walk Across the Sun is the kind of literature that should be celebrated and honored.”

True crime meets literary fiction with a powerful kick to the stomach and the opening of the heart.

Lawyer and human rights activist Corban Addison steps astutely and brazenly into the writing world, delivering a story that navigates cross-cultural romance, family devotion, grief, loss, and modern day slavery into an exciting, disturbing, and provocative tale about surviving the impossible and believing beyond hope.

Two Indian teenage sisters (Ahalya and Sita Ghai) have their world literally washed away when their entire family is killed by a tsunami and they are sold as sex slaves to a man in Bombay.

Just when you think their lives cannot get any worse, they do. Thomas Clarke’s life as an up and coming lawyer in Washington D.C. is falling apart with the recent death of his daughter and his Indian wife Priya, leaving him alone and returning to India.

The way in which these characters’ lives eventually intersect and how their perspectives on life and death evolve are entirely believable in A Walk Across the Sun.

Nothing in this story feels contrived or out of place.

Each character struggles to survive the circumstances they find themselves in. Ahalya and Sita have no control over or voice in what happens to them, but Thomas and Priya are privileged with both choice and the means to manifest their deepest intentions—once they have figured out what those intentions are.

Though Ahalya and Sita are bought and sold for sex (as are thousands of girls and boys throughout the world), it is clear that it is about violence, control and profit. Sex is the conduit by which those that buy and sell others make their money.

By contrasting the love story between Thomas and Priya, the unbreakable devotion and tenderness between the sisters, and those engaging in sex for personal pleasure and profit, Mr. Addison distinctly defines and shows readers the difference between love, passion, and compassion versus sex for sex’s sake (at the expense of another’s wellbeing), without exhibiting any need to delve into a philosophical or theoretical discussion.

There is no ambiguity about rape and the use of the young for profit. Rape is rape.

It is a rare find to discover a work of fiction opening readers’ eyes to an existing horror with such precision and insight. A Walk Across the Sun is such a story.

Providing a treasure chest of prose, culture, nuance, insight, despair, and hope, A Walk Across the Sun is the kind of literature that should be celebrated and honored.

Don’t let this gem slip through your fingers. It will affect you long after you’ve read the last word.

Read more of Gabriel’s reviews at New York Journal of Books.

Returned to Rapists?

Gabriel –

An unthinkable ordeal: Blanca Medina was raped by five different men in El Salvador before she fled to the United States. Terrified and traumatized, she thought she’d at last found a safe haven to raise her 4-year-old daughter Alejandra (below). But now, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wants to deport her — potentially back into the hands of her rapists, who were never arrested.

Forced back to certain danger? Blanca fears for her life — and Alejandra’s — if they have to go to El Salvador. None of the men who raped her have been arrested, including her stalker, and she’s terrified of what they’ll do if she’s sent back to El Salvador. But ICE is choosing to ignore this and other evidence.

You can help: Blanca’s lawyer Matthew Muller is appalled at how ICE has treated someone so vulnerable — she’s been refused a female case officer, and intimidated by male agents. But Matthew knows that public support has saved countless people in the past — and he’s sure that if enough people join him, ICE will be forced to reverse its decision and allow Blanca to stay in the U.S.

Click here to sign Matthew’s petition to make sure Blanca and Alejandra are allowed to stay safe in the U.S.

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More information about Matthew’s petition, in his own words:

Could you imagine suffering torture five different times, only to be told that no protection from your torturers was allowed because you missed a deadline to apply? And what if you missed the deadline because you were still recovering from the last attack?

Blanca Medina doesn’t have to imagine what that would be like. She sought safety in the United States after suffering five rapes. Because of medical complications relating to those rapes, Blanca missed a hearing to apply for protection and was ordered deported. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement team tracked Blanca down and detained her, separating her from her four-year-old daughter Alejandra.

Blanca told ICE that she and Alejandra faced severe harm if deported. She asked for permission to at least explain how she and her daughter could be persecuted. ICE used a strange procedural rule to assert that it simply did not have to listen. Under ICE rules, it is free to ignore even conclusive proof that a person would suffer slow death by torture if deported. This “willful blindness” policy could be ended through simple procedural changes by the Department of Homeland Security.

Until the procedure is fixed, Blanca (and thousands of moms like her) face deportation with no hope of finding protection from persecution or torture. Join us in asking the U.S. government to end this policy of willful blindness to torture and persecution, and allow reasonable fear interviews for all who face deportation.

Click here to sign Matthew’s petition to make sure Blanca and Alejandra are allowed to stay safe in the U.S.

From Change.org.

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