Pride Festivals 2021

 

     Pride festivals around the country were postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic. As COVID-19 vaccines become available, many people are looking forward to Pride in 2021. “It is something I always look forward to,” Taylor Williams, 23, said. “I really missed it last year.”

     Pride is an event that celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. The event takes place in most major U.S. cities. It helps promote LGBTQ rights and social acceptance. It is a time to celebrate differences and show support for all sexual orientations. 

San Francisco Pride Festival, 2018.

     “Many people in society do not accept me because I am gay,” Williams said. “Pride makes me feel like I can be myself. I feel valued for who I am as a person rather than judged for my sexual orientation.” 

     According to a Gallup poll, 5.6 percent of Americans identify as LGBTQ. This number has increased in recent years, but it still represents a small portion of the population. Pride festivals allow this group to come together and celebrate with others like them. 

     “One thing my partner and I miss the most is seeing other couples that look like us,” Amy Fallaw, 23, said. “We moved a year ago and we still haven’t really made friends. It’s going to be awesome to make those connections at Pride.”

     Few cities have announced an official schedule for Pride 2021. But that does not mean the celebration has been cancelled. It is unclear whether in-person events will be possible but many organizers are discussing other options. These include decorating businesses and houses, organizing a vehicle parade and hosting several virtual events. 

     “I hope it is safe to attend Pride in-person this year,” Williams said. “If not, I hope to go to some of the virtual events.” 

     Pride is an important celebration for the LGBTQ community and their allies. Whether in-person or online, many look forward to attending this year. 

Sammie’s Tattoo Studio

     Tattooing has been a part of humanity’s culture for thousands of years. This art is something you have on your body for the rest of your life. This is true whether it’s an intricate piece that takes months of planning and multiple sessions or a last minute simple tattoo that you get because you only live once. You will want a trustworthy and talented tattoo artist on the other side of that tattoo gun. Sammie Carmen is just the artist you’ve been looking for. 

     Sammie attended a tattoo school in New York after high school. After getting her tattooing license, Sammie opened up her shop in Houlton, her hometown. She rented a small room at a hair salon for about six months before finding a larger space that she stayed at for about five years. She is now at her current location, 52 Market Square, Suite #6, Houlton, Maine, where she has been located for over six years. You can find Sammie and her shop on Facebook and Instagram at Sammie’s Tattoo Studio. 

Black and Gray Dog Portrait by Sammie Carmen.

     When you walk into her shop, you can see her artwork covering the walls and filling the whole room with a magical atmosphere. Sammie’s style is unique to her as an artist. 

     Sammie said, “I really feel like it’s been the last few years. Because I’ve always just done whatever people wanted. The last few years I’ve been really pushing to like, even if they didn’t ask for it, I’m like yo, let me do this in my style a little bit if that’s cool. Or know where I’m so busy I can choose who and what I’m tattooing a little bit more. So I really push toward something that’s more in my realm or style these days. Same with the pre-draws. I’ve been pushing them really hard the last few years too. Just because it’s totally my own artwork. And yeah, I feel like that helps me develop my own style a little bit more.”

Spring Break 2021: Yes or No?

     Spring Break has been a spring ritual since 1938. Spring break became really big in the 1960s

and continues today. But things are different this year because of COVID. So, what’s a body to do if you want to continue the ritual?

     First, be careful who you hang around with. Everyone in your group should be tested before you leave. That’s what Will Haggenmiller, a junior at Minnesota State University Mankato, did. “My roommates and I went down as a group of five to make sure we had a social group to hang out with.”

     Second, continue to wear your masks. Masks are for your protection and for the protection of

others.

     Third, bring your own hand sanitizer. Yes, it may seem bulky to walk around with your bottle of hand sanitizer. You can put it in a small bottle and leave the big bottle in your hotel room. Make sure to use it generously. Ericka, Will’s mother, said, “I bought the boys a one gallon bottle of hand sanitizer and five little refill bottles that fit in their pockets.”

     Fourth, wash, wash, wash your hands. Get rid of those nasty germs from your hands.

     Fifth and final, check the location that you have chosen for their current COVID restrictions, their vaccine rates and their current infection rates. Parent Ericka Haggenmiller said, “When our son Will said that he wanted to go on spring break, we sat down with him and his friends and reviewed different destination sites. Together we thought that Texas was a good choice for the group.”

Galveston Island, spring break.

     When the group returned, Will sat down with his parents to find out how things had gone on their vacation. “We had a great time. Sitting down and discussing the protocols that had to be taken to keep us safe really helped us have fun. We stayed together as a group, which is always fun. We wore our masks, which has become common at home as well as the hand washing. The hand sanitizer worked because we drove. I think if we had flown we would have had to buy those supplies when we got there.”

     Looking back, did the guys still think that their choice of Texas was a good one?  Will said, “That choice really worked out well. The place was beautiful, the people were very friendly and the food was great. It was really a good idea to plan ahead, because then we could just focus on having fun.”

     Will following these guidelines work for everyone? The answer would be “no.” With all the research that is being done to figure out the virus, all that can be said is follow the precautions the best that you can in order to avoid it.

Masking Up

    For the first time in a year, students are masking up for spring sports again. Some are running with masks on for the first time since COVID started. But mandating masks doesn’t stop the runners at Mount Desert Island High school from having a good team. Track started a week ago and running with a mask on seems to be a little hard, but it could be an adjustment to get used to. 

A view of Mount Desert Island High school and its track.

     Jolie Deal, a sophomore at MDIHS, is doing sports with a mask on for the first time since the pandemic started last March. She started track last week along with the rest of the team. Jolie is one of the runners on the team and said, “The masks aren’t necessarily making running harder. The masks are one more thing to have to think about and prepare for.” With the right mask, running with it on can be easier than you think. Most students are running with disposable masks.

     But runners aren’t the only people on the team. There are throwing events such as shot put, discus and javelin as well. Those athletes do their fair share of running, along with efforts in lifting and throwing. Logan Closson, a sophomore, is doing the throwing events. She said, “ I don’t think that the masks will have much of an effect on the throwers as it could have on the runners.” Runners are getting used to the masks, but it can sometimes stick to your face. With warm weather just around the corner, they could only start to stick even more. 

   Jolie spoke about running with a mask on. “It’s like running at a high altitude, but it’s an adjustment I think we all are getting used to,” she said. With the first meet coming up in about two weeks, the team hopes to be acclimated by then. 

      As a team, Mount Desert Island High School is adjusting well to wearing masks. Even though some are finding wearing masks a little difficult, many said that they feel they will get used to them. The team learned the rules and regulations for wearing a mask recently. These include rules such as, you must have your mask on at all times, and if you are found with your mask off, you will first be let off with a warning. After the warning, you risk being taken out of your events and potentially the team.      

     For some the adjustment will be difficult. But for others it’s something that they are already used to. The masks and regulations are just some things that students know they have to comply while doing sports.  The commitment and dedication that students have developed for the team are helping them strive for success this year. The masks are not going to stop the 70-80 students who are running on the track team this year.

Trends in Student Loans: How It Affects Borrowers Now

     The idea that money doesn’t grow on trees is far from new. But the fact that this also applies to both private and public sources of loan money seems to go over some people’s heads. Just like all other people and companies, banks, schools and even the government have limited amounts of money. So, when they dole it out to college students looking for financial aid, they can only give so much to so many people. And this is why most lenders use a first-come first-served system. The earliest applicants get the best chance at getting all of the money they need. But when they start to run out of money to give, they have to give less to everyone else. 

     This is why the amount you borrow is just as important as the amount you can pay for yourself. Any person who dips into the pot is taking that money away from someone else – not out of cruelty, but just because of the way the system is set up. So, the morally right thing to do with your student loans is to, well, use them like you’re supposed to. Use them on tuition, living costs and transportation to and from school. And even more important, only borrow what you absolutely need in order to pay for those things. 

     If you think that this moral contract sounds like common sense, you’re not alone. This has been the unspoken code of borrower ethics for decades. If you need money for school, you use it for school. But recent trends suggest that more and more students are redirecting that loan money into personal purchases (vacations, clothes, etc.). Even worse, some are borrowing more than they need in order to finance personal purchases while still covering all of their responsible expenses (like school). In one scenario, you substitute clothes for tuition. In the other you sacrifice neither. In both scenarios, you are taking money away from someone else who needs it more. And because loan money isn’t traceable, regardless of where it comes from, there’s no way to police how it’s being spent. 

Surya Amundsen, 18, Waterville Senior High School.

     Surya Amundsen is a current senior at Waterville Senior High School and a future university student. She didn’t express concern about what this could mean for her own loan situation. She was concerned for what it could mean for some of her other low-income classmates. “There are plenty of students with significant financial need – they cannot feasibly pay for college without aid. And the government can only loan out finite sums of money. So it is important that (those) who will receive it will actually use it toward its intended purpose.”

Hazel Dow, 17, Waterville Senior High School.

     “It’s called a student loan for a reason,” Hazel Dow, a junior at the same high school, said. “It’s meant to be spent on education expenses and making a better future for oneself.” 

     Strangely enough, both young women also acknowledged the temptation to fund a lifestyle using loans. For example, it could be one using, say, earnings from a part time job. “Just thinking about financing a life of luxury with student loans is tempting. I mean, the money is right there!” Hazel said. “The chance of getting caught is pretty slim. So yes, it’s very tempting.” 

     But after they had separated urge from action? Well, the sympathy seemed to dissipate. “This use, or misuse, of student loan money is not fair to other students,” Hazel said. “One student’s moral misconduct shouldn’t result in a loss of opportunity for another.” 

     Clearly, from the perspective of a borrower, there’s a moral divide between longing to be irresponsible and actually choosing to be. There are enough economic and social walls between people and education. And as for the consensus among future borrowers? Let the haves and their wants not impact the have-nots and their needs. 

‘Spotlight’: The Truth Always Wins

     Many believe that all evil, no matter how secret, eventually shows itself. The truth comes out in many ways. In the best case, people see their own wrongs and change. Sometimes, society simply stumbles upon the truth about hidden evils without intending to. Other times, it requires hardworking, dedicated journalists to expose the ugly truth. The film “Spotlight” tells of an evil that journalism exposed.  

     The film introduces the crowded Boston Globe headquarters of July 2001. The editor-in-chief retires, and Martin Baron replaces him. Baron was a quiet, serious Jewish man new to Boston. At his first meeting with the editors, Baron asked everyone to introduce themselves. Immediately after, Baron asked for a follow-up story on the Geoghan case. 

     The Boston Globe had recently released a short story on a Catholic priest named John Geoghan. He had sexually molested children for 30 years. In court, 80 such cases had been filed against him. The lawyer for the cases, Mitchell Garabedian, claimed to have evidence that the local cardinal, Bernard Law, knew long ago but did nothing. The evidence was in sealed documents. Baron wanted to file a court motion to unseal the documents. 

     Baron immediately received shocked faces and opposing opinions. Roughly half of all the Boston Globe’s readers were Catholic. “Gutsy call for a first day,” Walter Robinson, the editor for the Boston Globe’s secret investigative team, Spotlight, said afterward. 

     Baron asked Spotlight to investigate the case. Spotlight had three journalists. They worked downstairs, together in a room with their messy desks. Mike Rezendes was their most outspoken member. Sacha Pfeiffer and Matt Carroll were the other two. They were more put-together. All three were dedicated reporters. 

     Spotlight interviewed Phil Saviano, the leader of the Survivor’s Network for those Abused by Priests. Saviano passionately wanted justice for the abuse victims. “You guys have to understand,” Saviano said. “This is big. This is not just Boston. It’s the whole country, it’s the whole world! And it goes right up to the Vatican!”

     The reporters began interviewing more victims who had become adults. The interviewed victims told tragic stories. Though many of them were grown men, many broke down during the interviews. The victims found their memories very hard to share. 

     Rezendes contacted Richard Sipe on the phone. Sipe was an ex-priest who stayed in the Catholic faith. After resigning, he spent 30 years studying abusive priests. “Look, Mike,” Sipe said. “The church wants us to believe that it’s just a few bad apples. It’s a much bigger problem than that.”

     Spotlight also interviewed Eric MacLeish, a lawyer who handled priest abuse cases. For certain priest abuse cases, Pfeiffer found no court records of settlements. MacLeish explained that the cases were legally confidential and dealt directly with the church. “We got them a sit down with the bishop and a little dough. That’s the best they could hope for,” he said.

     The church, MacLeish said, promised in such cases to remove the abusive priests. Robinson asked how he had made sure the church honored its word. Macleish couldn’t answer. 

     Spotlight team members crowded around a phone with their notebooks and interviewed Sipe again. Robinson said they found about 13 abusive priests in Boston and asked if the number sounded right. Sipe answered, “No, Robby. That sounds low to me. My estimate suggests 6 percent act out sexually with minors.”

     Sipe’s words made the group of journalists go silent. 

     Based on Sipe’s statistics, Spotlight estimated 90 priests in Boston abused children. They analyzed all the priests who moved frequently between parishes. Spotlight theorized the church moved such priests to cover up abuse cases. They found 87 priests. MacLeish emailed Spotlight a list of 45 priests he settled cases on. Spotlight wanted to release this as a story.

     Baron disagreed and told them, “We need to focus on the institution, not the individual priests…. Show me the church manipulated the system so that these wouldn’t have to face charges. Show me that they put those same priests back into parishes time and time again. Show me this was systemic. That it came from the top, down.”

     Spotlight continued traveling all over Boston to interview victims. Garabedian revealed to Spotlight that the sealed documents were made public. Rezendes went to access those documents. He found that the file was empty. The church had made sure of it.

     The Boston Globe had to file a motion to refile the documents. When that happened, Rezendes ran like a maniac for the legal office to get the public documents before the other newspapers. After combating many roadblocks in the legal office, he got them. The documents proved that Cardinal Law knew about Geoghan’s actions since 1984. 

     The Boston Globe planned expose both the crimes of Cardinal Bernard Law and the abusive priests. They wanted to confirm 70 priests. 

     For final confirmation on the names of priests, Robinson asked his friend, Jim Sullivan. Sullivan was a lawyer involved in several priest-abuse cases. Enraged, Sullivan told Robinson to leave his house. When Robinson walked out, Sullivan came after him. He cursed at Robinson some more, then asked for the list. He circled all the priests on the list as confirmation. 

     The Boston Globe released the story on a Sunday in January 2002. That morning, Pfeiffer and Carroll went to the office to take calls. In the article, they left Spotlight’s phone number. That morning, their phones rang off the hook. Most of the callers were victims. Law resigned in December that year. 

     These journalists endured a long battle. They lost sleep and time with their families over this story. Pfeiffer didn’t share the struggles of the investigation with her strongly Catholic grandmother. She didn’t think her grandmother would understand. Carroll found a rehabilitation center for abusive priests in his own neighborhood. He asked Robinson if he could tell all his neighbors who had children. Robinson said he had to wait, because the news story wasn’t ready yet. Rezendes, who attended church as a child, said he would never go back. Even Robinson and his friend Sullivan conflicted until the end. Yet, to Spotlight, the story was so important. 

     At the end of the film, Rezendes gave Garabedian a Boston Globe issue with the story early. A touchy character, Garabedian didn’t say a proper thank you. Rezendes knew that Garabedian was grateful deep down. When Rezendes left Garabedian’s office, Rezendes saw a mother and two little kids through a small window to another room. Garabedian told him that both children had been molested. “Keep doing your work, Mr. Rezendes,” Garabedian said.

     “Spotlight” isn’t a lighthearted film. But it gives hope, both to journalists and everyone else. So much injustice occurred under those Catholic Church leaders. The abusive priests served an institution dedicated to God. Yet, they had evil hearts, which the Bible says God hates. Those church officials, no matter how evil, couldn’t hide it forever. In the end, God brings the truth through personal conviction and, sometimes if the evildoer won’t change, relentless reporting.

‘Spotlight’: The Film You Must See

     “When you’re a poor kid from a poor family and a priest pays attention to you, that’s a big deal. How do you say no to God?” It’s simple–you don’t. And as you’ll discover by watching this film, many other young and vulnerable children said the same. “Spotlight” chronicles the excruciating journey of four reporters trying to uncover the stories of child abuse within the Catholic Church. It’s a tasteful take on a touchy topic. But there’s plenty of unbridled uncomfortableness to go around. 

     Now if you think that telling a story about telling a story might be challenging, you’d be right. The majority of journalistic work is not thrilling. And when you’re telling a story dependent on visuals, journalistic work just doesn’t deliver the same intensity. This is what makes it a rare candidate for film adaptation. In a movie market that’s been saturated with true stories for decades, “Spotlight” could have easily sunk to the bottom of the pile. But it didn’t. And the same qualities behind its swimmingly good reviews are the same qualities that should make you want to watch it. 

     Consider Spotlight an honest look at the work of a reporter. You’ll watch empathetically real people put their own lives on hold for the sake of others. You’ll gaze fixedly as names are input into a spreadsheet. For two hours, you’ll live and breathe with these characters and their pursuit of truth. Skillfully dramatized office work will become enthralling to you. Personal stories will resonate with you on levels you didn’t even know you had. The bureaucracy will enrage you. You may even walk away from the entire experience questioning your own understanding of the system. 

     “Spotlight” unmasked a deeply systemic problem within an institution as old as time. The reporters stood up to their superiors on every level in order to fulfill their responsibilities. And in the end, society was better for it. The Spotlight team continued to reinforce one of humanity’s most cherished beliefs–that no person or organization is above basic morality. So if you haven’t seen it yet, please do. 

A Pulitzer Prize

     Stanley Forman, who won a Pulitzer Prize in the 1970s for his image “Boston Fire,” said, “You can always say, ‘I want to make a Pulitzer.’ But I don’t think you can go out and hunt and say, ‘I have to make a Pulitzer Prize winner today.’” Yet that’s exactly what these photographers wake up every day to do. Whether the Pulitzer is specifically on their minds or not, capturing that moment in history is how many have chosen to dedicate their lives. Whether that moment be priceless to American history, world history or the neighbor’s family album–capturing a moment of pure joy or raw sadness can bring the whole world to a single second of unified awe. That is what these Pulitzer winning photographers do–capture heart-wrenching, tear-jerking or joy-inducing moments that otherwise might have been missed or under appreciated. These award-winning photos are the strongest examples of once-in-a-lifetime moment that induce a necessary conversation with a sense of urgency around its topic matter. 

     Possibly in one of America’s most iconic photos, “Iwo Jima,” by Joe Rosenthal, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1945. Here we see several soldiers who are physically exhausted and surrounded by debris rushing to hold up the American flag in the middle of chaos. During this time, World War II was taking a toll on families across the country. The depiction of these soldiers instilled a new sense of patriotism in Americans that boosted morale for those at home and overseas. Assisting in unification and patriotism, this image’s impact made a lasting impression and has been reenacted in several films. 

     By the 1950s, America was facing a question regarding police effectiveness and popularity of the profession was lacking. While O.W. Wilson, who had recently returned from World War II, made a huge impact on the social issues surrounding the professionalism of the police, positive press was still lacking for our officers in blue. “The Parade,” published by William Beall in 1958, did just that. In a black-and-white image, a local police officer is bent down at the waist to speak with a small, happy child, nervously fidgeting with his hands, who is eager for his ear. The parade onlookers in the background are all watching for the next float, except for an older man, presumably related to the child, who is watching the interaction with amusement. The interaction was sweet and heartwarming for many viewers and reinforced a positive impression of police as a whole.  

     In 1969, Eddie Adams was able to capture the “Saigon Execution.”  Vietnam was in full swing, and the brutality and violence of American allies was questionable. In a clear roadway there were soldiers who were walking a prisoner to confinement, when a general pulls out a gun. The soldiers who were holding this man all backed away and we see the man holding the gun up straight to the prisoner’s temple. This man knows his life is over, and it’s written all over his face. We see the last moment of sheer terror as the trigger was being pulled. This image sparked controversy throughout the country and initiated uncomfortable conversations around the war and who America was allying with. The photographer later regretted this photograph, saying that it only showed half the story.  

     On the home front, in the 1970s, “Boston Fire” was captured by Stanley Forman. This is a black-and-white image depicting a woman and her god-child falling from a steel rung balcony that they had been standing on with a local fire rescue team member that collapsed due to the damage done to the structural integrity by the fire. The mother fell fastest, with the young child falling just a split second after. You can almost hear the girl’s scream falling from the brick building. This image sparked a conversation within municipalities across the country regarding the prevention of similar accidents and resulted in more stringent fire safety codes surrounding fire escapes. 

     “Columbia Mudslide” won a Pulitzer in 1986 for Michel DuCille and Carol Guzy. In this image you see a young girl with bloodshot eyes with just her head above the mud.  She has sadness and exhaustion all over her face. There is a wooden barrier behind her. The girl depicted in the photograph did not make it. The photographer, Carol Guzy, said, “Someone once told me that empathy was not imagining how you would feel in a particular situation, but actually feeling what the other person is feeling.” The pure devastation after the volcano erupted was caught in this one photo, which showcased the desperation of the people affected by this natural disaster throughout the world and made its viewers really feel for those lost.  

     John White once said, “Everyone has a story.  And we sing their song.  If we don’t do it—if the journalist doesn’t do it—who’s going to do it?” In 1997, Annie Wells was able to tell two of those stories when she showcased “Water Rescue.”  A brave local emergency rescue member holds himself up using a slim branch while leaning in to reach a young teen girl. The bravery of this man is unmatchable. This girl was struggling to stay above rushing water so thick with debris it almost appears solid. Annie was able to snap the photo in the moment that built anticipation whether he was able to save her. 

     The winners of the Pulitzer, those listed above and otherwise, are truly heroes. They raise awareness for issues that others might not be able to relate to without actually seeing it themselves. Photojournalism is not for the fainthearted. These heart-wrenching scenarios are unavoidable, but being the person who can be there, focus on capturing the moment while their life is at risk is unbelievable. 

The church is a place of prayer and hope. Or it is supposed to be. The faith of four dedicated journalists is shaken when they come across the biggest story of the year: priests in Boston are molesting children. Once the journalists begin investigating, the numbers are astonishing. As it turns out, there are not just a small number of priests involved–there are nearly a hundred! Sacha Pfeiffer stops attending mass services with her Nana. Matt Carroll struggles when he realizes a makeshift rehabilitation house formulated by the church for abusive priests is just down the street from his home. Robby realizes he has had his hands on this story all along. Watch as these reporters break the code of silence developed by the Catholic Church in Boston and reveal the real-life horror of priests abusing their most vulnerable followers. If they cannot publish the story, who is going to help? How else is this going to stop? Back in 2002, prior to the Boston Globe’s probing investigation into the abuse that was transpiring in the Catholic Church, there was very little talk around even the possibility of such acts occurring. The church was considered one of the most powerful entities in the lives of its followers. Making an accusation of abuse held the potential to uproot the lives of those affected. Within church walls, many of the churches had facilitated their own means of resolution to such scenarios by drawing up agreements outside of the court system. This resulted in the makeshift rehabilitation for abusive priests such as the one not far from Matt Carroll’s home. This resolution kept the abuse an inside secret, placing a gag order on the abused and their families, while allowing the priests to continue their lives without being subject to a court hearing. The beginning of this huge societal shakedown began when Sacha Pfeiffer, Matt Carrol, Walter Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Marty Baron and Ben Bradlee Jr. took a strong stance against the ongoing abuse. Taking on this confrontation with the church posed a huge risk to the reporters and the newspaper. The Catholic Church in Boston at the time was known to have a strong political influence and was able to place pressure on entities such as the Boston Globe. Pursuing such a controversial story posed a risk to the credibility of the paper and the employment of the reporters. Providing solid documentation played a key piece in being able to continue pursuing the story. Exposing a huge societal flaw, however, provided the opportunity to ensure changes were implemented to prevent further abusers from being able to manipulate these victims. Despite the risks, publishing the story of the Catholic Church’s abuse allowed the reporters a sense of civic duty, as they were able to educate the public on the inner workings of a major coverup and allow some closure for the victims. Down the line, the team received a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize.

     The film “Spotlight” is the retelling of the true story of how Spotlight, an investigative journalism team for the Boston Globe, covered and wrote the story of the multiple priests abusing children throughout the years in Boston and how the church was covering it up. The film starts in 2001 before 911, but it goes back many years. Robby Robinson, Sacha Pfeiffer, Mike Rezendes, and Matt Carrol are the members of the Spotlight team who are covering the story. Through hardship and struggle, the team would stop at nothing to investigate and bring the wrongdoings of the church into the spotlight.

     The story starts when the Boston Globe received a new managing editor by the name of Marty Baron. He sees the story and puts Spotlight on the case. Their stories usually take multiple months up to years to investigate and write. These journalists gave up time, family relations, and their own well-being to write this story. As they investigate the story, the entire team had to keep it a complete secret, even to the rest of the Globe. No matter if the information could help people around them, they have to keep it top-secret until they can get the story out so that no leaks would happen. 

    One of the first scenes is a reenactment of what sets off this powder keg of a story. A mother reports her two boys being molested by a priest but is pushed into keeping it between them and the church. The scene is very important since it gives us a description of how the church silenced these reports. Marty Baron, the new managing editor of the Boston Globe walks into the story. When Robby Robinson, the editor for Spotlight, didn’t see many features for the story, Baron decided to push it more and put the Spotlight team on the case. 

     The next steps for the Spotlight team were to file a motion to get sensitive documents available to the public. These documents would be essential keys to this story. They provided conclusive evidence of the fact that the church was sweeping these incidents and the molesting of children under the rug. Down the story, almost every single person the team members went to for information or clearance tried to turn them away from the story. They would say that they should keep this between themselves or that it wasn’t a big deal. The story was so filled with the restrictions and the struggle to get information. Even so, the Spotlight team continued. Next, the team talked to a man by the name of Phil Saviano. Phil was the first survivor that the team talked to in person. He was a part of an organization called SNAP that was a support organization for the survivors of priest molestation. He told them his story and advised the team to seek out and talk to Richard Sipe. Richard Sipe was an ex-priest who married a nun and became a psychotherapist and author of six books about Catholicism. 

     Richard Sipe helped the Spotlight team members discover that there were over 90 priests in Boston abusing and molesting children, instead of the 13 they had suspected originally. The team starts to get more enemies and attract more tension as the story heats up. Just as the team is about to get the restricted documents that could make this story, 9/11 happened. The story was put aside so that all reporters could cover 9/11 for the next few weeks. The team picked it back up again when the important documents were finally released to the public. The team hurried to get the documents and finish the story before any other paper could. The documents ended up having multiple letters and verifications that high ranking clergy were hiding the fact that they knew about these crimes.

     Baron told the team members that they couldn’t stop the story at just a few priests. They had to prove that this went through the whole church and to write the story about how deep those roots went. The team kept up their investigation, getting evidence that each of these 90 or so priests did these acts and that high-ranking officials of the Catholic Church were hiding it and putting these priests back into new churches. With this information found and the evidence from the documents, the story would be released after New Year’s. When the story came out, it gave hundreds of survivors the courage to call Spotlight and tell them their own stories and how they were abused. The Spotlight’s room of operation filled with the phone calls of survivors calling in. 

     In this movie, people learn and see the harsh reality of these cases. Most to all of them were pushed under the rug. People never had the chance to tell their stories. The Spotlight team members themselves may have lost things while pursuing the story. They may have lost friendships, faith, and relationships with their families.  But they gained a lot from it. The team members got the satisfaction and knowledge that they brought wrongdoers to justice. Even though it should have been done sooner, the team members had finally brought the wrongdoings of the church into the spotlight and helped many survivors get closure as well as prevented many more children from experiencing the same fate. 

Spotlight’s on You: The Story of Pedophilia in the Catholic Church

     The church is a place of prayer and hope. Or it is supposed to be. The faith of four dedicated journalists is shaken when they come across the biggest story of the year: priests in Boston are molesting children. Once the journalists begin investigating, the numbers are astonishing. As it turns out, there are not just a small number of priests involved–there are nearly a hundred! Sacha Pfeiffer stops attending mass services with her Nana. Matt Carroll struggles when he realizes a  makeshift rehabilitation house formulated by the church for abusive priests is just down the street from his home. Robby realizes he has had his hands on this story all along. Watch as these reporters break the code of silence developed by the Catholic Church in Boston and reveal the real-life horror of priests abusing their most vulnerable followers. If they cannot publish the story, who is going to help? How else is this going to stop?

     Back in 2002, prior to the Boston Globe’s probing investigation into the abuse that was transpiring in the Catholic Church, there was very little talk around even the possibility of such acts occurring. The church was considered one of the most powerful entities in the lives of its followers. Making an accusation of abuse held the potential to uproot the lives of those affected. Within church walls, many of the churches had facilitated their own means of resolution to such scenarios by drawing up agreements outside of the court system. This resulted in the makeshift rehabilitation for abusive priests such as the one not far from Matt Carroll’s home. This resolution kept the abuse an inside secret, placing a gag order on the abused and their families, while allowing the priests to continue their lives without being subject to a court hearing. 

     The beginning of this huge societal shakedown began when Sacha Pfeiffer, Matt Carrol, Walter Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Marty Baron and Ben Bradlee Jr. took a strong stance against the ongoing abuse. Taking on this confrontation with the church posed a huge risk to the reporters and the newspaper. The Catholic Church in Boston at the time was known to have a strong political influence and was able to place pressure on entities such as the Boston Globe. Pursuing such a controversial story posed a risk to the credibility of the paper and the employment of the reporters. Providing solid documentation played a key piece in being able to continue pursuing the story. Exposing a huge societal flaw, however, provided the opportunity to ensure changes were implemented to prevent further abusers from being able to manipulate these victims. 

     Despite the risks, publishing the story of the Catholic Church’s abuse allowed the reporters a sense of civic duty, as they were able to educate the public on the inner workings of a major coverup and allow some closure for the victims. Down the line, the team received a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize.