New York City, NY – July 9, 2020 – Growth isn’t easy, it’s uncomfortable, it requires adversity and friction. I’ve always heard “What you want is on the other side of your comfort zone.” I’m a believer in that. The film Justice On Trial displays that beautifully. Through examination of the past and present the film poses scenarios and difficult questions that too often go unasked, unanswered or pushed to the side for fear of being politically incorrect.
When I see the events that have occurred in America in recent weeks, they grip my heart and emotions in so many ways. Sadness, anger, confusion, wonder and even hope and pride. The film Justice On Trial does the same. I am saddened dearly and angry at the tragic death of George Floyd. There is no room to tolerate such a horrific act by an officer whose duty it is to protect and serve the citizens of the community in which he works. In addition, that same community’s tax dollars pay for his and the other officer’s salaries. However, it pains me to say this is not a new problem. In the film we see the horrific and violent acts done against the now historical figures Emmett Till in 1955 and Medgar Evers in 1963 that lead to their deaths. They were not killed by a police officer, yet fellow citizens of the United States of America. A nation in which its name mentions unity.
The justified outrage of the people at home and abroad to Mr. Floyd’s death has led to many people across the U.S., all different races, ages, backgrounds and occupations coming together peacefully exercising their 1st Amendment Right of the freedom of speech, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. I am in wonder and hold pride at this great use of our freedom. Freedom which simply does not exist in other countries. Alas though, I am confused by the individuals who went onto break windows, damage property, start fires and steal from stores, especially small businesses, whom have already been decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine and who may have already been teetering on the brink of survival. Stores which support the local economy and its people and provide jobs and robustness to their communities. However, I am hopeful as I witnessed first-hand on the evening of Sunday May 31st in New York City people calling for change in a peaceful, purposeful, intentional and united way. In addition, on Monday June 1st I witnessed protestors and officers finding common ground against all odds kneeling, shaking hands, and hugging together. Like the movie Justice On Trial this was much needed light for us all.
It is the year 2020, and things that were being dealt with in previous centuries as illustrated in the film through the characters Harriett Tubman, Emmett Till and Medgar Evers still have not been resolved. Perhaps today in the summer of 2020, more than ever, Justice On Trial is relevant and can open people’s eyes at the injustices that have occurred to specifically black people in the United States over the centuries simply because of the amount of melanin in one’s skin.
The forefathers of the United States Constitution crafted the Declaration of Independence in such a pure and humanistic way stating “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Much good has come from these words, however, collectively as a nation We have failed to uphold these great words for All citizens throughout the centuries. It is not fair, it is ugly, and it is wrong. And it is a part of us and our history to this day whether we like it or not. Justice On Trial holds up a mirror to the United States citizens demonstrating a part of our history in which unjust acts were committed and are committed to this day. Once again it is ugly, uncomfortable and something which we all need to address.
Our past thoughts, decisions and actions have created the culmination and consequences of our present reality. America and the world alike are experiencing an Awakening. People are refusing to gloss over issues they did in the past and have had enough. We are living in an historical time that will deeply shape our future and will be talked and written about for generations to come. Uncomfortable events are happening. We can choose to run from them or to embrace them together. Either way, things are changing and Justice On Trial The Movie can be a vehicle for people to bridge their differences and come together to connect with each other on a level that everyone understands, that is a human level.
Change is a fundamental law of nature and change favors those species who are most adaptive and flexible. Hence, these attributes have contributed emphatically to our survival as a human species for many millennia. It is how we deal with this current change that will determine whether we grow and become stronger as a nation or whether we whither and destroy ourselves. One does not have to look far in nature to understand that when there is division amongst a species’ there is weakness, vulnerability and increased susceptibility to defeat. But, when there is Unity and Cooperation, strength increases exponentially, as does effectiveness, growth and prosperity. The film Justice On Trial along with our voices and peaceful protests can be a catalyst for change, but to have sustainable long term change it often takes the stroke of the pen by the legislators who write the laws. The Department of Justice is portrayed as the defendant in the film and they along with other branches and members of the United States Government need to continue to be made aware of the struggles of The People, in this case especially black people, in the nation it governs and rectify injustices so the Declaration Of Independence can purely ring true and all of us as human equals have the unalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Over 2,000 years ago Hillel The Elder asked “If not now, when? If not you, who?” Justice On Trial asks these same questions and poses its answers. As humans we all must follow in suit, do the same and provide our own answers. Our Creator has given us the ability to think, reason and exercise free will. These traits separate us from the animals. I pray we choose and forge the wiser path of unity, cooperation, resilience, courage and strength together in these changing and darker times of today. For this path will make all the difference in our pioneering and creating a better and brighter tomorrow.
About David Arquilla
David Arquilla is a working actor based in New York City. He plays Attorney Hong in the movie Justice On Trial. His work can be also seen on Comedy Central’s sitcom The Other Two, in the movie Swipe on Amazon Prime Video, ID Discovery, and the Off-Broadway and touring Nationwide Theatre play Justice On Trial.
More about David and his work can be seen at DavidArquilla.com and on his Instagram and Facebook @DavidArquilla.
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