“It’s the Law”
by Tara Stuart
Joan Prittie — the quick-witted and charismatic Executive Director of Project Safe — graced the stage as mistress of ceremonies for Rabbit Box’s August show “It’s the Law.” The evening’s theme inspired first-hand accounts of defending, questioning, breaking, and taking steps toward changing laws in America and abroad.
Through these thought-provoking tales, the audience was transported into prisons, courtrooms, an Iranian paddy wagon, and to Capitol Hill and sold-out rock shows in Dublin, Ireland. The inspirational common thread pulling together all of the night’s stories was the persistent nature of the human spirit in the face of adversity
While campaigning on bicycle with his four-year-old son, Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Russell Edwards saved a potential voter’s life. Was that enough to earn a vote? Edwards also describes the impact John Lewis has made on his own life and tells the audience how he strives to be a pilot light for others.
Never one to conform to the gender expectations for girls, Shahrzad Roshan was arrested while in Iran by the Guardians of Islam for not dressing “appropriately.” An immigrant who came to the United States as a teenager, she describes being torn between two starkly different worlds — though both counties have one aggravating thing in common.
Suffering for years with Crohn’s disease, Lee Verner found relief in marijuana. Now an ardent and high-humored crusader for cannabis, Lee just couldn’t resist including a sales pitch for marijuana legalization.
Our emcee Joan Prittie, Executive Director of Project Safe, shared a story of her own as well.
Serving twelve years as a public defender, Edward Brumby made it his job to see the humanity in everyone. He represented thousands of people over the course of his career, but his very first successful case involved an unwelcomed batch of instant grits.
Riley Kirkpatrick was the Crackerjack Surprise storyteller of the evening. His experiences as a trans man in America’s criminal justice system shed light on the legal implications and inequities facing trans people in our country.
Bertis Downs’ life has taken him from bellhop for The Rolling Stones to lawyer/manager of REM. He shares why he went to law school and tells a few of his adventures traveling the world with the band.
At eight years old, Terry Kaley was taught to drive by her beer-loving grandpa who advised her to look at distant goals instead of focusing on the immediate curves in the road. When an officer saw 11-year-old Terry at the wheel and gave her a firm warning that he better not catch her driving again, could Terry — smitten with the lure of the road — stop her law-breaking ways?
Although he didn’t pull the trigger in a robbery that turned deadly, Shane Sims received a devastating prison sentence when he was just 18 years old. After he was given a second chance at life upon his release, he questions whether or not our legal system serves the best interests of all citizens.