I’ll have a tab for each of my screenplays soon. But first, here’s a little info about why I write and my current passion, “Yellow Dirt.”
WHY I WRITE
For years I was an educator, tech executive and disability advocate. Now I’m a writer who cares deeply about human rights and our environment. I became interested in uranium pollution as an employee of the University of New Mexico in the 1990s working with Sandia National Lab and Laguna Industries on a Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) grant. I heard first-hand stories about the impact of uranium mining on Native Americans who were unknowingly exposed to radiation during America’s race for nuclear supremacy. I am haunted by the careless disregard of mining companies and our government for the lives of Native Americans. We are all impacted by this continuing devastation.
Many politicians are not aware of or choose not to know about the environmental pollution from irresponsible and subversive practices of the mining companies that continue today. When I listen to personal stories from Navajo and Pueblo people about pollution, illness, death and indifference, I feel a deep sadness and an unexpected kinship. I’m angered by the lack of concern for these people while corporations get rich and politicians look the other way. I trust, in some way, my writing will reach people who need to know, who may change their views and who will be called to action to make a difference.
I wrote the screenplay, “Yellow Dirt,” based on my experience because this story won’t let me go. I believe I have a moral responsibility to tell this story. “Yellow Dirt” is fictional, but inspired by true events and similar to “Erin Brockovich” and “Silkwood.”
“Yellow Dirt” is the story of Dr. Ella Lee Archer, a successful tech executive who is forced to leave a high-profile job in Silicon Valley and move to New Mexico to take care of her elderly grandmother. Ella finds a job as a university professor where she learns about the catastrophic effects of radiation pollution on the Laguna Pueblo community. Threats against Ella’s grant funding, her job and her life increase as she exposes industry secrets and shares research proving the harmful effects of uranium fracking. When her grandmother dies, Ella inherits her land, a large unpaid loan and a disabled Laguna boy. Ella must choose to be silent or risk her inheritance, her job and the safety of her new family by standing up to greedy corporations and corrupt politicians. She decides to fight the New Mexico legislature to kill a bill that would permit uranium fracking, threaten radiation exposures to thousands of unsuspecting people and cause greater environmental destruction, sickness and death.