Silence in a Democracy: Prisons for Profit Author: Dorothy R. Swygert ISBN: 078-0-9648737-8-0 6 x 9, Hard back, 352 pp,3$19.95
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About the Author
Dorothy Swygert has her roots in Alabama, nurtured in the Civil Rights state, outside of Birmingham; Bathed in the culture of southland, embracing the community culture with a spirit and philosophy of “live and let live.” Wrote her first play while attending Tuskegee—enjoyed the golden years of such a beautiful campus with caring and nurturing professors who cared about the total development of students. “Some of my most precious memories are locked on this lovely campus. “ Began my teaching career in a junior high school in Brooklyn, New York with a rainbow population of “spongy” students—students who were thirsty for knowledge. I was the teacher and they were sponges, eager and ready to absorb all knowledge, especially, my supplemental teaching of infusing Black history into the American history curriculum. “Because they were such lovely students, I cultivated in them a love and desire to participate in dramatic activities and presented theatrical performances in school assemblies.”
I earned graduate degrees from New York University and was a member of the campus theater. I, further, developed my talents and interest in becoming a playwright. Black Trilogy Plus is my book of historical black plays: The Montgomery Bus Boycott, Lest We Forget, and Black Renaissance have been performed in churches, schools and civic arenas. I was one forty educators selected to participate in a National Defense Education to study African and African American history to return to our urban schools to infuse Black history in the American history curriculum and was employed as a curriculum writer in NYC school system, as well as a chairperson of Black history. Because of my success with working with children, the guidance counselor importuned me to get my MA in counseling. I, therefore, found myself, at New York University.
As an educator, my philosophy of education is, “In all my years of teaching, I have not found a child who could not learn. They may not learn in the same modality, but all children can learn.” With this philosophy in mind, I began writing to inspire the hearts and minds of children and to assist parents in understanding the growth pattern in nurturing children. My Character Building in Youth: The Poetry Workshop is the product of my working as a guidance counselor in an urban high school. I used this manuscript in my group counseling sessions to inspire conditional seniors to rise to the task of graduation.
What is so special about my current publication?
As an elementary school student in Alabama, I can still hear the echo of how we were taught by our teachers, the songs of God Bless America, O Columbia the Gem of the Ocean, Faith of Our Fathers, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, to read the pledge, dress properly for assembly which was held once a week, the saluting of the flag. It was this nurturing of heart that contributed to teaching, training, and nurturing me to be the person I am—that human beings are important and they are to conduct themselves with personality traits of love, honesty, forgiveness and integrity. And more than anything, we were taught to respect each other. We were taught to encourage each other to develop his/her gifts—because our gifts would be used to help make America a great nation. We were proud of America and more that anything else, we respected the flag and memorized the pledge. That childhood, that village community—with the home, church, school and community united, inspired my heart in writing Silence in a Democracy.
But more importantly, is the fact, that despite my prison ministry in Brooklyn, I had no idea what was truly happening and did not know the true cause of why America had such a spiraling prison rate. I have to give that awakening to the Lord who gave me this assignment to write Silence in a Democracy: Prisons for Profit from the Lord. I explain this in my introduction, that while I slept in my bed on a July Sunday morning of 2014, the Spirit of the Lord awakened me, “Get up and research the prisons.” I obeyed immediately, and I was in for a rude awakening. I could only say, “We are already re-enslaved!” Silence in a Democracy challenges the nation to review its history. What exactly are principles of a democracy? I taught my students to use syllabication in defining a word. Demo= people and cracy= government, therefore, a government by and for the people would be the right philosophy to serve all the citizens in the land with equal opportunity and justice.
Second point, our faith heritage, which has saved the United States with God, through the years, teaches forgiveness. As we peruse this concept, we find the nation has failed miserably, on both accounts. After the Civil War, our nation should have recognized equality of opportunity for all its citizens. And God is omnipotent with all power, omniscient with all knowledge and omnipresent, ubiquitous, present everywhere at the same time. Therefore, from 1865 to 21st century, our nation has failed to take advantage of God’s grace. Instead of correcting the error of bondage of blacks, full freedom has never been given and in our 21st century, political and economical schemes have been devised to re-enslave blacks and people of color, in disguise. And God is not happy with what our nation is doing. The black man has been in search of freedom, justice and equality since 1661. Our 21st century --still finds him in a quagmire of modern-day slavery. Silence explores these various epochs in American history. Therefore, my book is to give the history of what America has done, so she can turn around, but if the turn around is not made, God, Himself, will turn this nation around into utter destruction, never to rise again. Right now, is the time for our nation, America, to turn around—that is the message for Silence in a Democracy!
The Lord is not happy with how the nation is treating its children. God is always very concerned about his children. Mark 10:14 says, ”Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not for such is the kingdom of God.” The children are important, because He sends them in everyday with gifts and talents to do a special work in building his world to bring about a just and humane society. We permit corporations to smother them with student loan debt. Billions of dollars are spent on funding prisons at the expense of neglecting our colleges. We have depleted the nation of jobs and industries, therefore, a high population of our youths are unemployed. Where is the love, and where is the care and proper nurturing for the nation’s children? I talk about all of these things in Silence in a Democracy. Three salient features: 1) Prisons are no mistake, prisons have been surreptitiously, designed as an economic industry with the drug bait. 2) The children have been neglected and exploited and 3) We, as a nation, have dismantled the principles of a democracy.
The Constitutional promise is to the nation’s children. “We the people of the United States, in order to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.” --Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America.
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