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Enlarging Boston's Spotlight
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At the height of Boston's 1993 Christmas season, the city lay in shock and disbelief. After waking up every morning for months on end to news of how their most infamous priest, James Porter, had been repeatedly shuffled from one flock to another, leaving a trail of wounded children behind with each transfer, it seemed the Archdiocese had scores more like him. With countless more victims yet to be sorted out. Just how could this be! That's what community mental health nurse Dee Ann Miller, now being called as guest author onto Boston's popular, drive-time radio, had been asking for seven years, while studying the problems of complicity with abuse in the faith community. One thing she knew for certain: Boston was far from alone. In fact, she predicted they'd soon have plenty of company among Catholics far and wide. Yet, as the wife of a Baptist minister, she also suspected evangelical teenage girls were as vulnerable to the same fate by "men of God" as Catholic altar boys. And at least as likely to be brushed aside, when reporting. To Miller, this was a golden opportunity-not only for her as a professional, but also for Boston. If only they were ready to absorb what she had to say, listeners could move past their shame, shock, and disbelief, find their anger, and channel it into creative action, thereby setting the example for multitudes to come and even changing the course of history. Of course, that didn't happen, as any viewer of the 2016 Academy Award-winning movie SPOTLIGHT now knows. Back to sleep they went, somehow assuming their troubles would soon dissipate. Amazingly, so did the journalist who broke the news. In fact, the very article that had the city reeling the morning of that interview ended up in the Globe's own lost-and-found before showing up on the big screen shortly before the 2015 Christmas season. Now, in Enlarging Boston's SPOTLIGHT, Miller's back again, further broadening conversations as she has for twenty-three years, giving us amazingly inspiring, eye-witness accounts of events that began unfolding worldwide only months after that interview. It was all largely due to a growing, passionate, and newly-organized, international movement called Linkup. Made up primarily of Catholic survivors and advocates determined to raise their collective voice, this advocacy coalition was led by powerful, caring men and women who dared believe that prophetic truth, even spoken outside the confines of religion, is sacred. She shows how the astounding turn of events that took place in Boston, in 2002, was due in part to the inspiration of this group, whose young leader lay dying just as the Globe's story broke. Meanwhile, she tells of the personal roller coaster she and her husband Ron have lived in their often-unpopular stands. By weaving together stories of readers she's followed for years, she reminds us that hope is not always found where we expect to see it. It comes from the grassroots as the "little ones" confound the powerful through individuals and, in this case, through the miracle of the worldwide web, whose advent allowed Miller's own work to mushroom beyond all expectations within five years of the Boston interview. In the end, she invites us to see both the progress and the challenges ahead-not only in the faith community but in multiple institutions beyond, wherever complicity with evil continues to surface. Finally, she puts America in its place, contrasting a nation that's dared to elect a President caught on tape boasting of his immoral, abusive acts toward women, with communities filled with courageous men of diverse faiths in remote corners of the world, now standing up to gender-based violence, setting examples for generations to come. Casting the widest net of all, she suggests that activists will discover insights in this story for tackling any human rights issue, wherever institutions stand in the way of progress.
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About the Author

Dee Ann Miller doesn't just write about social problems. She also takes on issues of faith and faulty theology in hopes of evoking change, not just in religious communities, but far beyond. She introduces the power of song and even humor, with traces of faith journeys woven into her ever-evolving tapestries since first published in 1970. All of this, she's done while married to Ron Miller, currently a retired American Baptist minister, who has devoted his entire life and ministries to seeking justice and advocating for the oppressed, same as Dee. Even in Ron's seminary days, the two began realizing how often the greatest resistance to change is found operating within organized religion. Nowhere was this more profoundly illustrated as when they stumbled onto problems they never knew existed until 1986: the profound secrecy, considered normal and even morally preferable by many in the faith community when facing abuse within its own ranks. By 1988, having lost all respect for the organization under which they were serving in Africa, they left treasured careers as missionaries, returning broken-hearted to the USA, yet determined to be a part of the solution also just being revealed in the Catholic Church. While Dee returned to psycho-social nursing to support the family, she also began writing intensely as both she and Ron soon entered formal studies to enhance their counseling skills--Ron in pastoral counseling and Dee to gain further credentials in mental health nursing. In 1993, with the release of How Little We Knew: Collusion and Confusion with Sexual Misconduct her rising voice soon blended with the growing outcry of those that could no longer be ignored. Since then, she's been privileged to witness amazing transformations as she's followed many of her readers over decades as their lives bear witness to the possibilities of change in spite of immense complicity they've experienced from organized religion. Now, as she enters the eighth decade of life, she's planning much more with presentations tailor-made for non-profits, multi-disciplinary groups, and advocates for multiple causes to whom she's ready to offer tips, insights, and encouragement on many fronts. She welcomes mail from either of her two websites http: //takecourage.org and http: //justfollowingorders.takecourage.org

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