TAWANA

21
878

Written by Dr. Melva Jackman
A Dramatic Skit

Cast:
The Announcer
Tawana Brawley
Alton H. Maddox, Jr.
The Rev. Al Sharpton
Chorus
Soloist

Script:
ANNOUNCER:  Newspapers, television, radio, magazines tell us about what is going on in the world.  Unfortunately, there are many issues we should know about and discuss which are not considered important in the general media.  If it’s not murder, child abuse, a drug bust or entertainment often African American stories are hardly mentioned.  Here are some issues we need information about and should form opinions on.
1) The proposals to end affirmative action across the country.  Do you know about that?
2) The attack on the open admissions program at City University of NY.  Some of us are going to want to attend college there in just a few years.  Do you know what’s happening?
3) There are always stories about police brutality but what about political prisoners?  Do you know about Mumia Abu Jamal?  How many people knew about the Jericho ’98 March in Washington, last week?
4) What about the effect of the new immigration laws on people in our community?  People are being forced out of the United States every day.  Do you think it’s right?
To find out about Black issues and news from a Black point of view you have to go to Black media.  Read the Amsterdam News, The NY Beacon, Emerge Magazine, listen to WWRL 1600 AM from 10pm to midnight, WLIB 1190AM, especially the Global Black Experience from 12-2:00PM, and WBAI 99.5 from 6-10AM in the morning; 3:00-5:00PM, and into the evening.  These are a few good sources of information.
We don’t have time to talk about all of these things tonight but we would like to present a short skit about a story from ten years that should be in the news today but it isn’t. Have you heard about it?

CHORUS: (Humming the tune of “Eyes on the Prize”)

TAWANA: My name is Tawana Brawley.  I used to live in a small town in upstate New York called Wappingers Falls not far from Poughkeepsie.  When I was 15 years old I was kidnapped.  I was found three days later, nearly unconscious in a plastic garbage bag.  My hair had been chopped off.  I had KKK written on my body.  I was smeared with human feces.  I had been assaulted.  At the hospital I could hardly talk.  When they asked me what happened, all I could say was “White cop”.  A few days later I identified five men from their pictures.  They were all in law enforcement.
When the investigators saw who I identified, they began accusing me of lying.  They said it was a hoax.  They said I put myself into the bag and smeared myself with feces.  And I was just acting like I was unconscious.  They never arrested the men I accused.  My mama cried.  She cried for me.  It looked like we wouldn’t get any justice.
SHARPTON: My name is Al Sharpton.  Rev. Al Sharpton.  Black people always called me when they have trouble with the police Mrs. Brawley told me her daughter’s story.  I listened.  We, C. Vernon Mason, Alton Maddox and I went to Wappinger’s Falls to check on the evidence.  We found enough evidence to believe that somebody did something to Tawana.  There were hospital records and witnesses.  We became the family advisers on this case.
MADDOX: My name is Alton Maddox.  C. Vernon Mason and I are attorneys. They call me the People’s Lawyer just like Reverend Al is the People’s Preacher.  I make a point to represent people of African heritage who believe they will have trouble getting justice in the courtroom.  I know the law backwards and forwards and I’m not afraid to use it.  I know the law as well as any judge.  Well, what we found in Wappingers Fall, I can only call a cover up.  Instead of investigating the accused police officers, they were investigating Tawana’s family to see what problems they could find. Every statement the family made was turned against them. Hospital evidence disappeared.  One of the accused officers was found dead.  They called it suicide.  Witnesses refused to come forward.  It was a cover up.
We asked the District Attorney’s office for indictments of the accused men.  Nothing happened so we took the story to the media.

TAWANA: I kept reading in the newspaper “Tawana’s lying, Tawana’s lying.” Can you imagine how I felt?  Thank God I had my family and the Reverend Al,  Alton Maddox and C. Vernon Mason on my side.  They were the only ones who would speak out for me.  Not only had I been assaulted and abused, but people accused me of being guilty.  Finally my family had to move out of New York State.  I never did get any justice.  I’m finished college now.  I came back to NY (eds. note – Dec, 1987, at Bethany Baptist Church in Brooklyn) to support the men who had supported me.  We are all being sued for almost 400 million dollars by one of the men I accused because we accused him in public of committing a crime against me.  Can you believe that?  They call it defamation of character – spoiling his good name.

MADDOX: The case is going on in the Poughkeepsie courthouse right now.  Come up and see us in action.  Over the past ten years everything has been done to try to stop us.  Rev. Al was indicted for income taxes.  My license to practice law has been suspended indefinitely.  C. Vernon Mason lost his license to practice law.  None of us can earn a living in our chosen profession or protect members of the African American community who may need legal help.
But we haven’t been stopped!  It can only be called defamation of character if the accusations are not believed to be true.  Finally the evidence is being uncovered and brought to light.  Maybe Tawana will get a little bit of justice after all. This case is giving us an opportunity to question all the witnesses in a court of law and challenge all the misinformation. They are already sorry they brought us into court and the case isn’t over yet.

TAWANA: These men sacrificed for me. To defend my womanhood.  My story has gone from a legal cover-up to a news blackout. I checked all the newspapers last week. Didn’t see much about the case – didn’t hear anything on TV either.  Whenever Black people are winning … things get real quiet.

   Continued on Next Page
She disappeared one lonely night.
Three days later, what a sight!

She was gone three days we know
Then left laying by the door

Chorus
Keep your eyes on the prize.  Hold on.
Hold on! Hold on!
Keep your eyes on the prize.  Hold on!

On the day she accused a cop
that’s the day the justice stopped

The newspapers asked her why,
“Did you go and tell that lie?”
Chorus
Keep your eyes on the prize.  Hold on.
Hold on! Hold on!
Keep your eyes on the prize.  Hold on!

Mason, Maddox, Sharpton, too
Shouted, “Girl, we believe in you!”

We will speak out in the court
but that plan – it came to naught.

Chorus
Keep your eyes on the prize.  Hold on.
Hold on! Hold on!
Keep your eyes on the prize.  Hold on!

For ten years they struggled on
For the Truth to be reborn!

Now Black men who know the law
Are engaged in legal war.

Chorus
Keep your eyes on the prize.  Hold on.
Hold on! Hold on!
Keep your eyes on the prize. 
Hold on!

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