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Documentary tells story of local, formerly incarcerated, LGBTQIA+ activist

Posted at 10:32 AM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-04 20:28:15-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Dominique Morgan, Executive Director of Black and Pink, has told her story through several national campaigns recognizing members of the LGBTQIA+ community, but now she’s visiting her story in a more personal way.

Khary Speth is the director of "Pen Pals," a documentary focusing on the stories of those who have gone through the prison system and the impact it had on their community.

“Particularly for queer people of color, there’s oftentimes so much shame around sexuality and coming out to one’s family and so on and so forth," Speth said. "But when someone is incarcerated, there’s no way to sort of hide from that.”

For Morgan, her story of going through the prison system while living in this intersection of being a black trans woman is something she’s proud to share on film.

She and the documentary crew have been working in Omaha this week to explore Morgan’s story and highlight the city that has played a major role in where she is now.

“Through the documentary process, I’ve been asked some incredible questions that have just allowed me to answer some questions for myself that I had," Morgan said.

This week, the crew took Morgan on a journey through her past visiting the places in Omaha where she was living on the streets and where she entered the system. They also talked with corrections officers who oversaw Morgan during her incarceration and the juvenile judge who delivered her sentence many years ago.

James Powell, the documentary's producer, says watching her interact with people and places from a painful time in her life has been inspiring.

“For someone to have to wake up every day and face their demons, and not run away from them — I think your entire crew is in awe of her fearlessness," Powell said.

They’ve also focused on where Morgan is now, visiting the Lydon House and Opportunity Campus that her organization Black and Pink created for LGBTQIA+ people and those living with HIV and AIDS.

Morgan says she’s hoping that those who see the piece will realize that every person in their community matters.

“We don't have to agree on everything, but we can agree that people matter and that we should not throw people away," Morgan said. "If we worked just as hard to pull people in as worked to push people away sometimes, we would really get the change we want to see.”

The working title of the documentary is "Pen Pals," and the filmmakers say they’re hoping to begin showing the full film this fall. They plan to make a stop in Omaha again for the viewing.

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