Last night at the close of the Iowa City Documentary Film Festival, "Miya of the Quiet Strength" was shown in the University of Iowa's Buchanan Auditorium to a half-filled house. Perhaps because of the deep wounds that the film brings up Gang Lu, the physics PhD. candidate who went on a killing rampage on the campus in 1991 and was responsible for then student-worker Miya Rodolfo-Sioson's paralysis from the neck down, many people missed out on a powerful story of a person's choice to live her life fully and in forgiveness.
While I was not in Iowa at the time that Miya lived here, her story of activism both for those repressed in Central and South America, but also for the rights of person's with disabilities that she served in California in the last years of her life creates a remarkable personal tapestry. Add to that her family including mother Sonya and brother Renata who served as her caretakers, and it is hard not to be moved by the power of a family's commitment.
The film is a deeply personal, loving, and truthful portrayal of a woman who lived her life on her terms with incredible inner-strength. The documentary is beautifully filmed and includes photographs from Iowa City's own Mauro Heck and features others from the area who were part of her story.
The documentarian, Daniel Julien is trying to raise $15,000 to add close-captioning to the film so that it can be aired nationally on PBS. To help out, contact Daniel Julien. Or to purchase the video, go here.